Regardless of the framing, it’s still tantamount to a surrender. And it occurs to me there are two fundamental reasons for this rapid shift.
First, as I’ve argued before, politics is downstream from culture. And conservatives already lost the culture war. Sure, some politicians can stand on principle, but eventually, politicians represent public opinion. You can’t blame a politician — who requires votes to be elected — for responding to the zeitgeist.
The second reason is that social conservative groups — the so-called “pro-family” groups — are mostly a joke. Too often, they are run like a Christian charity instead of a political outfit (how else would you explain even considering hiring a 25-year old member of the Duggar family to run your organization’s lobbying arm?)
These social groups are found especially wanting when you compare their effectiveness to fiscally conservative groups like The Club for Growth — groups that instill fear in Republicans who cross them.