Why a tea party type political movement may succeed

I happened to click on the obituary of a local man who died at age 92 and was struck by the frank list of survivors: a daughter and “her companion”: another woman; a granddaughter with her own “companion”, sex indistinguishable by name. And here’s what I thought: I’d just read the obit of a hugely successful businessman, WWII veteran with a fine Greenwich family that has no problem openly acknowledging the various permutations of the New American Family. A party, like the Republicans, that attacks these kind of relationships is alienating an ever-growing portion of the public and is doomed. Or I hope so, anyway. Whereas, a party that truly restricts itself to core issues of fiscal conservatism, limited government and national defense could appeal to what I think is the new majority.

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18 responses to “Why a tea party type political movement may succeed

  1. Anon E. Moose

    I generally agree with you, CF, and think many of the politically conservative persuasion do as well, even those who deeply hold certain religious beliefs that the far left fringe (Koz, DU, HuffPo) openly compares to pointy white hoods.

    Where I (and, I suspect, they) part company is when others attempt to foribly rewrite the language to their own ends by judicial fiat. To the chagrin of the National Enquirer and other less authorotative news outlets (like the NYT) — I really don’t care who 99.999% of America is sleeping with. “Companion” and “partner” are prefectly servicable adjectives, or just make up a new one that suits, without torturing established meanings and widely held norms.

    Will you represent me if I sue to get the address of a prospective house in Stamford changed to “Greenwich”? The court would be compelled to do so; think of the good it would do to my future property values if I were living in “Greenwich”?

    • christopherfountain

      The law on addresses is pretty well established these days, Moose, and Superior Court judges are far too lazy to rethink that law, so either plan on spending $150,000 appealing a case through the courts or forget it. My advice is to skip the law suit and put the money you save into a Greenwich house. I know of one that straddles the border, in fact, and a $75,000 new kitchen addition would bring it Greenwich schools and probably a $750,000 increase in value. I’m all for sending money to my former colleagues but in this case, a builder is your best friend.

  2. Old School Grump

    The republican party could probably win over a fair number of centrist democrats–maybe even me– if they’d stick to, as you stated, “core issues of fiscal conservatism, limited government and national defense.” It’s their submission to the retrograde social conservatism demanded by the religious right that has many of us running leftward without particularly wanting to.

    • christopherfountain

      Old School, many, many years ago (1975?) as a lonely libertarian on the liberal campus of Boston College, I attended a Young Americans for Freedom meet up at the school, hoping to find kindred spirits. Instead, I found a bunch of zealots eager to regulate and control people’s private behavior, and I so I left. I still don’t believe I’m alone, and I think that a low-intrusive-government party would collect a huge number of people like me.

  3. Priapus

    Too obvious for a politician.

  4. whatever

    but would the republican party gain more people than it would lose for abandoning the religious groups or group?

    I don’t know just asking. That’s probably the real question. Let’s face it these guys in office want to stay in office and they most likely don’t care how they do it. If the numbers work they’ll bite…

  5. Peg

    Couldn’t agree more with your philosophy, Christopher. And – I’d love to have the opportunity to test drive this belief with some candidates that matched it!

  6. P

    It is fascinating that liberals are so determined to control the public’s economic lives and conservatives are so determined to control the public’s private lives.

  7. Helsa Poppin

    This idea of conservatives wanting to control private lives more than liberals do is a canard. Opposition to abortion, for most of us who are pro-life, stems from the profound belief that a fetus is human life. A lot of people just as passionately feel that abortion of young fetuses should be permitted. A thinking conservative can acknowledge and respect this diversity of views by opining that the states should decide this issue for themselves rather than having the U.S. Supreme Court impose its interpretation on everyone. Yet having this belief pegs one not as a small-government libertarian who respects states’ rights but some sort of religious zealot who peers into his neighbor’s bedroom, just hoping to find something shocking in there.

    • christopherfountain

      Helsa, I’ll confess that, to me, abortion is just an awful issue because, like you, I believe life begins at conception – how could it not? Even the primitive ultra-sound imaging back when my children were growing in Pal Nancy’s womb showed living human beings who turned into adored adults. Yet, for most Americans, it seems to be a killer (so to speak) issue where to oppose aborting fetuses is to turn off potential allies in bringing a conservative government into power. Which is why I advocate punting the whole thing back to the states and let smaller populations decide for themselves where they stand. But if I believe, and I do, that abortion is murder, that’s an immoral, cowardly position. No one said modern life is easy.

  8. Arouet

    (1) I believe that abortion is a tragedy, and I even advocate investing gov’t resources to deter and discourage abortion (not a given for many small-govt folks). But I don’t think criminalizing abortion and building the necessary law enforcement infrastructure to enforce it (prisons, judges, prosecutors, cops) is the most effective way to reduce abortion (Mexico, Guatemala, and Nigeria handle it that way). You’re “taking a stand” instead of working to reduce abortions. (2) I wholeheartedly advocate gov’t that focuses on Peg’s trifecta, but (3) if the Tea Party people in Nashville who call for voting literacy tests and declaring war on Iran are the movement’s standard bearers . . . .

    • christopherfountain

      All valid points, Arouet – and we should be working, I think, towards including our new immigrants rather than tossing them back. But, as Milton Friedman said, we can have open borders or a welfare state,but not both. Friedman favored open borders, as do I.

  9. Old School Grump

    The best way to prevent abortions is to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Duh. So, why is access to birth control–and the knowledge needed to use it effectively–so hard to come by for so many?

    No mystery here. Contrary to Helsa’s assertion, our country is full of social conservatives who are absolutely delighted to weigh in on your sex life.

    It’s the high school health clinic that won’t tell teen girls about the place in town to get free birth control because teen girls aren’t supposed to be having sex. It’s the small-town pharmacist who invokes the state-approved “conscience clause” to refuse to fill ANYONE’S prescription for birth control pills. It’s the married couple who end up with another child on the way because they can’t afford over-the-counter birth control and don’t know about (or can’t get to) the free clinic 30 miles away. It’s the State Health Department that deliberately stonewalls frantic phone calls about emergency contraception until the 72-hour window for its effectiveness has passed. It’s the hospital emergency room that doesn’t even inform the rape victim about emergency contraception because they consider that to be the equivalent to an abortion, and thus it is against their policy.

    Don’t laugh. These aren’t extreme, absurd examples; they are business as usual in the Bible Belt state where I live.

    I’m an abortion rights supporter who does understand why other people passionately object to abortion. But until right-to-life supporters spend as much time and money helping prevent unwanted pregnancies as they do denouncing women who choose to end unwanted pregnancies, I will continue to assume their agenda far exceeds protecting the unborn.

  10. Helsa Poppin

    Well, Grump, I think you are proving my point. The examples you cite of conservatives “weigh[ing] in on your sex life” are not cases in which someone is reaching into your bedroom, but more of failures to act as the forces of the family planning-industrial complex would like them to. If a pharmacist doesn’t believe in the morality of birth control, you think he should be forced to fill the prescription anyway. If I don’t think high schools should be in the business of dispensing birth control, you think my taxes should pay for that anyway. So who is compelling whom to live acc. to another’s moral beliefs?

    I’m opposed to domestic violence too. Does that mean I’m obligated to financially support other people’s marriage counseling? I’m opposed to people beating their dogs. Must I now run a dog shelter, or pay for canine birth control? Frankly I find the “shut up about this issue unless you pay ransom to my pet cause” argument rather cynical as well, because I suspect that even if I WERE to spend all my free time and money dispensing free birth control to teenagers, there would be little respect for my pro-life position.

    Sorry to hijack this column with an argument about abortion. My larger point is that the “social conservatives want to control your private life” argument applies in very few cases. Most of the time, it’s more that social conservatives don’t want their children exposed to or indoctrinated in things they don’t believe in, and don’t want to be forced to accept things they find anathema (i.e., gay marriage, which isn’t about allowing people to live with whoever the want but about forcing the rest of us to acknowledge that their relationship is identical to heterosexual marriage). Abortion is different; many want that prohibited but the argument there is that it is saving an innocent life, and that trumps the pain and inconvenience of an unwanted pregnancy.

  11. Red

    Helsa, I don’t think you really are sorry about hijacking Chris’ column with an argument about abortion. Au contraire, I think you enjoy the chance to inflict your judgments on others.

    Old School Grump, you are 100% correct.

  12. Old School Grump

    Red at 10:44, thank you.

  13. Arouet

    Abortion is a deeply individual choice, and the “state’s rights” canard is just another way of taking the choice away from the individual and giving it to politicians—except now they are state instead of federal politicians.