Tea Party darling Michele Bachmann has become the first Republican presidential candidate to sign a pledge calling for a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. The pledge is called The Marriage Vow and was released by The Family Leader, an organization of social conservatives based in Iowa.
The Marriage Vow also calls for the protection of children from “all forms of pornography and prostitution.” But—contrary to most media reports—it does not specifically call for a “ban on all pornography” (as ABC news so dutifully reported).
As Michael Dougherty wrote in the cover story of TAC‘s June issue, “the Tea Party, confusedly hailed by the media as a grassroots libertarian spasm, turns out on inspection to be the religious right wearing a tricorn hat and talking about Obamacare.”
Dougherty continues: “Neoconservatives who call for confrontation with Iran, a closer relationship with Israel, and pressing the War on Terror are not echoed by religious conservatives—they’re drowned out by them.”
It’s this fact alone—that the Tea Party is really just the religious right with a makeover—that explains Bachmann’s recent surge in the polls. And Bachmann’s positions on the issues really do come together into the political tour de force that is proven to win the Republican primary: hawkish on defense, fervently conservative on social issues, and adamant about cutting the federal budget.
And as Jack Hunter pointed out today, she also has the benefit of knowing when to use the Constitutional conservative moniker when it’s beneficial—and also when to drop it when it’s inconvenient. Meanwhile, Rand Paul is representing a generally younger and anti-Bachmann wing of the party.
That both Bachmann and the Pauls are immensely popular is just another sign of a brewing conflict for the future of the Republican party.