Former Sen. Alan Simpson, the Republican Party's plain-speaking king of controversy, has new targets: the Tea Party and abortion.

While he credits the movement's initial “noble purpose” of cutting spending and reducing the national debt, Simpson said it has mistakenly detoured into social issues like gay rights and abortion which he believes will kill it.

His recommendation is that the Tea Party back off social issues. The former Wyoming senator even suggested that only women lawmakers be allowed to vote on abortion laws.

“It’s a terrible thing,” he said of abortion, “but it’s a deeply intimate and personal thing. And I don’t think men legislators should even vote on it,” he told Harvard University’s Institute of Politics “3 with IOP” video feature.

“I don’t see any real success in the Tea Party as long as they don’t ascribe to what I thought the Republicans ascribed to, which is government out of your life, the precious right of privacy and the right to be left alone. Well, if that’s the credo then what the hell are they doing? And if they keep doing it, they’re going to get cremated,” said Simpson.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at