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Opinion Mitt Romney’s lonely quest to make the GOP an actual pro-family party

Ruben Navarrette: Some Republicans want to back up their rhetoric about the importance of the family with government support. But they're having trouble finding many takers in their own party, he says. He says GOP-run states have weaker support systems for pregnant women and parents; higher child poverty, teen pregnancy, infant mortality and lack of health insurance. He asks: If a bill expanding family support does pass anytime in the near future, it won’t be a Republican project; it will happen because all or nearly all Democrats wanted it, and a few Republicans, such as Romney, joined them, he writes. But putting something your base wants on the back burner is different from taking action that your base would genuinely dislike.

Not all Republican voters would oppose an enhanced child tax credit; many could be happy to see more aggressive government support for families and children. But the party’s hardcore base — of whom all GOP officeholders live in fear — could be easily turned against the idea. Many elected Republicans simply don’t want to offer the kind of support Romney is proposing.