Tea Party Activists Tell Republicans: Ignore Abortion, Social Issues

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 15, 2010   |   11:38AM   |   Washington, DC

The fiscally conservative tea party activists were crucial to electing pro-life candidates in the 2010 mid-term elections, but now they are calling on Republicans in Congress to avoid social issues like abortion.

Their call follows on the heels of two governors who are potential presidential candidates saying the Republican Party should declare a “truce” on abortion and other topics.

In a letter released today, according to Politico, the Tea Party activists, joined by representatives of a gay Republican group, say they want Republicans in Congress to lay off social issues.

“On behalf of limited-government conservatives everywhere, we write to urge you and your colleagues in Washington to put forward a legislative agenda in the next Congress that reflects the principles of the Tea Party movement,” the letter says. “This election was not a mandate for the Republican Party, nor was it a mandate to act on any social issue.”

Some of the signers of the letter, Politico indicates, include gay group GOProud’s chairman Christopher Barron, libertarian host Tammy Bruce, bloggers Bruce Carroll, Dan Blatt and Doug Welch and Tea party activists unrelated to the gay rights group.

That letter to pro-life presumptive House Speaker John Boehner and pro-life Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell comes at the same time as leading pro-life organizations are calling for a vote on a bill that would stop all federal funding for abortion, including in the ObamaCare health care law.

Ralph King, who is a Tea Party Patriots national leadership council member and a co-coordinator of its Ohio group, told the political web site, “When they were out in the Boston Harbor, they weren’t arguing about who was gay or who was having an abortion. I look at myself as pretty socially conservative. But that’s not what we push through the Tea Party Patriots.”

And Barron claims “No one has been talking about social issues – not even the socially conservative candidates who won tea party support,” despite the prominence of the abortion-funding aspects of ObamaCare in defeating many of the pro-abortion Democrats who lost two weeks ago.

Barron doesn’t want pro-life advocates to promote legislation in Congress, yet he told Politico, “We’re not talking about pushing social conservatives out of the tea party movement. Those people aren’t only welcome but they’re a critical part of this movement.”

An exit poll conducted by the Polling Company firm of voters who showed up on election day found many of the candidates the tea Party supported during the 2010 elections won as a result of pro-life issues. The issue of abortion helped pro-life candidates and played a role in the Republican shellacking of pro-abortion Democrats.

The poll found 30 percent of all voters said that abortion “affected” their vote with 22% of all voters backing pro-life candidates and eight percent saying they supported pro-abortion candidates — giving pro-life candidates a net pro-life advantage of 14 percent among all voters.

Examined another way, of the Americans who voted based on the issue of abortion, 73 percent picked pro-life candidates while just 27 percent supported abortion advocates.

The post-election polling also found 27 percent of voters said abortion funding in the health care law affected their vote and they voted for candidates who opposed the health care law while just 4 percent said abortion funding in the health care law affected their vote and they voted for candidates who favored the law.

“This advantage is not new,” says Karen Cross, the political director for the National Right to Life Committee. “In 1980, National Right to Life Political Action Committee was organized, and in the 30 years that followed, in election after election, among those voters who base their vote on abortion, National Right to Life has consistently seen a definite advantage for pro-life candidates over pro-abortion candidates.”

NRLC executive director David O’Steen agreed, saying “Post-election polling has shown that pro-life issues played a major role in what happened at the polls and provided a margin sufficient to guarantee victory in many close races.”

The Polling Company survey also found a majority continues to favor allowing abortion only in very rare circumstances.

Some 53 percent took a pro-life position against all abortions or allowing abortion at most in cases to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest — that compared with just 41% who would allow abortion regardless of the reason. And 25% of those who gave a pro-abortion response would allow abortion only in the first three months while the current policy under Roe vs. Wade allows abortion essentially throughout pregnancy for any reason.

Meanwhile, pro-life attorney Tom Glessner says those Tea Party activists who are focused on fiscal issues alone should consider the economic cost of abortion and the impact the destruction of more than 52 million lives has had on the economy.

Everett Wilkinson, coordinator of the Florida Tea Party Patriots, also signed the letter.