Perhaps it's not tea, taxes or Glenn Beck which divides many Tea Partiers from traditional Republicans.
Oh noes, maybe it's the gays.
Days after former RNC chair Ken Mehlman came out -- after years of prodding and pressure by gay activist Mike Rogers due to perceived hypocrisy -- many prominent Republicans are backing a fundraiser for same-sex marriage, as Politico's Ben Smith reports.
Ken Mehlman's fundraiser for same-sex marriage will be, among other things, a gathering of some of the most high-profile -- and deep-pocketed -- backers of gay marriage on the right. The names of Bill Weld, Christie Todd Whitman, Steve Schmidt, and Mary Cheney's didn't surprise me. Other names did a bit: Bush aides Mark and Nicolle Wallace are on there, as is top GOP lawyer Ben Ginsberg
Most notably, Mehlman's fundraiser extends the reach of same-sex marriage backers to the very top Republican donor pile: The private equity titan Henry Kravis (who's also Mehlman's boss at KKR) is among the hosts. And the event is at the home of Paul Singer, the hedge fund tycoon recently profiled in the Times as the embodiment of Wall Street's support for Republicans. Also, former RNC Finance Chairman Lew Eisenberg.
Meanwhile, The UK Guardian's Environment Blog notes, "A local Ohioan newspaper called the Sandusky Register has unearthed an email sent out last week by a local Tea Party group called The Freedom Institute of Erie County to the representatives of candidates seeking office in the forthcoming elections."
We are a Tea Party Group in Erie County called The Freedom Institute of Erie County and we are preparing a Conservative voter guide and would like help from your candidates. We ask they answer the following 15 questions so that we can more clearly define their position on many items. These answers will be put into our voter guide and allow us to rate, recommend, and endorse candidates. Without these questions being answered we cannot give a full endorsement of your candidateÃ¢â‚¬Â¦You are allowed qualifiers to your answers but please keep it short sweet and simple. We intend to distribute this list in Erie County and hope it to reach 1,000+ Republicans and at least 4.000+ Independents that have a history of voting conservatively.
The Guardian blog adds, "There's much to discuss with these questions, obviously. First, there's the ordering of the questions in terms of their presumed priority. Second, there's the, what would appear to be, obsession with homosexuality."
Three of the fifteen questions directly touch on gay themes, beginning with the third question.
3. Marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman, any other type of Union is not marriage.
4. Children should not be placed into foster homes where the parents are homosexual, bisexual, or transgender.
10. I oppose the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy of the military and believe that all same sex partners should be banned from combat duty in the military because of the propensity to transmit blood-borne diseases in the theatre of battle.
Question number ten appears to derive from a controversial video released in May.
The Christian Newswire noted in the spring, "On the eve of a congressional vote on gays in the military, a shocking new video dramatically explains why the admission of open and active homosexuals into the U.S. military could very well result in the spreading of deadly HIV-tainted blood throughout the ranks. Entitled, "Asking for Trouble," the video from the public policy group America's Survival, Inc. (ASI) notes that male Source: America's Survival, Inc."
Entitled, "Asking for Trouble," the video from the public policy group America's Survival, Inc. (ASI) notes that male homosexuals are currently prohibited from donating blood because of the diseases that they carry. And yet admission into the Armed forces could put them on a battlefield where other soldiers could come into contact with their infected blood and bodily fluids.
A Think Progress article in May charged that "right-wing hate-monger Cliff KincaidÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s" group's "abhorrent video Ã¢â‚¬â€ and the 60 page report that accompanies it Ã¢â‚¬â€ present ludicrous stereotypes of gay men and women, going so far as to claim that 'open and active homosexuals into the U.S. military could very well result in the spreading of deadly HIV-tainted blood throughout the ranks.'"
Of course, all would-be soldiers undergo mandatory HIV screening and are not allowed to serve if they are found to be positive. Kincaid mentions this, but as Joe.My.God noted, the press release Ã¢â‚¬Å“cites the singular example of an HIV-positive soldier infecting a 17 year-old male he met in a chat room. Because if it happened ONCE out of all those millions of soldiersÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â
Kincaid goes on to warn that repealing DADT will lead to Ã¢â‚¬Å“transgendered individuals who want to dress up as members of the opposite sex and would cry Ã¢â‚¬ËœdiscriminationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ if they are not allowed to do so.Ã¢â‚¬Â Ignoring the fact that service members of both genders often wear identical uniforms, KincaidÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s only example of this allegedly real threat is a fictional character from the TV show MASH.
Tea Party groups have blasted Democrats and the media for claiming that they are mostly white and for focusing on racist signs, and have mounted campaigns to focus on the few minorities seen in their crowds.
Perhaps, like traditional Republicans, the Tea Party movement plans to politicize gays at first, before returning to court them later.