The Tea party movement is doomed. It may not look like it at the moment as it glides on the euphoria of primary wins, but all of that is destined to change. The signs are there, if anyone wants to take an honest look.
Despite its name, the Tea party movement isn’t a political party but a leaderless collection of agitators fed up with government, particularly government spending and regulation. It began innocently enough with grassroots calls for reform, for change from within.
But some of the Tea party populace wants more than a fiscally responsible government. Many Tea partiers want their religious viewpoints to dictate American secular law and form the underpinnings of government policy. They want their anti-government paranoia to become our paranoia. If the tea party were to take a lesson from history, instead of promising a chicken in every pot to help a struggling and growing underclass, it might offer to provide a gun in every closet to arm citizens against their own government just in case.
If you want to know what happens when an amorphous group is leaderless for too long, read Lord of the Flies. Or take a lesson from Animal Farm‘s “all animals are equal but some are more equal than others.”
Someone has already seen the opportunity for power presented by the Tea party movement and capitalized on it. His name is Sal Russo, but while he may be the first, he undoubtedly won’t be the last “leader” to seize the teapot or control the distribution of teabags.
Sal Russo used to work on mainstream Republican issues. When he heard about the Tea party, he apparently sniffed opportunity. As described in a New York Times report, Russo positioned himself as a fundraiser for the Tea party activists, forming a California political action committee named Tea Party Express. Of the $5.2 million raised by Tea Party Express, $3 million of it passed through corporations operated by Russo and his wife, the Times said. Those corporations collected as payment for services rendered 13 percent of the total. And some of those funds were used for the kind of things Tea partiers are fed up with traditional politicians for doing, stays in casino hotels and other extravagances.
Who will seize the teapots is not the only issue foreshadowing doom of the Tea party movement, though. There’s an inherent inconsistency between the Tea party identity- collection of individuals seeking grass roots change by banding together- and the actions of the Tea party movement. The Tea party is pouring out-of-state funds into political races to facilitate its national agenda: $790,000 in Nevada, $588,000 in Alaska, $350,000 in Massachusetts, and $237,000 in Delaware. The concept of self-determination has already been vanquished by the promise of power.
The allure of power and a national platform is also leading Tea party candidates like Christine O’Donnell to redefine themselves into electable politicians. The primary was barely over when O’Donnell and Nevada Tea party candidate Sharon Angle scrubbed their websites, according to the Examiner, removing viewpoints that would be distasteful to mainstream Americans. O’Donnell She simultaneously took to the airwaves to disavow some of her highly controversial past public pronouncements like labeling condoms “anti-human.”
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who has drunk so much tea in this election cycle she probably hides a TravelJohnTM in her briefcase, advises Tea party candidates she supports to speak through FOX News.
The Tea party is starting to look startlingly like the same corrupted establishment it formed to dislodge.