The two sides of the debate over whether the tea party is at heart a socially conservative movement or a fiscally conservative one smashed together Monday morning at a press conference in Washington, where a tea party leader told reporters he’d be willing to accept a bump in the debt ceiling if Republicans promise to put an end to “military effeminization.”
Speakers from the Cato Institute’s Dan Mitchell to a man dressed as George Washington to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) — who sent a written statement that was read aloud — told a small crowd of reporters that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and his GOP leadership team were ignoring their tea party mandate by supporting an increase in the federal debt limit. They called on Republicans in the House to attach strict spending riders onto any deal they make with an Obama administration desperate to avoid government default.
For Bachmann, no less than the “complete defunding of Obamacare” would do. For others, a total spending freeze and a small, short-term limit increase was acceptable, provided it came with guarantees of deep spending cuts. For Tea Party Founding Fathers chairman William Temple, a reinstatement of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and keeping women out of combat roles would also be acceptable.Temple, who addressed the audience in his trademark colonial garb, is organzing the Tea Party Freedom Jamboree this fall in Kansas City. He railed against Boehner and the GOP leadership in his speech, calling them “wimpy RINOs” and even attacked Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) Medicare-destroying plan passed by the House last month as a “so-called ‘courageous’ budget”
Temple is 100% opposed to raising the debt ceiling, and said that how members vote on the issue will be the sole item on the tea party scorecard when it comes to rating candidates in 2012. Vote for the increase, you get a zero. Vote against it, you get a 100. Apparently it’s that simple.
But even Temple said he understood a compromise might be coming. So he offered a long list of things the Republicans could do that would lead the “tea party movement as a whole” to “possibly forgive Boehner and the House Republicans a small bump in the debt limit.”
On the list was keeping the front lines of America’s wars as free of openly gay people and women of any sexual leaning as possible.
Temple said that “if the House Armed Services Committee and the Pentagon slow down on injecting open homosexuality and females into forward combat roles,” tea partiers might be able to put up with their new Republican House voting to ensure American government services are paid for with more borrowed cash.
Temple’s line of reasoning:
When the Pentagon’s own studies show that military effeminization may have an extremely costly impact on recruiting and retention, when Islamists have shown their willingness to sexually brutalize American female reporters, why would John Boehner’s House Republicans be caving to political correctness? Why would House Republicans who know better be fostering inappropriate attractions in the intimacy of tents, bunks, barracks, platoons, subs, tanks, convoys, cockpits, latrines, showers, toilets and locker rooms when we are fighting wars in three Muslim nations?
The speakers spent most of their time talking debt limit, but Temple wasn’t the only one to bring up DADT. Rev. C.L. Bryant, a Louisiana tea party chapter founder, former Garland, TX NAACP president and filmmaker, also connected his attacks on Boehner and company to DADT. He said the repeal of the policy banning gays and lesbians from serving openly was “not prudent,” according to military leaders (in fact, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was a proponent of ending the policy before it was repealed last year.)
“What is the point of having the stick that we gave you if you’re not going to protect the interests of the American people?” Bryant said. “Also, we send this message to those who have in fact spoken about changing the very nature and the very reason our Army protects this country and the principles that have guided it.”
Bob Vander Plaats, who ran hard for tea party support in his failed bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Iowa last year and has tried to emerge as a presidential kingmaker since, said in response to a question from TPM that it made sense to tie DADT repeal to the debt ceiling fight.
“It’s a ripple effect,” he said. “When you start going away from core value issues, the ripple effect leads right to economic issues as well.”
“If you tell me where you’re at, say on the sanctity of marriage or on some core value issues,” Vander Plaats explained, “I’ll tell you where you’re at on economic policy.”
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