Citing George Lakoff, Bob Burnett notes that the overarching concern of the Republican party as it's now configured is to reverse the social gains of the 1960s--to turn back the progressive gains made by the civil-rights movement, the consumer rights movement, the environmental justice movement, the gay-rights movement, and the women’s movement. At the heart of the turn-back-the-clock imagination, Lakoff and Burnett propose, is patriarchy: American conservatives want to re-establish the dominance of males and impose that dominance throughout social and religious institutions:
Lakoff observes that conservatives project the “strict father” model onto all societal institutions. A proper church is governed by a strict father God, the Christian Old Testament God. The marketplace is controlled by a mythical strict father, whose invisible hand ensures that business transactions ultimately benefit society. The military is run by a strict father without interference from civilians. And so forth.
To incite their conservative base, the Romney and Santorum campaigns have turned away from the economy to family values. And they have focused on women’s rights and health services. From their perspective, men – the strict fathers – control reproduction. From the Republican point-of-view, unmarried women who have sex are immoral, and providing them with birth control supports immoral behavior.