In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Abortion Riders Prove Effective Wedge For Democrats in Government Shutdown Fight

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Newscom

A number of influential Tea Party activists have long argued that social issues should take a backseat to the economy during the recovery and some are chiming in to that effect as well.

"Tea Party Patriots have not taken a position on those, and we're looking for fiscal responsibility," Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots told Chris Matthews on MSNBC this week. "The riders are something the Republicans are pushing for their base."

Andrew Ian Dodge, the former Tea Party Patriots coordinator for Maine and a Republican candidate for Senate, slammed the House GOP for pushing the issue.

"I think the social conservatives feel their power ebbing because of the fiscal conservative obsessed Tea Party," Dodge, who signed onto a letter last year calling on the GOP majority to stick to the economy. "They have made several attempts to take it over and been rebuffed."

Mass defections on the issue have yet to be seen in the House, which would create more pressure for Boehner. But one GOP aide suggested to the Huffington Post that there may be a split within the caucus between the Tea Party and older social conservatives.

"It's mostly a few older members who have seen an opportunity," the GOP aide said. "If you were to ask the freshmen individually, only a few would say this is all about the riders."