Here’s Why Some Conservatives Aren’t Ready for a Tea Party

Source: Mike Gifford (m.gifford) / Flickr

Michael Gerson, a columnist for the Washington Post, on Monday wrote about the destructive effects of conservative political groups with more “unremittingly hostile” viewpoints of the U.S. government’s function. According to Gerson, some Tea Party members, libertarians, and constitutionalists give conservatives a bad name. Gerson simplifies liberalism down to a constant, good-hearted green light on policy, and libertarianism down to an unceasing red light.

He credits conservatives with being more complex but eventually labels them with a cautious yellow light for policy making. He emphasized that conservatives “set the table for private action and private institutions” so as to remedy problems in society. However, Gerson criticizes today’s conservatives, saying they don’t have a clear understanding of what’s become of equal opportunity.

“Economic mobility has stalled for poorer Americans, resulting in persistent, intergenerational inequality. This problem is is more complex than an income gap,” Gerson wrote in the Washington Post, citing differences in the type and extent of parenting, education, and unemployment for blue-collar workers, as well as family disruption.

Gerson emphasizes the importance of governing that allows the public the liberty to help itself but warns, “Just as citizens must be prepared for the exercise of liberty, individuals must be given the skills and values — human capital — that will allow them to succeed in a free economy.”

He continued in the Post: ”Where are the creative conservative policy ideas to strengthen civil society and private enterprise in places where the playing field of equal opportunity is scandalously tilted? Such a project is not unprecedented. In the 1990s, a cadre of conservative reformers” dealt with a number of serious social and economic issues. “This history highlights the current conservative divide. Many in the tea party and libertarian wings, if left to their own devices, would say almost nothing about these matters,” Gerson said.

Gerson is not the only one to voice frustration with certain parts of the conservative spectrum. Midway through December, even Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) lost his cool with Tea Party-backed groups. “Frankly, I just think they’ve lost all credibility,” said Boehner, according to CNN.

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