An interesting story has started to rise out of the Tea Party movement. As many know, the group began as a decentralized coalition of concerned taxpayers over the stimulus and healthcare bills coming out of Washington, DC. However, it was quickly mired by an influx of extremists attempting to hijack the Tea Party on everything from the “birther” conspiracy to reproductive rights issues. Many original Tea Partiers fled the group in response, not wanting their names tied to such radicalism.
Now, the Tea Party is working to expel the image these fundamentalists brought to the movement. The group’s leadership has worked to remove any signs or extremist outpourings at events and conferences. Many Tea Party friendly blogs, such as American Majority, are banning birthers, truthers, militia members, etc.
These are all positive steps. Many of our own members have reported in being involved in the Tea Party movement and how they feel that the group could do great things with their collective voice. However, it’s important to note that for the Tea Party movement to be successful it must not fall into the same trap the GOP has by allowing divisive social issues to clash with the focus on limiting government control and promoting sound economic and tax policy. Keeping a sharp focus on the issues that started the movement and continues to draw people to it- Government intrusion, wasteful spending, big government bureaucracy- will allow the Tea Party to accomplish its goals and not get distracted by the infighting that the GOP has seen.