MYRTLE BEACH — Fiscal or faith issues? What matters more to the Tea Party? Here in South Carolina at their state convention Monday afternoon, both do.
That’s what Jim and Billie Gunn say, a husband-and-wife activist duo who are active in local civic government, GOP politics, and the Tea Party. This kind of political crossover is common in Carolina, they said.
They got involved in Tea-Party activism early last year, when they gave up hope that the GOP would stand firm on the policy fronts they’re most concerned about: immigration and and the role of government.
“We just didn’t think the GOP has been aggressive enough in dealing with these concerns,” Jim said. His opinion matters: he’s the Myrtle Beach Tea-Party chapter president.
“We believe that due to compromise, moderates [within the GOP] have contributed to the problem. When you’re conservative… to me there’s no compromise,” he said.
The Gunns were fans of Herman Cain before he dropped out. Now they like Santorum, but will probably vote for Newt Gingrich, because they think he has the necessary toughness, as they put it, to go toe-to-political toe with Obama in the fall and win.
“I love Santorum, but Newt has the skills,” Billie said, insisting that the Tea Party rank-and-file need a “true conservative” who will stand up for “conservative rights.”
“He’s gonna’ make people mad, but he’ll get things done,” she added, with a smile.
But the Gunns say they’ll vote for whoever gets the Republican nomination, “even if,” as Jim said (and this is a common way of putting it in SC), it’s Romney.
“We have our moral-social concerns, too, but right now, most of us [Tea-Partiers] are more concerned with the fiscal.”