Lately, the left seems to have two ideas that they take turns pushing: predicting a rift in the Tea Party coalition between the Libertarians and the Christians, and trying to engineer a rift between the Libertarians and the Christians.
This is not a surprising development. But it’s pretty much doomed to failure.
Both groups have lengthy histories in politics, but neither has had much success going it alone. They’ve been schooled quite thoroughly that America is a nation whose politics are shaped by large numbers, and neither group has the numbers to achieve their goals. They’ve finally learned that they need to be part of a “big tent” to have a real effect — and this last election proved that decisively.
Coalitions are tricky things. You need to find enough common ground to appeal to a broad group, yet not so broad that they lose coherence and focus. If the goal is diluted too much, then the membership loses its enthusiasm.
With the Tea Party, it’s limited its focus to smaller government, accountable government, and reductions in taxes and spending. Those are things that both liberatarians and Christian conservatives agree upon. They come to that from different directions, but they end up at the same point.
Beyond that, they have rather differing goals. For example, the Christians want a moral government; the libertarians find that thought an oxymoron. And it is those differences that the left wants to exploit.
It’s doomed to fail. Because there’s another lesson in coalition building that is also being learned: pragmatism. You have to look at things dispassionately. You need others — others who don’t believe in all the things you do — to achieve your goals. So you have to evaluate all potential allies and foes with the same question: will this person or group help achieve my goals, or hurt them?
The people pushing for the split have no interest in either pushing libertarian or Christian issues. In fact, they’re quite firmly against both groups. So the natural reaction to their expression of concerns about divisions within the Tea Party movement should be, “why are they so worried about it? Isn’t that just what they want to see?”
Yes, of course it is. It’s exactly what they want. It’s exactly what they need. It’s why they’ve been attacking the Tea Party movement all along — this is just their latest tactic.
It’s not that they’re dishonest while pushing this “civil war within the Tea Party” BS. It’s that they’re so transparently dishonest.