I ask this question after reading Wayne Slater’s commentary today in the Morning News: Rick Perry today dismissed critics who’ve questioned why he put tea party issues on “emergency” status for fast-track consideration while the Legislature’s big issue is a whopping budget shortfall. The Republican governor has made voter-id, sanctuary cities, private property rights, anti-abortion legislation and a federal balanced budget amendment to the Constitution “emergency” issues. Since when did “anti-abortion legislation” become a “Tea Party issue? In the internecine wars that afflict the Republican party, the social conservatives are making a big push to get the tea parties to embrace their objectives. In many respects, this fight is more important than the ongoing battles between the social conservatives and the mainstream conservatives. The Tea Party has thrived because it has stuck to fiscal issues, which address the major concern in American politics today. If they allow themselves to be co-opted by the social conservatives, they are going to lose a lot of their appeal. This is a huge, behind-the-scenes fight that is going on inside the GOP, and the party and the country will be a lot better off if the Tea Party does not succumb to the overtures of the social conservatives to take up religious and anti-libertarian causes.
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