In a previous article I wrote about the three ideologies which were teh basis of the Tea Party and how the dispute over which one was it central theme was causing the Tea Party to lack a central identity - "What Flavor of Tea (Party) Do You Like?" See HERE
Increasingly the focus of the Tea Party seems to be identifying around conservative political issues. And with the success of Joe Miller in Alaska you have to wonder of the Tea Party is now dominated by Conservative Christians. Are abortion politics behind Joe Miller’s surprising GOP Senate primary showing in Alaska? And has the Tea Party, which launched as a grassroots anti-tax movement, embraced a Christian conservative platform on divisive social issues?
In Alaska, the last few weeks of the election season were dominated by a contentious debate over Measure 2, a ballot initiative that requires doctors to obtain parental consent before performing an abortion on an unmarried minor, or face felony charges and up to five years in prison. Measure 2 passed decisively, 55 to 44 percent, drawing support from many of the same socially conservative voters who chose the pro-life Miller over Murkowski, one of only three pro-choice Republicans in the Senate.
The Huffington Post points out that:
The Alaska election results underscore the extent to which the Tea Party movement and its candidates—strongly anti-abortion rights politicians such as Miller, Sharron Angle in Nevada, Marco Rubio in Florida, Rand Paul in Kentucky, and Ken Buck in Colorado—have come to be affiliated with Christian conservative ideals, even as Tea Party organizers say they have little interest in social issues.For its part, Tea Party Express spokesman William Owens, a prominent Christian conservative with a history of pro-life activism, said Wednesday in an interview with The Daily Beast that the group steers clear of abortion because it wants to “focus on the most important things. The whole thrust of the Tea Party movement came out of fiscal irresponsibility and government overextending itself.”
But Miller, who received more than $550,000 in donations and on-the-ground support from the California-based Tea Party Express and frequently tweeted about his Tea Party affiliation, made his antiabortion stance a central part of the Alaska Senate primary. In June, he sent a fundraising letter to “pro-life supporters” criticizing Murkowski’s support for Roe v. Wade and stem-cell research, as well as her opposition to the “Mexico City Policy,” which under President George W. Bush prevented American foreign aid dollars from funding abortion services.
Another Tea Party Express favorite of whom I have written is Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle, who has come under fire for her views on abortion and homosexuality. In a June radio interview, Angle suggested rape victims should avoid abortion, turning “a lemon situation into lemonade.” (See my story HERE.) She has also stated that God wants her to win. (See HERE)
All of this begs the question - are these Tea Party candidates winning based on their fiscal issues (anti-tax, small government) or based on social issues (anti-abortion, anti-gay rights)?
It it very difficult to reconcile a libertarian ideology (power to the people as opposed to the government) with the Conservative christian ideology (governmental laws imposing Christian social "morals") and sooner or later one of the two must fail. If the christian ideology wins, then the Tea Party becomes nothing more than (and is indistinguishable from ) an ultra-conservative branch of the Republican party.
If this change does come to pass, will it help or hurt Republicans? Will it not just tear the republican party into two contentious groups? Or will it fire up the Republican base?
When candidates like incumbent Lisa Murkowski loose, you have to wonder if it is hurting Republicans more than helping them.