Monday, November 22, 2010

the coming tea party civil war

MotherJones | In the months leading up to the midterm congressional elections, the tea party movement managed to tamp down on its internal divisions in pursuit of a shared goal of defeating Democrats. But with the elections over, the movement's fault lines are starting to show, and tensions between the tea party's social conservative and libertarian wings are poised to explode into an all-out civil war.

"It's easier for them to be united around the political agenda of defeating Democrats than it is going to be agreeing on a legislative agenda," observes Peter Montgomery, a senior fellow at the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way.

The most recent example of an emerging schism: Some tea party activists have linked arms with the gay conservative group GOProud to demand that the new GOP congressional leadership stick to the tea party's core fiscal issues and not those of evangelical Christians. They sent a letter to House Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell imploring them "to resist the urge to run down any social issue rabbit holes in order to appease the special interests." They write:
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.