Tea party groups push GOP to quit culture wars, focus on deficit
In a letter to Republican leaders, tea party members advise the GOP to avoid culture-war social issues such as gay rights and abortion and to focus on reducing deficit and role of government.
Representatives of the loosely organized tea party movement urged GOP leaders in a letter released Monday to abandon their fronts in the culture wars – issues such as gay marriage, school prayer, and abortion – and instead focus their new electoral power on individual liberties and "economic freedoms."Skip to next paragraph
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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.