Dear Friends: Today’s post title is a take-off a classic joke, but actually centers on a serious matter. This Thanksgiving weekend, I had to take time off from family activities to forcefully counter an inanity uttered by a self-appointed “Tea Party Leader” — Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation. Phillips has decided that it is time for Tea Parties to tackle “social issues”.
I could not disagree more. Perhaps when we have put out the fires of a 1.3 Trillion Dollar deficit, the Dirty Fed, Obamacare’s destruction of the American medical system, and have sound employment figures, we can worry about “boutique” issues. When our country suffers economically, so does the rest of the world — to the detriment of our own national security.
Local Tea Partiers and bloggers Shane Atwell, Liberator Today, and Beers with Demo have written about the controversy, and you’ll find well-articulated and remarkably consistent views with mine. Among the four bloggers and three founders of the SoCal TRC, we are two social conservatives, one agnostic Republican artist, one Christian Republican, one Catholic Democrat, one debauched libertarian, and one Randian objectivist (I’ll leave it to you to figure out who is who), but we all agree completely on this: social issues have no place in the Tea Party.
Shane had a very scholarly analysis well worth reading: The Southern California Tax Revolt Coalition on Social Conservatism.Shane noted that the origin of Phillips’ rant may be GOProud’s letter backing a financially-oriented emphasis for the incoming national legislators. Shane notes that “GOProud, a gay group “committed to a traditional conservative agenda that emphasizes limited government, individual liberty, free markets and a confident foreign policy” sent a letter congressional GOP leaders. Tea Party Nation sent one of their own — then Phillips’ made his social conservatism remark in a subsequent TV interview.
The origin of this “squabble” is important. In a fairly intense Facebook discussion, Phillips wrote: “First GOProud is not now, nor has it ever been a part of the tea party movement. You were quite happy to let them take over the message and speak as if they were.”
For me, this was the most astonishing remark. As I noted in the Facebook discussion —
Two of the biggest movers-and-shakers in the Tea Party are Kevin Dujan of HillBuzz and talk show host Tammy Bruce — two people who have same-sex-relationship preferences. Both have been instrumental in organizing, promoting, and branding many essential aspects of the Tea Party. (In fact, Tammy was a signer of that aforementioned letter) Perhaps you want to clarify — are gays to be kicked out of Tea Party activities because they don’t live up to your religious standards?
Frankly, I would Tea Party happily with a dozen fiscally conservative gays before joining an event in which such American patriots and free-market supporters were so ostracized. Even if that event had 10,000 people, was hosted by Sarah Palin, and I had front-row seats with backstage privileges.
The Liberator Today had a very thoughtful take on the matter: About Those Social Issues
I am somewhat of a social conservative, at a time when those issues are being forced to the back burner by the severity of the fiscal issues facing the country. The Tea Party has amassed an impressive coalition that has seized both the imagination of the country and many seats in state and national legislative bodies. However, those who believe that we should somehow turn to social issues, when the hard work of dealing with the fiscal crisis has not even begun are insane. Almost no progress has been made on the most pressing fiscal crisis our country has faced since the Great Depression. We cannot afford to lose any allies in this fight. Picking fights with gays, or any other group that is supporting our core issues is a costly waste.
And Beers with Demo chimes in with his usual wit and wisdom: A few words about those pesky social issues:
Now that we have a majority in Congress, the work of rolling back government power has only just begun. We haven’t won jack squat and now is not the time to declare victory and pull out on the matters that have united the tea party coalition in the first place.
One small point: It is known to us that Tea Party Nation is removing comments from dissenters railing against Phillips’ social conservative approach. I suspect most Tea Party activists, even those committed to certain social issues, realize other organizations and outlets are more appropriate for promoting non-finance related agenda items. Phillips also claims to have a large membership — but that is mainly just an email list that includes W.C. Varones, me, and countless others who joined prior to this new TPN vision and are now seeking ways to remove themselves from that email list. Trust me, it is a difficult process that I am still working on
There has been a lot of serious news (e.g, warring Koreas, sissy spies) . I am hoping, between appointments for new clients that I now have, to work on some science/CARB posts in the next few days. In the meantime, how about a real joke: So a priest, a rabbi and Chuck Norris are all fishing on a boat in the middle of a lake…?
UPDATE: Phillips also thinks voting restricted to Property Owners is a good idea – click HERE to read more.