Roundup: Will Tea Party and The Anti-Choice Splinter Post Election?

Robin Marty

One group wants to stop talking about social issues.  For the other, it's the only thing that matters.  How will the two continue to work together?

The Republican wins on November 2nd showed a unified group using economics and the health care bill to drive voters to the polls for their candidates.  But now that the glow is wearing off and these winning politicians have to actually start governing, are the action groups beginning to splinter?

Via Politico:

A gay conservative group and some Tea Party leaders are campaigning to keep social issues off the Republican agenda.

In a letter to be released Monday, the group GOProud and leaders from groups like the Tea Party Patriots and the New American Patriots, will urge Republicans in the House and Senate to keep their focus on shrinking the government.

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“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,” they write to presumptive House Speaker John Boehner and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell in an advance copy provided to POLITICO. “This election was not a mandate for the Republican Party, nor was it a mandate to act on any social issue.”

The letter’s signatories range from GOProud’s co-founder and Chairman Christopher Barron — a member of a group encouraging Dick Cheney to run for president — to Tea Party leaders with no particular interest in the gay rights movement.

As of Sunday evening, the letter had 17 signatories. They include tea party organizers, conservative activists and media personalities from across the country, including radio host Tammy Bruce, bloggers Bruce Carroll, Dan Blatt and Doug Welch, and various local coordinators for the Tea Party Patriots and other tea party groups.

“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.

It’s no surprise that a group that would already be looking at how to get reelected would want to forgo the controversial and focus on the economic message that they believe would be more successful when 2012 rolls around.  The Christian Science Monitor reports:

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.

“If the Tea Party wants to remain true to its limited government principles, then it strikes me that the default position would be less government and more personal freedom, whether the issue being dealt with involves economics or so-called ‘social issues,’ ” writes Doug Mataconis on the Outside the Beltway blog. “At some point this unnatural split in the GOP’s view on freedom will have to be reconciled.”

The letter, sent to presumptive House Speaker John Boehner and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, tackles the rift between small-government conservatives and those who might see the Republicans’ Election Day victory as a mandate to legislate morality on issues such as gay marriage and abortion.

But the anti-choice activists, who feel responsible for the “Republican wave,” aren’t ready to just sit down and shut up.

From Lifenews:

The post-election polling also found 27 percent of voters said abortion funding in the health care law affected their vote and they voted for candidates who opposed the health care law while just 4 percent said abortion funding in the health care law affected their vote and they voted for candidates who favored the law.

“This advantage is not new,” says Karen Cross, the political director for the National Right to Life Committee. “In 1980, National Right to Life Political Action Committee was organized, and in the 30 years that followed, in election after election, among those voters who base their vote on abortion, National Right to Life has consistently seen a definite advantage for pro-life candidates over pro-abortion candidates.”

NRLC executive director David O’Steen agreed, saying “Post-election polling has shown that pro-life issues played a major role in what happened at the polls and provided a margin sufficient to guarantee victory in many close races.”

The Polling Company survey also found a majority continues to favor allowing abortion only in very rare circumstances.

Some 53 percent took a pro-life position against all abortions or allowing abortion at most in cases to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest — that compared with just 41% who would allow abortion regardless of the reason. And 25% of those who gave a pro-abortion response would allow abortion only in the first three months while the current policy under Roe vs. Wade allows abortion essentially throughout pregnancy for any reason.

Meanwhile, pro-life attorney Tom Glessner says those Tea Party activists who are focused on fiscal issues alone should consider the economic cost of abortion and the impact the destruction of more than 52 million lives has had on the economy.

If the Tea Party manages to cut the social issues from their action plan, will the anti-abortion supporters still be there for them in 2012?

Mini Roundup: Local residents complain about “Daddy I Do” not being shown locally, claiming censorship.  The two board members who voted against showing the film said it had no “local relevance.”  However, despite two objections on the 11-person board, the film will now be shown, with apologies from the board.

“Even with the best of intentions, volunteers who serve on non-profit boards do not always have clear separation between their personal views and their role as directors,” the statement said. “The board will be reviewing its governance structure and entering into a non-profit training program on roles and responsibilities.”

November 16, 2010

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