Interesting interview at reason.com with Sen. Jim DeMint. Couple of snippets;
reason: After the 2010 election you claimed that “you can’t be a fiscal conservative unless you’re also a social conservative.” Have you changed your thinking on that?
DeMint: I should have clarified that. That doesn’t mean that to be a fiscal conservative you have to agree on all the social issues, but our biggest fiscal issue is dysfunction in our culture and the deteriorating culture. The growth of dependency. Unwed births are correlated with poverty, juvenile delinquency, drug use, [dropping out of high school]. And the unwed birth rate has basically been promoted and paid for by federal policies. We’ve gone from below 10 percent, when welfare was started, to now over 40 percent, 70 percent for African Americans.
reason: reason is a libertarian magazine. Generally speaking, our readers and the people who work here are interested in a small, limited government that doesn’t spend a lot, doesn’t borrow money so that our kids and grandkids are paying for what we enjoy now, things like that. But then there are the social issues. For instance, you’re very pro-life; you have supported an anti–flag burning amendment; you support school prayer. A lot of issues that, whether or not they actually affect people on a day-to-day level, are markers of a different sort of world. Why should libertarians vote Republican, especially given that the last time the Republican Party had the White House and the Congress, they didn’t restrain government or limit government whatsoever. What’s the pitch now?
DeMint: I think the new debate in the Republican Party needs to be between conservatives and libertarians. We have a common foundation of individual liberty and constitutionally limited government, and we can rationally debate some of the things we disagree on. I don’t think the government should impose my morals or anyone else’s on someone else, but at the same time I don’t want the government purging morals and religious values from our society. We can find a balance there. It really gets back to decentralization. The tolerance is going to come from decentralization and letting people make their own decisions, but we have to be able to put up with societal stigma of things we don’t like.
I don't think that debate is new; it's been ongoing for years now. The more libertarian the party becomes, the more it will be attractive to people like me. I like DeMint's "clarification" on the social issues -- you don't have to be a social conservative if you're a fiscal conservative, but it's not always easy to separate the social from the fiscal.