[Guest post by Dana]
During this year’s CPAC, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul briefly discussed the priority (or lack thereof) of social issues in the upcoming elections. As they are the two potential presidential candidates that generate the most buzz these days, it’s interesting to look at a side-by-side comparison. Right now, there isn’t a lot of daylight between them, however, while acknowledging that messages and platforms will have to be honed and articulated, this is where they currently stand. Social issues and their place of importance in a national election have not only been a consistent source of contention between commenters here at Patterico’s, but stirs heated debate throughout the right at large.
While at CPAC, Ted Cruz was asked if he thought the GOP should take social issues out of the conversation in the upcoming elections.
The man many consider a likely GOP presidential candidate in 2016 said, “I don’t think the politicians get to decide what the people care about.”
Cruz said he doesn’t think anything is off the table, but, he cautioned, there are important problems to address first.
On the home front, he said it is imperative that the country get back on its feet economically.
And looking overseas, Cruz said America must reclaim its standing in the world.
In the impromptu press conference, Cruz took only two questions.
He criticized President Obama’s handling of the Ukraine crisis and America’s loss of prestige in the world.
Cruz also said he was just as concerned about the president’s failed economic agenda. The country is facing such a crisis, he said, it needs to change course both at home and abroad, and soon.
Rand Paul addressed similar questions:
There was a consensus among young people at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference that the GOP needs to get out of social issues. Do you agree?
I think it’s partly that. But I also think young people are very concerned with privacy. I think most young people’s lives revolve around their cellphones. They communicate with their parents by cellphone even when they’re in the house. And I think they are horrified by the idea of the government searching their records and being in possession of their records when they’ve not been suspected of a crime.
Right. But it seems what they’re saying is that the Republican Party should stay out of issues like gay marriage.
I think that the Republican Party, in order to get bigger, will have to agree to disagree on social issues. The Republican Party is not going to give up on having quite a few people who do believe in traditional marriage. But the Republican Party also has to find a place for young people and others who don’t want to be festooned by those issues.