The TEA Parties have fired a shot across the bow of the old guard of the Republican Party. You will know the old guard better by their philosophy. Simply put: "if you are right on abortion hardly anything else matters." Not fiscal conservatism. Not small government. And especially not winning national elections.
Representatives of the loosely organized tea party movement urged GOP leaders in a letter released Monday to abandon their fronts in the culture wars – issues such as gay marriage, school prayer, and abortion – and instead focus their new electoral power on individual liberties and "economic freedoms."The Republican Party as constituted is an unnatural coalition. The interests of the two main factions are not congruent. You have what is essentially a "leave us alone coalition" at odds with the "if we don't have government guns to enforce our moral vision what is the point?" types. Of course it is a rather weak moral vision that requires guns to keep people in line. A contradiction my "moral government" friends don't get. And on top of that government by its nature must engage in immoral acts as a practical matter. Murder, theft, spying, torture, slavery, coercion, etc. Of course we want to keep that sort of thing to a minimum. But until the arrival of the moshiach we are stuck with it.
The letter, signed by 16 tea party groups and a conservative gay organization, points to an emerging rift between the tea party movement and the GOP, which still counts social conservatives seeking "moral government" as a key constituency.
The signatories, ranging from conservative commentator Tammy Bruce to local tea party group leaders, say the key lesson the GOP should draw from the election is that Americans are concerned chiefly about taxes and the size of government, not their neighbors' lifestyle choices or personal decisions.
But the push to quit the culture wars is already meeting resistance from mainstream Republicans, who worry about a rebellion from social conservatives if the party refrains from taking stands on moral issues.
Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
And even when it gets some eloquence it wears thin after a while. Torture elevated by eloquence is still torture.
Now about that TEA Party letter [pdf]. (bolding mine)
Dear Senator McConnell and Representative BoehnerNow about the Drug War. I think it is too soon for that issue. But we will get to it. It seems rather stupid to have the Feds spend $25 billion a year to make illegal drugs easier for kids to get than legal beer.
On behalf of limited government conservatives everywhere we write to urge you and your colleagues in Washington to put forward a legislative agenda in the next Congress that reflects the principles of the Tea Party movement.
Poll after poll confirms that the Tea Party’s laser focus on issues of economic freedom and limited government resonated with the American people on Election Day.
The Tea Party movement galvanized around a desire to return to constitutional government and against excessive spending, taxation and government intrusion into the lives of the American people.
The Tea Party movement is a non-partisan movement, focused on issues of economic freedom and limited government, and a movement that will be as vigilant with a Republican-controlled Congress as we were with a Democratic-controlled Congress.
This election was not a mandate for the Republican Party, nor was it a mandate to act on any social issue, nor should it be interpreted as a political blank check.
Already, there are Washington insiders and special interest groups that hope to co-opt the Tea Party’s message and use it to push their own agenda – particularly as it relates to social issues. We are disappointed but not surprised by this development. We recognize the importance of values but believe strongly that those values should be taught by families and our houses of worship and not legislated from Washington, D.C.
We urge you to stay focused on the issues that got you and your colleagues elected and to resist the urge to run down any social issue rabbit holes in order to appease the special interests.
The Tea Party movement is not going away and we intend to continue to hold Washington accountable.
Here is the heart of the matter.
"When they were out in the Boston Harbor, they weren't arguing about who was gay or who was having an abortion," said Ralph King, a letter signatory who is a Tea Party Patriots national leadership council member, as well as an Ohio co-coordinator.Yeah. Leave us the fuck alone. And we are as serious as death about it.
King said he signed onto the letter because GOProud seemed to be genuine in pushing for fiscal conservatism and limited government.
"Am I going to be the best man at a same sex-marriage wedding? That's not something I necessarily believe in," said King. "I look at myself as pretty socially conservative. But that's not what we push through the Tea Party Patriots."
That indifference is essentially the point of the gay conservative group.
"For almost two years now, the tea party has been laser-focused on the size of government," said Barron, who said his group and the tea partiers are part of the "leave-me-alone coalition."
H/T Instapundit and Instapundit and a phone call today from a friend.
Cross Posted at Classical Values