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Is the Tea Party movement good for gays?

Timothy Kincaid

March 13th, 2010

tea partyThe gay community tends not to fare well when angry conservative populist movements gain influence; the “common man” tends not to hold the interests of minorities to heart.

So many gay individuals and organizations have viewed the Tea Party movement with suspicion and concern. This reaction seemed to be confirmed by social conservatives pointing to the movement and offering praise. However, the Tea Party movement may prove to be a tremendous boon for the community.

There are several articles today about the movement from several different sources and they all seem to be saying the same thing: not only are the Tea Partiers not social conservatives, they want nothing to do with them.

Patrik Jonsson, writing for the Christian Science Monitor, starts his article this way

Emergence of the grass-roots “tea party” movement as a major force on the American political right is having a quiet but fundamental effect on the Republican tribe: Social conservatives have been voted off the island.

In recent years, fiscal conservatives seem to have taken a back seat to social conservatives in the Republican Party. President Bush, with his drunken sailor spending and moralizing piety was about as far from the fiscal conservative wing as you could get.

The Party had gambled that “the people” weren’t interested in esoteric things like the national debt or a balanced budget and pandered instead to biases against gay marriages and pregnant women. Not that Republicans actually did anything on social conservative issues, but by targeting a voter base that cared little about fiscal responsibility, they managed to answer to no one.

But the Tea Party movement appears to be a backlash, as much against the Republican Party that they feel has betrayed them as against President Obama and the Democrats. And in their efforts to change the focus of the Party, they are refusing to allow social issues to intrude. (New York Times)

Tea Party leaders argue that the country can ill afford the discussion about social issues when it is passing on enormous debts to future generations. But the focus is also strategic: leaders think they can attract independent voters if they stay away from divisive issues.

“We should be creating the biggest tent possible around the economic conservative issue,” said Ryan Hecker, the organizer behind the Contract From America. “I think social issues may matter to particular individuals, but at the end of the day, the movement should be agnostic about it. This is a movement that rose largely because of the Republican Party failing to deliver on being representative of the economic conservative ideology. To include social issues would be beside the point.”

And it appears that the jettisoning of the social conservatives is not merely cosmetic. “Family values” leaders are feeling the bite and are not happy with being booted from the drive’s seat (Politico).

“There’s a libertarian streak in the tea party movement that concerns me as a cultural conservative,” said Bryan Fischer, director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at the American Family Association. “The tea party movement needs to insist that candidates believe in the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage.”

“As far as I can tell [the tea party movement] has a politics that’s irreligious. I can’t see how some of my fellow conservatives identify with it,” said Richard Cizik, who broke with a major evangelical group over his support for government action on climate change, but who remains largely in line with the Christian right on social issues. “The younger Evangelicals who I interact with are largely turned off by the tea party movement — by the incivility, the name-calling, the pathos of politics.”

But what impact will this have on our community? That depends, of course, on whether the movement can maintain its anger and its mission.

If they are effective and are seen as a political force, they could change what it means to be a Republican. If they want to draw in young people worried about their ability to pay a massive and ever increasing public debt, they may strong-arm the Party to drop issues such as abortion and gay marriage from the Party Platform. They may even insist on advancing and supporting gay candidates if they are perceived to be the best on fiscal issues.

It is possible that this movement of “common folk” – which includes more than a few that are complete wackadoodles: birthers, racists, and conspiracy theorists – could ultimately place our nation in a position in which there is one party that supports our rights (at least in theory) and another that “has no opinion” on the matter.

Time will tell us whether this movement – one our community mostly mocks and somewhat fears – will bring about a change in public consciousness on social issues, or whether they will just be another footnote in the history of our nation’s advancement.

Comments

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Mel
March 13th, 2010 | LINK

I disagree with the whole premise of the article. The media keeps trying to spin the notion that the Tea Party is some non-partisan grass-roots movement. Once you scratch the surface, you find they are 100% Republican, 100% Republican funded, and supporting 100% Republican candidates. The spin job is being done to give them plausible deniability for the racist and kooky placards that you see at every one of their rallies.

Emily K
March 13th, 2010 | LINK

…and why exactly has this movement come about with the election of the first Black president and what began as a largely Democratic-controlled government?

Where were the angry cries for fiscal conservatism when Dubya was robbing my social security to pay for his endless and pointless war? (I’m 25 years old). Where were the cries of “government take-over” when the Patriot Act was drafted? When “Gitmo” was harboring horrible abuse of innocent men suspected as terrorists?

These people can claim to be about “fiscal conservatism” all they want, but they’re just angry populists. They need a P.C. way to vent their frustration at having a “Marxist/Fascist/Socialist Foreigner” in the Oval Office and “Tea Party” is that avenue.

And, quite honestly, I’ve found the “common man” to be a bunch of taxophobes who understand little about government finances. Taxes are necessary. They’re not fun but they are necessary. And since the government is still (at the very least, in theory) elected BY the “common man,” nobody can complain with a straight face that they truly do not have taxation with representation.

And yes, I have an extreme distrust for a movement that was started as an astroturf movement with the generous aid of Fox News.

Lindoro Almaviva
March 13th, 2010 | LINK

A group that “would want nothing to do with the conservatives” that invites Sara Ap’Palin-g and giver her a hero’s welcome…

why do I keep hearing this Puertorican saying del dicho al hecho hay un grantrecho (there’s a long way between words and actions) in my head?

Jason D
March 13th, 2010 | LINK

I’m sorry, which tea party are you talking about? Because the one I keep seeing in articles is very pro-family, very anti-gay, anti-marriage, etc, etc, etc.

The tea party folks are the ones most complaining about Obama’s Gay Agenda.

Timothy Kincaid
March 13th, 2010 | LINK

Mel,

Yes, it’s 100% Republican. And that’s the point.

Jason D,

Please link to where the tea party leaders are the ones most complaining about Obama’s Gay Agenda.

Swampfox
March 13th, 2010 | LINK

Heck, I consider myself as part of the Tea Party movement. It is for fiscal responsibility. Something neither party has been doing well on in the last 20 or so years.

Swampfox
March 13th, 2010 | LINK

“The tea party folks are the ones most complaining about Obama’s Gay Agenda. – Jason D”

I would like to see a link to that one.

Octobercountry
March 13th, 2010 | LINK

I’m not sure that the Tea Party movement will end up having a great impact on politics in any way, actually. This group has brought just about every crazed nubjob out of the woodwork and added them to their ranks—and seems to lack any sort of unity.

They haven’t actually formulated clear-cut and well thought out stances on any policies; they haven’t shown exactly what they wish to accomplish. Until they can prove they stand FOR something and not just AGAINST something, what can they do?

There’s already squabbling within the ranks, and frankly I’ll bet that the “financially conservative, socially neutral” members of this group only make up a small fraction of the total.

penguinsaur
March 13th, 2010 | LINK

The ‘tea party’ only exists because a black man became president and they’ll disappear and pretend they never cared in the least about the national debt once a white man is back in the white house.

Anyone who disagrees can point me to when these groups were protesting the Iraq war or any other waste of money from a white man.

planetspinz
March 13th, 2010 | LINK

Dick Armey, former congressman current frontman for the insurance industry, started this “tea party” through Freedomworks – bought and paid for by the insurance industry.

Tea Party phase II was taken over by the John Birch Society – and if you think their issue is about fiscal responsibility you must have born after 1970.

Phase III of the Tea Party is WTFUXUPNEWS Glenn Beck’s “912” rallies – which are very much like the rallies Hitler held in the 1930s.

Note that none of this has anything to do with fiscal reponsibility – which is why their slogans are all “taking the country back” – back from everyone who did not vote Republithug in the last election.

They are used to being the tyrannical majority and are all pissed off that they lost that power. When the insurance reform is passed, the funding for the Tea Gaggers will dry up and blow away – unless the Birchers and Glenn Beck continue funding them.

Their purpose then will be about ratcheting up the tyrannical majority to entrench the theocRATs who will continue using gays to raise money. After health care reform is over, abortion rights will be off the table again, and the focus will be back on denying LGBTQ equal rights.

Burr
March 13th, 2010 | LINK

My experience is that most libertarians and Republicans with a libertarian streak actually are starting to hold the tea party movement in disdain as it’s starting to be hijacked by the same old corporatist/xenophobic/homophobic crap they’re sick of in the GOP (see the invitation of Palin, Tancredo, etc.). The question is whether this new “official” face that’s more aligned with the GOP supercedes the grassroots movement. It’s not looking good, and until I see anyone claiming to be tea party actually ENDORSE a candidate that isn’t anti-gay much remains to be proved. Social conservatism may not be a priority but they seem consistently attracted to those who carry it up their sleeve if not on it..

Jim Burroway
March 13th, 2010 | LINK

To characterize the Tea Party as a “grass roots” movement ignores its very genesis. It was effectively founded and funded by Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks, along with several other Republican activists and lobbyists. And it benefited from relentless promotion by Fox News, which actively endorsed and encouraged attendance at Tea Party rallies.

And given the overtly racist crowds that the tea party has attracted, I don’t see how they could ever be good for gays. They are, in a nutshell, what fascism would look like if fascism were to take hold in America.

John
March 13th, 2010 | LINK

Jim,

I agree that the Tea Party folks do seem to be quite fascist. I don’t think that they are good for America. And as a general rule, large groups of riled up Right Wing folks who are angry as hell at the government, don’t really make me feel the least bit safe.

Swampfox
March 13th, 2010 | LINK

“I agree that the Tea Party folks do seem to be quite fascist. I don’t think that they are good for America. And as a general rule, large groups of riled up Right Wing folks who are angry as hell at the government, don’t really make me feel the least bit safe.” John

I think that you and others are wrong. Using the word fascist is totally off the mark. These people are against large government, over-taxation, overspending and controlling all aspects of the individual. Our government was founded on the principal that it was to protect the rights of the individual.

penguinsaur
March 13th, 2010 | LINK

“These people are against large government, over-taxation, overspending and controlling all aspects of the individual.”

Which is why their were dozens of tea party protests against Bush when he did those exact things. Right?

Eric in Oakland
March 13th, 2010 | LINK

I think it is really beside the point what their motives or intentions are. Their supposed opposition to politicians who are not fiscally conservative enough will never have the result of putting more socially liberal people in office. If it has any effect it will be to cause the social conservatives to be more fiscally conservative. That won’t help us at all.

Furthermore, the recent avoidance of socially conservative issues is only a ploy to gain more support. It is not an indication that the leadership of the movement isn’t socially conservative.

paul j stein
March 13th, 2010 | LINK

I welcome a Conservative government. If I remember my old Granny Beryl (born in Buckingham Palace), a true conservative believes that you should, 1)stay out of others business, 2)be fiscally responsible, 3)assist only when absolutely necessary, 4)give everyone an equal chance to better themselves and in the process strengthen their country. I can’t argue any any of that reasoning.

lurker
March 13th, 2010 | LINK

I always wondered why one set of values “banded together” in many people (conservatives) and another set of values “banded together” in many other people (progressives). Why should someone who’s supportive of the death penalty also be typically anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, and anti-government? And for me – I am mostly against all those positions – and although I could argue for each one individually, I couldn’t articulate a overall framework for my political beliefs. Why can you so easily predict someone’s views on a bunch of issues if you know only one of them?

Then I listened to some stuff by UC Berkeley linguist George Lakeoff (sp?) who described a model for why those values all hold together in many, many people. To bastardize it: most people either believe in a “strong leaders” society or a “nurturing family” society.

In the “strong leaders” society people have to follow the rules, depend on themselves, take care of their immediate families, be wary of outsiders (e.g., people of different races, cultures), give charity to the worthy but don’t reward people who don’t follow the rules with government support (e.g., the teen mothers, unemployed, uninsured). And the “nurturing family” society is less absolute about the rules, wants everyone to suceed and will give them an infinite number of second chances, sees outsiders as a part of the family, etc. There are universal human values in each of these world views, and of course no one is 100% one way or the other . . .

I know it’s simplistic, but this model really works, for bunches of issues that you can label “conservative” or “progressive.”

That’s why I am really skeptical that the Tea Party can be anti-government and not also be racist, genderist, and homophobic.

Lynn David
March 13th, 2010 | LINK

From what I have seen of libertarian movements of late, they’re libertarian only as far as the Bible goes. Which is to say they aren’t really libertarian.

grantdale
March 13th, 2010 | LINK

I’m honstly sick of the term ‘fiscal conservative’.

In my day we talked about being wasteful.

There is nothing fiscally conservative about gutting social programs but spending a fortune on personal security, police, Courts and prisons.

There is nothing fiscally conservative about gutting international efforts to end conflict, poverty and inequality but spending a fortune on military campaigns and homeland security.

There is nothing fiscally conservative about preserving a bloated and inefficient system of acute health care when it costs twice as much and delivers worse results than the proven alternative.

I could go on, but you probably get the point. Waste costs.

I think we’ve come to know you well enough Timothy to know that you don’t agree with such people… but far too many of these tea bags appear to be either pushing a barrow for rent-seeking vested interests and/or are people who are just plain hateful of and furious at any public role (let alone public support) for all these dangerous hordes of neegras, homosekshooalls and femyoonists. Regardless of your own views about where a ‘sensible’ level of taxation etc lies… you’re still left with a movement that is demonstrably also attracting a sullen, resentful, destructive and woefully ignorant chunk of people.

I don’t want taxes to be wasted, but I also realise no man is an island. Taxation is a basic social good.

Sparky
March 14th, 2010 | LINK

I am a gay man who supports the Tea Party Movement. I have attended a couple of tea party rallies. No I don’t hate myself.

I supported Bush after 9/11 like a lot of people. I supported going to war like a lot of people. But then a lot of those people turned on Bush, and I hesitated. I did not want to be cynical towards him. I wanted to believe in him, but I was completely let down. He fucked up, royally. Not just the war, but on Social Security, etc. I was getting pissed off with the amount of intrusion the government had on our day to day life.

Then Obama came along offering change. I didn’t quite believe that he would offer limited government, but I had hope. Right away he expanded government. The only change he offered was a (D) instead of an (R). They both want government to control the American Life. If the Patriot Act was bad, why did Obama extend it by a year?

So I have been let down by both the Dems and the Repubs. And yes, I do see that Republicans are trying to co-opt the Tea Party movement, but the people I know who are a part of it, see right through it.

The rallies that I saw had its share of loonies on the right, just like the recent education protests in California had their loonies on the left.

I am terrified of the Right-Wing Fascists on the right about as much as the Left-Wing Communists on the Left.

The Tea-Partiers don’t want either. It’s just the media that seems to report on the extreme wackos, which is quite sad.

Jason D
March 14th, 2010 | LINK

Tim and Swamp:

Seriously?

it’s called WORLD NET DAILY, FREE REPUBLIC, and FOX NEWS. They are solidly behind the Tea Party. This is the party of Orly Taitz, people.

WND Founder Joseph Farah and everyone’s anti-gay hero Sarah Palin were speakers at the Tea Party Convention.

They’re the ones who came up with the Mount Vernon Statement.
http://www.alternet.org/story/141819/is_the_u.s._on_the_brink_of_fascism/

Signed by Tony Perkins, Elainey Donnelly, Wendy Wright…

Here’s a lovely photo shoot of the darling tea party protestors. Exta points if you see the founder of Free Republic.

http://www.good.is/post/picture-show-the-central-valley-tea-party?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+good/lbvp+(GOOD+Main+RSS+Feed)&utm_content=Google+Reader

They’re the big sponsors of the Tea Party.

They’ve been championing the cause from the very beginning.

The Tea Party showed up right after the election, before Barack even showed up in office.

They’re the ones screaming about how they want their country back, they’re the ones disrupting town hall meetings to stop discussion on anything related to Obama. They’re the ones calling him a Nazi and a socialist. When in reality their whole demo is reminiscent of the disatisfied, entitled Germans who ended up becoming the National Socialists.

http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2010/01/tea-party-leader-busted-for-child-rape.html

http://www.alternet.org/story/141819/is_the_u.s._on_the_brink_of_fascism/

From all I’ve read, it seems the Tea Party is predominantly made up of folks who think the GOP is too liberal.

Fred in the UK
March 14th, 2010 | LINK

@Lurker. Interesting theory, however while it may well be part of the explanation as to why certain political values tend to band together, there are certain things it does not explain, at least to my mind. Why in the ‘strong leaders’ society do people care so much about what two men (or women) do or do not do in the privacy of their own bedroom and whether they can or cannot get married? On the other hand why does the ‘nurturing family’ society not care more about the unborn child?

In reply to the original post I doubt that the Tea Party movement will be any more than, at best, moderately helpful to gays. The big problem, as I see it, within the Republican Party for gays is the ability and willingness of social conservatives to veto socially liberal candidates. I agree with Eric in Oakland that the movement may well force social conservatives to be more fiscally conservative. I don’t see the libertarian elements of the Republican Party overcoming that veto, although they may be better able to curb the social conservatives worst excesses.

grantdale
March 14th, 2010 | LINK

Sparky,

A sense of connectivity would help.

I’d almost be prepared to bet a whole dollar that you could find more people willing to say they have had sex with a dog in a America than would say they were “Left-Wing Communists on the Left”

Yet, apparently, it’s the latter that is about to rule. Oooh, scary.

(Ah yes, those left-wing people on the left. So different to those left-wing people on the right. Where do you learn these mindless slogans?)

Sparky, you may well be ‘terrified’ by a lot of things. But when you ran 9/11 into The War… I knew you needed help. It was a lie, and it still is.

I almost hate to admit it people, but we’ve been there before you. Search under “One Nation”. Same ignorant crap, same disguise, but delivered with a bogan Australian accent. Tea bags, thrown on the barbie.

The difference is that Our Stupid Pauline was waving a bee’s dick about in terms of global importance. (T.G.) Your idiots can cause harm to millions at the bat of an eyelid.

Please don’t enable them.

Tommy
March 14th, 2010 | LINK

I always think it is funny when someone claims the American left is socialistic, and hilarious when someone claims it is communistic. This is how poor our educational system is, most Americans have no clue what “socialism” or “communism” actually are and can only think in terms of Cold War paranoia. Which, of course, is exploited by corporations like the insurance industry so as to ensure no progress is being made whatsoever. Obama and the Democrats are actually less socialistic than the Republicans. Bush’s entire tenure in office was marked by socialist policies, particularly his last few years where he single handedly socialized the entire financial system. Of course no one reported on it because he was doing it for the benefit of corporations, not the American people.

Priya Lynn
March 14th, 2010 | LINK

Lurker, your bit about conservatives believing in a “strong leader” society and liberals believing in a “nuturing family” society is very interesting and I think there is a lot to it. I, however, believe in a nurturing family society but I definitely do not believe in giving people an infinite number of second chances.

Tommy
March 14th, 2010 | LINK

That part’s a gross oversimplification of how liberals and conservatives view prison, Priya Lynn. Liberals view that it should be about reformation. Conservatives view it as punishment. Guess which viewpoint has held sway for all of history?

Thurston Howell
March 14th, 2010 | LINK

Too many Tea Bagger Party participants carry signs with racist messages including racist messages toward President Obama.

The Tea Bagger Party is clearly the majority of the Republican Party. Actually the Tea Bagger Party is now what was once known as the Republican Party

This article is simply an attempt by the right wing Republican Party and their media manipulators to make it appear that the Tea Bagger Party somehow represents economic conservatism instead of what they really are a bunch of hateful bigots who would make a Republican and a Dixiecrat proud in their level of hate.

Priya Lynn
March 14th, 2010 | LINK

Tommy, what part is a gross oversimplification of how liberals and conservatives view prison? I don’t recall anyone mentioning anything about prison.

Timothy Kincaid
March 14th, 2010 | LINK

Jason D,

I think you are confusing the right-wing with the tea party movement. Because there are aome of the same people in both, it can be an easy conflation, but I think these are distinctly different movements. Or so it seems to me.

PW
March 14th, 2010 | LINK

Whether or not the Tea Party movement is good for gays remains to be seen. Frankly I see no easy way to disengage many conservatives from their fixation on the hot button social issues. These issues are deeply embedded in the mindset of some to the exclusion of all else. And if that wasn’t bad enough the GOP has amply demonstrated that it is more than willing to cynically use these issues to get votes. That being said, the discussion itself is good, it gets people thinking. My hope is that maybe the stranglehold of the religious right over conservative politics will be loosened a bit. Because as it stands now, what real choices do the conservatives offer to Americans who do not share the religious right’s positions? Many of my views on the role of government particularly the Federal Government are conservative, but as a gay man I find it almost sickening to vote conservatively because I know many of the candidates are anti-gay and are actively working against my interests. I for one hope the discuss continues, maybe one day I will be able to vote for the policies I agree with without worrying if my rights are on the line.

Neon Genesis
March 14th, 2010 | LINK

If the Tea Party cared about gays, where’s all the Tea Party protests against DADT?

Mykelb
March 14th, 2010 | LINK

Whoever wrote that article did not take it to it’s logical conclusion. 60% of our tax money is spent on “social issues” such as social security, medicare/medicaid, and other social programs. If they cared anything about being fiscally conservative, then that is where they should be looking to save tax money along with bringing all of our soldiers back to the shores of the U.S. and closing down all of our overseas military bases. That would really cut down our spending.

cd
March 14th, 2010 | LINK

It’s about 8-10 years until the reactionary, er, “social conservative” wing of the Republican Party cracks on basic equality for gay people.

Given the extent to which Republican politicians are hostage to their reactionary wing and will continue to be so for at least the next couple of years, let’s just say it will be a while before any effort

Good news of sorts is that the reactionary wing will, at roughly the same time, also start to split on and give up hope of overturning Roe v Wade. That should result in a lot of Republican politicians walking away from rhetoric of wanting Roe overturned and then a lot of angry religious near-single issue voters ending their participation within the Republican Party.

Mykelb
March 14th, 2010 | LINK

But you don’t see grandma and grandpa sending their Social Security and Medicare checks back to the Treasury and you don’t see the Tea Partiers asking for an end to the wars and miliatary bases overseas do you?

Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

For what it’s worth, Karl Rove is worried the tea party movement will harm the Republican Party. He fears they’ll throw votes to independents or third party candidates.

Neon Genesis
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

I also disagree with the article’s whole premise that fiscal conservatives are backing away from social conservatism. Last I checked, same-sex marriage was still banned in most of the states, Virginia recently passed a law removing sexuality from its discrimination bill, Christian extremists are trying to murder gays in Uganda, Republicans are protesting against the repeal of DADT, and pro-lifers are trying to hijack health care reform to use it to ban abortion. So, where does the article get the idea that social conservatism is dead?

Lymis
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

There’s two entirely different points here:

One is whether the Tea Party takeover of the Republican Party is or is not (a) real and (b) good.

The other is whether gay people should happily support them. Different question.

I won’t argue for a moment that a Republican Party run entirely by, and supported mostly by, people who actually do believe in small government, limited interference in personal liberty, and responsible approaches to spending wouldn’t be a good thing, and wouldn’t, potentially, open doors for support of fundamental gay rights and equality.

I’ll believe it when I see it. People talk about the takeover by the politically religious as the reason the Republican Party is anti-gay, but overlook the fact that prior to that takeover, gay rights were barely on the radar, and anti-gay beliefs were so taken for granted that most people didn’t feel the need to state them. It’s not as though there was a formerly gay-positive Republican Party that was shanghaied. When, the McCarthy period?

True, they won’t drop it until they ditch the hysterical religious fervor. But shifting their rhetorical focus to financial issues will NOT translate automatically into support for LGBT equality at the ballot box.

It is not as though the rank and file Republican is a blank slate on gay rights that is being misled by their leadership. Their views on gay rights are not going to change until their leadership (and their pastors) start making actively positive, or at least actively tolerant statements clearly, strongly, publicly and frequently.

That will NOT come from the Tea Party.

toujoursdan
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

Grantdale and Emily K have it right.

Also, it’s a fact that Americans are the least taxed nation in the developed world. Americans seem to want all the comforts of living in a developed country but don’t want to pay for them. (Heck, Americans won’t even pay for needed improvements to the water system to ensure that waste doesn’t end up in drinking water: Saving U.S. Water and Sewer Systems Would Be Costly) We’ve turned into a country that feels entitled to have something for nothing.

The elephant in the room is the big drain on federal budget comes from the military. The U.S. accounts for 50% of the world’s military spending, spends 8x more than the next country, China. And it seems to get little in return. The military has performed poorly in every single major war after WWII.

When I see the Tea Party focusing on making the military more efficient and cost effective, I’ll take them a bit more seriously. But they seem to instead embrace class warfare and go after healthcare and poor people.

Jason D
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

“Jason D,

I think you are confusing the right-wing with the tea party movement. Because there are aome of the same people in both, it can be an easy conflation, but I think these are distinctly different movements. Or so it seems to me.”

and I think you’re inserting a distinction that either a) doesn’t exist or b)makes no tangible difference.

More importantly, tea party supporters don’t seem to see the difference you think is there. Why else would every prominent neo-con be praising it?

I also love how I show you such obvious connections as Donnelly, Perkins, and WND founder Farah and your don’t see this as a problem. You’ve no response when I point out this tangible connection. Prominent Anti-Gay activists are at the forefront of the Tea Party Movement.

Nevermind the fact that the tea party is thoroughly, PROUDLY racist and xenophobic, and we know from history that’s never good for gays.

Neon Genesis
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

It should also be pointed out that most libertarians in general do not support the legalization of any government approve marriage, so even if you made the case that the Tea Party was irreligious, don’t count on them supporting same-sex marriage since they’re against all marriage.

Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

Jason D,

On Saturday there were three independent articles from three reporters all of whom said the same thing.

Perhaps you have a better knowledge of the movement than me (or them), but I’m not seeing some of the connections you are making. For example, I don’t think the Mt. Vernon Statement was a Tea Party action. It seemed to me (and Time) as more of an effort to woo the Tea Party folk.

cooner
March 16th, 2010 | LINK

@Fred in the UK: “Why in the ’strong leaders’ society do people care so much about what two men (or women) do or do not do in the privacy of their own bedroom and whether they can or cannot get married?”

Actually, I’ve read this same theory some time ago, and I remembered it boiled down to the fact that ‘strong leader’ people’s mindset requires the recognition of a ‘strong leader’ in every circle, from society as a whole down to a single family. A family must have one leader, typically the father and breadwinner, whom everyone else is subservient to and looks to for all decisions, including the mother. To such a mindset, the concept of having two potential leaders (two gay men) or no clear leaders (two lesbians) just doesn’t compute in their worldview.

By concept, the ‘nurturing family’ world view perceives a family as two people working cooperatively and sharing responsibility to raise a family. When you have the mindset that neither parent is necessarily dominant over the other, it’s not a far reach to recognize that there’s no reason the parents need to be one man and one woman.

Hope this helps!

werdna
March 16th, 2010 | LINK

Not to derail the discussion, but the person lurker brought up is George Lakoff. In addition to teaching at UC Berkeley, he founded a think tank, the Rockridge Institute, which has now shut down operations. This is unfortunate because the website had a lot of easy-to-digest discussions of his ideas about the “strict father” and “nuturant parent” models and how they inform political ideas and identities. Those who want to read more might have a look at his book “Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think.”

Fred in the UK
March 16th, 2010 | LINK

@Cooner. Thanks for the reply, I understand why ‘strong leaders’ people would not approve of homosexuality and why they would not want it for their sons or daughters, nor voluntarily associate with homosexuals. What I do not understand is why they seem to care, so much, about the homosexuality of people they do not know. They appear to, somehow, perceive an important threat to themselves, their families and/or society as a whole from homosexuals as a whole. It is the strength of their feeling that I do not understand.

Jason D
March 16th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy, what of Joseph Farah, Palin, Freeper connection? You dodged that.

You’re also escaping the fact that without a clear structure with a designated leader (such as the dems and reps) the Tea Party movement is made up of…whoever wants to align themselves with them. Perkins, Donnelly, et al, are part of the Tea Party Movement simply because they claim to be.

cooner
March 16th, 2010 | LINK

@Fred in the UK: You’re welcome!

Yeah, it is very hard to understand, and I think that was the point of the original research: That the modes of thought are so deeply ingrained in (some? most?) people that people on one side of the issues simply cannot understand or comprehend the opinions or strength of feelings of those on the other side.

As I recall it was sort of meant to help explain why there are so many “cultural issues” that we seemingly can’t even talk to some people or come to any kind of compromise or “agree to disagree” agreement. For some people it’s like trying to convince them that up is down or green is orange. And yes, some ideas go so against their ingrained mindset that they do see it as a threat to their worldview.

Timothy Kincaid
March 16th, 2010 | LINK

Jason,

I’m not trying to dodge to make a point, I simply think we err if we see two separate movements as identical.

And I think perhaps you misunderstand my intention (perhaps I should have been more clear). I’m not writing a defense of the Tea Party folks or their agenda.

I’m not arguing that they do not include social conservatives or, even, raging loons. But several political observers all are finding that this group is excluding emphasis on social agenda items.

You are more than welcome to disagree with that premise. I’m sure you can find more than a few instances in which homophobia was topic number one.

My take on all of it is this: we don’t yet know what the outcome of this movement will be. We don’t know if they will simply be a fringe that is folded back into the Party and forgotten or if there are leaders in this movement who will push the Republican Party to drop its social agenda focus.

But if they do change the focus from social policy, then that is good for us. Having one party platform as “a fierce advocate” is great. But it’s even better if the other platform backs off or even is silent on issues important to us.

werdna
March 16th, 2010 | LINK

@cooner and Fred UK:
Here’s a relatively recent article by Lakoff in which he discusses (among other things) the Tea Party phenomenon and the different reactions that are produced by the use of “homosexual” vs. “gay and lesbian” in polls. It’s a long-ish article and he goes through a lot of his basic concepts about frames, embodied metaphors and the two family models.

lurker
March 16th, 2010 | LINK

Thanks for the updates on Lakeoff, all.

I’m sad to hear that his foundation has closed. It sounded like it was doing good work in helping progressives communicate about our values more effectively.

@Fred:

On the other hand why does the ‘nurturing family’ society not care more about the unborn child? that’s an interesting question . . . maybe it has to do more with the “strict father” world view tipping more to the follow-the-rules & men-are-in-charge values on this issue (i.e., women should stay chaste, unwanted pregnancy is their punishment for having sex, and it’s men’s jobs to protect and provide), vs. “nurturing family” being more about equality of opportunity for members of the family (i.e., women should not be punished for having sex through having their opportunities foreclosed on by pregnancy)

And maybe why “strict father” types care so passionately about queers: as I recall one of the hallmarks of that world view was a certain sense that the world is scary so you have to know who the “in” people are – and they all follow the rules to protect the group from the outsiders. So that to be gay (i.e., someone who doesn’t follow the rules as cooner described above) and also be a member of their “tribe” is not acceptable.

Timothy Kincaid
March 16th, 2010 | LINK

One thing to consider on the abortion issue:

First, yes I think that many anti-abortion activists do sincerely engage in their activism because they believe that they are saving lives. The believe that all life is sacred and to be protected (many are also anti-death penalty).

HOWEVER…

There is also a strong sense that abortion allows a woman to sin without paying a price. It seems unfair to them that the punishment for sexual wantonness, an unwanted pregnancy, can be taken care of so quickly and inexpensively (this is also a strong motivation behind opposition to contraception)

I’m not sure I buy the strict father / nurturing family dichotomy. But this does contribute to the notion.

Chris McCoy
March 16th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid said:

There is also a strong sense that abortion allows a woman to sin without paying a price. It seems unfair to them that the punishment for sexual wantonness, an unwanted pregnancy, can be taken care of so quickly and inexpensively (this is also a strong motivation behind opposition to contraception)

This is the same twisted logic behind the belief that “AIDS is God’s punishment for the ‘sin’ of homosexuality.”

Timothy (TRiG)
March 16th, 2010 | LINK

I posted a link to this story on Facebook, and received this comment from a friend:

“I disagree with the assessment Box Turtle Bulletin quotes. The problem is that the so-called “Tea Party” *isn’t* a party–it’s a melange of people without a single platform or set of opinions. A lot of the anarchic lawlessness that the tea partiers advocate could prove very dangerous to LGBT Americans, as to all Americans–and we should be … See moreconcerned for the democratic system and American politics as we understand them should the Republican party seek to embrace the tea partiers too closely. To me, they represent the breakdown of civic discourse.”

TRiG.

Jason D
March 16th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy, you’re far too optimistic about the Tea Party letting go of social issues. Not when they’ve got Michele Bachman giving a speech at one of their rallies.

http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2010/03/rep-michele-bachmann-repeats-death.html

What I don’t get is why you think social issues are important to them when so MANY social conservatives are joining the bandwagon. Eventually they’re going to outshine whatever “core values” you think are more important. Do you really think Perkins, Palin, Farrah are going to just leave their anti-gay stances behind? Do you really think they’re NOT going to look for an opportunity to rally the tea party around those points as well? It’s exactly what’s happened with the republicans. Remember when conservative actually meant fiscal conservative? Resource conservative? That’s all been replaced with social conservativism and just plain corporate pandering. The same fate awaits the tea party so long as no one is shoving out Palin, Farah, Wright, Perkins, Bachman, etc, etc, etc.

The only way that the Tea Party can be good for gays is if they act as magnet for all the social conservatives so that republicans can get back to whatever non-social values they have left. Either that or as a spoiler, shifting enough republican votes away so that dems or the green party or whatever can gain or keep some ground.

Timothy Kincaid
March 17th, 2010 | LINK

Jason,

Please go re-read my commentary. Try to set aside whatever it is that you think I said and go read the words again.

Burr
April 13th, 2010 | LINK

http://michiganmessenger.com/36668/straight-pride-shirts-at-tea-party-rally-draw-fire

“When it comes to gays and lesbians, White Tea Party supporters also hold negative attitudes. Only 36 percent think gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to adopt children, and just 17 percent are in favor of same-sex marriage.”

Burr
April 20th, 2010 | LINK

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0410/35988.html

“In general, those who turned out for the April 15 event tended to be less culturally conservative than national Republicans.

Asked to rate their level of anger about 22 issues on a scale of one (not angry at all) to five (extremely angry), the issue that drew the most anger: the growing national debt. The least: courts granting same-sex couples the right to marry. Twenty-four percent said they’re “not at all” upset about gay marriage.”

Timothy Kincaid
April 21st, 2010 | LINK

Burr,

Thanks for the additional links. This story continues to grow and mutate.

Priya Lynn
April 21st, 2010 | LINK

LOL, so much for your “they may even insist on advancing and supporting gay candidates” theory, Timothy. You often underestimate how anti-gay conservatives are.

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