A pleasing melody to the libertarian ear, but I’m honestly not sure which social issues they think McConnell and Boehner might push. There’s not much they can do with abortion thanks to constitutional limitations; in theory, I suppose they could propose some sort of federal ban on gay marriage, but doing that would be gambling with their newfound advantage among independents. Is GOProud suggesting that they not bring a bill to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” to the floor if the Pentagon review is favorable to doing so? Boehner actually wouldn’t have to act at all — remember, the House voted to repeal it this summer — and Reid still controls the agenda in the Senate.
So what, precisely, are we talking about here? Stem-cell research?
Poll after poll confirms that the Tea Party’s laser focus on issues of economic freedom and limited government resonated with the American people on Election Day. The Tea Party movement galvanized around a desire to return to constitutional government and against excessive spending, taxation and government intrusion into the lives of the American people…
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.
Follow the link to see the signatories; among them is blogosphere fave (and strong Palin supporter) Tammy Bruce. Not all of them are socially liberal either: At least one, Tea Party Patriots council member Ralph King, describes himself as personally socially conservative but wants the GOP to stay laser-focused on spending issues. One poll I haven’t seen but which would be worth taking is how many tea partiers fall into King’s camp versus how many follow the DeMint principle that fiscal conservatism is actually a path to social conservatism. The two aren’t entirely mutually exclusive: One could earnestly follow King’s lead on fiscal conservatism to the exclusion of all other issues and end up with a more socially conservative society (that’s what DeMint is banking on), but I’d find it fascinating to see tea partiers polled on whether they’d still pursue fiscally conservative policies if they thought it’d lead to a more socially liberal culture. (Which it would, if the libertarians had their way in shrinking government in social matters too.) Would they? I’m … not so sure.
Update: A line from the letter that I didn’t quote: “This election was not a mandate for the Republican Party.” They’re right about that, actually:
Only 17 percent say the election results were a mandate for the GOP, with seven in ten saying that the midterms were more a rejection of the Democrats’ policies.
“That’s the classic pattern in elections like these,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “In 1994, the last time the Republicans bumped the Democrats from power on Capitol Hill, only 18 percent thought that those midterms elections were a mandate for the GOP. In 2006, when the Democrats took control, only 27 percent thought that was a mandate for the Dems. Most Americans seem to believe that these elections were ‘throw-the-bums-out’ events.”
According to the survey, 43 percent of the public has a favorable opinion of the Republican party, with 48 percent saying they see the GOP in an unfavorable way.
Update: Patrick Ishmael put together a quickie questionnaire based on this post. Sound off!