Tea Party: Come for the anti-taxes, stay for the social issues

The Tea Party is heading for a civil war. The only question is whether it occurs before it sweeps into power in November, as some political experts seem to be suggesting.

That was affirmed by a revealing interview on NPR’s Morning Edition today, which is trying to find out what the Tea Party stands for.

“The Tea Party stands for Taxed Enough Already,” Toby Marie Walker, the president of the Tea Party of Waco (Texas), told NPR’s Steve Inskeep. And, of course, much of the coverage of the movement has centered on dissatisfaction with the country’s fiscal policies.

But it’s clear there’s a struggle underway over whether social issues — abortion, same-sex marriage — should be part of its agenda.

“What concerns us is if you have leaders in the Tea Party movement that start rejecting those values, because then you no longer have a holistic conservative view,” said Brian Fisher of the American Family Association in Mississippi. “We got involved in this because the country needs to be called back to constitutional government, but also the cultural and social values embraced by the founders.”

“We don’t touch on the social issues and the reason we don’t is right now the Tea Party is about the economy,” Walker countered. “While the social issues are important to a lot of our members, we stay away from them because they’re so divisive. We keep it about the taxes and the overspending of the government.”

“The leadership of the Tea Party is in a fundamentally different place,” Fisher said. “Morality and religion are indispensable (in government).”

  • JackU

    I was disappointed about one thing with that interview. Mr. Fisher quoted the Deceleration of Independence as part of his foundation for how “constitutional government” includes a belief in a Creator and protecting the “sanctity of life”.

    The thing that was disappointing was Mr Inskeep didn’t challenge Mr Fisher about the mixing of lines from the Deceleration of Independence with references to the Constitution and constitutional government.