Tea Party Divisions: Is It A Socially Conservative Movement, Too?

Jillian Bandes
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Posted: Jun 18, 2010 8:18 AM
The tea parties started as a response to fiscal irresponsibility. Since then, conservatives have pondered, debated, and fought about whether socially conservative principles were inherently part of the movement. It's rare, however, for Members of Congress to get in the mix.

At a recent discussion about the tea parties, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), the chairman of the House Republican Conference, said that social principles were essential to tea partying. Transcribed by CNS:
I’ve talked to people in this movement that our leaders need to recognize that public policy alone will not cure what ails this country... It’s going to take public virtue and a return to the institutions that nourish the character of the nation and reaffirm our commitment to the sanctity of life, the sanctity of traditional marriage, and to the importance of religion in every day life is also quietly central to this movement around the country.
Author Jonah Goldberg and columnist Michael Barone were also on the panel, which had the explicit purpose of discussing whether "the notion of populist conservatism" is an oxymoron. According to the Hudson Institute,
...conservatism stands for tradition, high culture, social order, and moderation, none of which jibe well with the populist passions of the moment.