That is what the writers of this article would like us to believe:
Republicans across the country are riding a wave of tea party passion, but Tuesday’s election results brought home just how unpredictable and out of control that ride may be.
Just as they did when they drove out Charlie Crist in Florida and Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania and defeated incumbent Sen. Bob Bennett in Utah, Republican voters scorned the GOP establishment in Delaware’s U.S. Senate primary and picked a tea party darling as their nominee.
The primary reason for this, that many citizens have been misled by the leadership in both parties–and so distrust the establishment, is not mentioned.
Christine O’Donnell’s stunning upset over moderate, nine-term congressman Mike Castle highlighted the tremendous energy on the right — and the serious risks facing the GOP as tea party conservatives gain more influence in the party.
“The Republican Party is in danger of burning down the big tent,” said John Avlon, a former Rudy Giuliani speech writer and author of Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America. “Liberal Republicans went extinct a long time ago. Now centrist Republicans — even in regions where they’re the only Republicans who can get elected — are getting kicked out in these closed Republican primaries.”
Ah, now we have it. Someone has written book about how crazy people are taking over the asylum. Of course, his definitions of Liberal and centrist differ greatly from mine. It would be interesting to see how he categorizes Arlen Specter (or Olympia Snowe) for starters.
The article closes with a few words from Thune:
South Dakota Sen. John Thune, who encouraged then-Republican Crist to run for Senate, said the party will unite behind O’Donnell and downplayed talk that the GOP no longer can take the Senate.
“I know conventional wisdom is that (Delaware) is harder to win now but we’ll see. What we’re seeing this year is an intensity of the grass roots level like we haven’t seen in a long time, people are engaging like they never have before and the issues that they’re engaging on are issues that actually work really well for our candidates,” Thune said. “We’ll proceed. You play the hand you’re dealt.”
Indeed. And the hand the Republicans have been dealt tells them that many citizens understand and strongly support traditional Republican ideals. However, we do not support the lack of adherence to these ideals which seems to characterize many elected Republicans (liberal or centrist).
Go and read it all–and then ask yourself if the Republicans are being hurt or helped by the Tea Party phenomena overall.
The tea party movement and the Tea Partiers are only hurting Republicans who wish to use the label but disavow the historical difference between Republicans and Democrats. Will there be some negatives in the short term? As long as humans are imperfect, certainly.
However, it is difficult to see how conservatives and libertarians (those who would identify themselves as Tea Party people) doing nothing would be better for us as a nation–if one believes that our Constitution is worth following and worth preserving.
Update: PowerLine frames the Tea Party influence on the Republican Party in terms of creative destruction. I think it is an apt analysis.