(Note: This op-ed, written by me, appeared way back on March 5, 2012 in the Waterbury Republican-American under the headline “Roraback a poor choice for the right.” I will have further thoughts on Sen. Roraback’s defeat in the 5th Congressional race soon. But what I predicted eight months ago is essentially what happened. ~ PW)
The state’s Republican Party has made great strides in reaching out to social conservatives since Tom Foley’s narrow loss in the 2010 gubernatorial race — a loss I attributed at the time to the state GOP’s social liberalism. But the party establishment is about to blow it again, and the reason is Sen. Andrew W. Roraback, R-Goshen.
Party bigwigs believe Roraback’s “moderate” positions make him the most electable of the Republicans running in the 5th House District. But Roraback is not a moderate.
If the Republican Party nominates its most socially liberal legislator to run in what is arguably Connecticut’s most socially conservative House district, it is going out of its way to lose a race that can be won.
Most Connecticut Republicans who are “pro-choice” on abortion will at least support common-sense laws like banning partial-birth abortion or requiring underage girls to notify their parents before obtaining an abortion. But not Andrew Roraback.
As late as 2008, NARAL, the pro-abortion lobbying organization, endorsed Roraback for re-election. NARAL says its “endorsement is given only to those candidates who have requested endorsement and who are deemed by the PAC to be 100 percent pro-choice.” In other words, you cannot support any exceptions to abortion-on-demand.
Roraback not only shared NARAL’s pro-abortion extremism, he wished to be identified with it and actually sought out the group’s endorsement. Indeed, the connection between Roraback’s family and the pro-abortion movement runs deep. Since 1980, NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut has given out the Catherine Roraback Award, named after his cousin, to those who have made a contribution to the right to kill unborn human life.
Roraback also is the only Republican legislator in Connecticut ever to vote in favor of redefining marriage and imposing full same-sex “marriage” on our state.
Attempts to redefine marriage failed every year in the legislature, and same-sex “marriage” was only imposed on Connecticut in 2008 by judicial fiat. In 2009, the legislature, powerless to overturn the court, codified the ruling but added the strongest religious-liberty exemptions in the nation.
In 2005, the legislature passed a civil-union law with an amendment explicitly defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Roraback supported that amendment but flip-flopped in 2007, voting for full same-sex “marriage” in the Judiciary Committee. He was the only Connecticut Republican to vote in favor of full same-sex “marriage.”
Connecticut’s pro-family and pro-life voters have no illusions about our state’s politics. At times, we will vote for candidates who are not 100 percent with us. A candidate who at least supports parental notification, the federal Defense of Marriage Act and other common sense laws can gain our support.
But in the case of Andrew Roraback, the Republican establishment is asking social conservatives to vote for a candidate who is 100 percent against us. We will not do it. And if the GOP thinks social conservatives will vote for Roraback in the general election because we have no choice, they have not learned the lesson of Tom Foley.
After the 2010 election, the Family Institute of Connecticut’s PAC received emails from our members thanking us for not endorsing Foley. They vote pro-life and pro-family foremost, these members told us, but if both candidates are social liberals, they will vote for the candidate least likely to cut their job as a state worker or teacher.
Those are the Connecticut voters you never hear about. They are the urban, or union, yet socially conservative voters who can make the difference in a close race. Tom Foley lost the governor’s race by ignoring them in 2010. Likewise, the Republican Party will lose the most winnable congressional seat in Connecticut in 2012 if its candidate is Andrew Roraback.
Peter Wolfgang is president of the Family Institute of Connecticut Action.