Yesterday, after soliciting input from the GOP base, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) announced that “the long-awaited Republican manifesto” will be released after lawmakers return to Washington in September. One part of that base that has been particularly vocal and influential is the Tea Party. But while some Republicans view the Tea Party as toxic to the GOP, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) has fully embraced the Tea Party’s input, stating that members “represent the same values, concerns” of “tens of millions of other Americans” and that “we should listen to them, we should work with them and we should walk amongst them.”
If Boehner “walked among” Tea Party members in Erie County, OH, they may provide interesting insight for his new “manifesto.” As the Guardian’s Leo Hickman reports, a local Ohio newspaper the Sandusky Register obtained an email sent out last week by a local Tea party group called The Freedom Institute of Erie County. According to the email, the Tea Party group is creating a “Conservative voter guide” on the positions of candidates seeking office in upcoming elections in order to “rate, recommend, and endorse candidates” based on how they answer 15 questions. While such surveys may be fairly “mundane,” it’s the questions outlining the group’s priorities that provide, as Hickman puts it, “a hearty serving of insight with a side order of jaw drop”:
Now let’s hear those 15 questions. (The document states that the respondents should give one of the following answers: A = Agree; D = Disagree; U = Undecided; A* = Pro-life with exceptions of Rape or Incest, * = Added comments; NR = No Response; CR = Incumbents Conservative Rating.)
1. The Right to Life is a Constitutional right, therefore innocent human beings should have legal protection from conception until natural death. If you hold any exceptions please state them.
2. The regulation of Carbon Dioxide in our atmosphere should be left to God and not government and I oppose all measures of Cap and Trade as well as the teaching of global warming theory in our schools.
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.
5. Parental consent should be required for sex education that teaches more than direct abstinence.
6. The second Amendment to the Constitution [the right to keep and bear arms] should not be weakened in any way.
7. Only US citizens should be allowed to vote and a photo ID should always be required to vote. (The Mexican government requires a photo ID and fingerprint).
8. I oppose Ohio’s State Income Tax.
9. I oppose the Obama Health Care Reform and would like to see more affordable healthcare through a competitive, open, and transparent system.
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.
11. I support a law that will allow the people to place on a ballot all collective bargaining agreements of all government associations, unions, and guilds, for their expressed approval. Defeat of such an agreement would mean government workers would not be immune from the free market system.
12. I oppose card check for voting to implement a Union as this could give unions an unfair intimidation tactic to implement unionisation.
13. I am not an economic pacifist. I believe that we need to protect our economic borders in order to ensure free and fair trade. Tariffs should be used to stop the wealth and jobs of Americans from leaving her borders.
14. The Federal Reserve as it is currently conceived needs to be abolished or at the very least audited.
15. I advocated moving our currency to a debt-free supply-side labour-based currency.
The email’s author, the Freedom Institute Steering Committee member Jon P. Morrow, tells candidates to “please keep it short sweet and simple” as their answers will “reach 1,000+ Republicans and at least 4.000+ Independents that have a history of voting conservatively.”
According to its website, the Freedom Institute’s purpose is to act as the government’s watchdog and to “raise funds to advocate, advertise, educate, and inform the public on constitutionally conservative positions and conservative candidates we endorse.” Membership only requires taking “the Patriots Oath” constructed by Iran Contra operative Oliver North and right-wing Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson. But ab endorsement, it seems, requires a rejection of LGBT rights and that environmental regulation be “left to God.”
While Boehner has not outright endorsed the group’s principles listed in the survey, significant bastions of the conservative establishment, including the Heritage Foundation and the Koch-funded Cato Institute, are listed as “partners” of the group. President Obama, however, gets his own separate tab and title: “the enemy.”