The theme of Michael Tanner at the National Review is that the Tea Party has become unpopular because it’s against gay marriage and illegal alien amnesty.
Yet it’s also true that the Tea Party’s clout is waning. According to the most recent Gallup poll, just 30 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the movement, the lowest level in its history.
While this may technically be the lowest level, the Tea Party spent most of its time with a favorable rating in the 30s.
In 2011, the Tea Party had a favorability rating of 33 percent. So the notion that this is some sort of recent development in response to social issues has no basis in reality.
Sparked by outrage over the Wall Street bailouts, the original Tea Party was motivated by an opposition to Big Government. The motto of the Tea Party Patriots, one of the largest and most influential groups, was “fiscal responsibility, limited government, and free markets.” The Tea Party’s core issues were the skyrocketing national debt and opposition to Obamacare…
But the Tea Party has drifted away from its strict economic-conservative origins. Yes, opposition to Obamacare and government spending remain priorities. But increasingly issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and immigration have become the tail that wags the dog.
Tanner doesn’t provide any evidence that the Tea Party is now more focused on abortion than ObamaCare. He can’t provide that evidence because it doesn’t exist.
But the Tea Party also recognizes that economic issues can’t be divorced from social issues in many cases.
Tanner complains that Tea Party Patriots were “organizing not against Obamacare or raising the debt ceiling, but against immigration reform.” But Tanner doesn’t seem to understand that illegal alien amnesty will make it that much easier for the left to get through nationalized health care and even higher spending and taxation.
Importing large numbers of illegal Democrats who are the opposite of fiscal conservatives make fiscal conservatism unsustainable. Libertarians who refuse to accept the fact that open borders are incompatible with small government are committing suicide and asking everyone else to join them for the ride.