TeaParty to SoCons – You Need Not Apply Here
Melissa Clouthier ~ Why are we fighting already? I really do believe we’re working toward the same goal.
November 2nd ushered in 60+ new Congressmen, 6 Senators and 682 State seats with a united message from the electorate to bring fiscal control our government. Make no mistake, this was a clear repudiation of liberal big spending, big government policies embraced by the Dem controlled House, Senate and WH.
Soon after this stunning victory, 17 individuals issued a letter opening a needless divide between social cons and fiscal cons – I refer to them as “The Gang of 17“
In an open letter to Senator McConnell and Representative Boehner, 17 individuals affiliated with teaparty groups reminded the politicians to focus on fiscal issues:
“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,”
Great opening that is in total accord with teaparty groups around the nation. However, the rest of the letter goes completely off the rails and throws social conservatives under the Teaparty Bus:
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.
So much for that laser-like focus on economic freedom and limited government.
I am told this letter is in part a reaction to a recent statement from Senator Jim DeMint – “You can’t be a fiscal conservative and not be a social conservative.” As a staunch supporter of limited government, Senator DeMint’s statement makes perfect sense. Reducing the size and scope of our government will necessitate the elimination or streamlining of wasteful entitlement programs. Is that not the stated objective of this letter? Making an either/or distinction between fiscal and social conservatism is wrong. Alienating social conservatives is a death sentence for the teaparty and by extension, the GOP. Alienating social cons seems to be a strong preference of one of the signers of this letter; one who openly espouses his antagonism to social conservatives, specifically targeting those of the religious persuasion.
As this open letter is largely void of evidence supporting the statements contained within; I turned to the ever astute John Hawkins from Right Wing News and his analysis of scorecards based on the voting records of U.S. Senators. Looking at the results, he found fiscal conservatives and social conservatives were essentially the same people:
From what I’ve seen of Republicans on Capitol Hill, the fiscal conservatives and social conservatives tend to be one in the same. On the other hand, if you show me a Republican who’s not socially conservative, I’ll show you a Republican who’s probably not fiscally conservative either.
George Bush comes to mind. Michael Medved reminds us that segregating fiscal and social issues ignores the way economics and values interact.
Most troubling about this letter is the laser-like insinuation that social conservatives in the Teaparty are bound and determined to legislate their values from Washington DC. Again, no proof is provided in the letter of this scurrilous allegation. I challenge the authors – all seventeen of them - to provide an example of ‘social value’ legislation proposed by a conservative politician.
Melissa Clouthier makes an excellent point over the needless divisiveness of this letter:
All this to say, we agree so much, why divide at all? Smaller government, less taxes, less spending will help achieve the social conservative ends. I want to keep the independents on the Republican side where they belong. Putting the fiscal message first will help do that. In the meantime, social conservatism will march steadily.
If the authors of this letter had adopted a laser-like focus on reminding McConnell and Boehner of the importance of a legislative agenda supporting economic freedom and limited government, would it have been necessary to alienate social conservatives in order to underscore their point?
This was a bad move in a time when we as TeaParty supporters need to unify around common principles and not allow ourselves to be balkanized into rival factions.
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