In his reflection on the Maine GOP’s decision to adopt a new Tea Party-flavored platform at its convention this past weekend, James Taranto offers a great insight into social conservatives and Tea Parties:
In truth, most of the religious right is part of the spectrum of respectable political opinion in America. While everybody deplores racism, opposition to abortion and to same-sex marriage are mainstream positions to everyone except extremists on the other side. To call the tea-party movement socially conservative or “religious right,” then, does not have the same sting as calling it racist or violent.
Yet it does seem to be almost as inaccurate. An April New York Times poll found that while tea-party sympathizers were more conservative than average on social issues, by 78% to 14% they said economic issues are more important–nearly identical to the response from non-tea participants. While tea-party sympathizers were less pro-abortion than others, 40% said Roe v. Wade was “a good thing.”
One can see why liberals and Democrats would be eager to pigeonhole the tea-party movement as socially conservative. A substantial number of voters are put off by the religious right, either because their views are more liberal or because, even if not, they find its preoccupation with matters like abortion or gays creepy or beside the point.
Given this focus on economic issues, it’s no wonder Tea Party participants have not been averse to the homosexual infiltration we’ve detected. Now, we wonder how those social conservatives would react if the media reported on gay participation in the movement which, by our observation, far exceeds that of extremists hoisting racist signs or spouting hateful racial epithets. (Indeed, by our estimate, there have been more gay men and lesbians at Tea Parties in the Los Angeles area alone than racist epithets hurled by Tea Party participants at protests across the country!)