The American Prospect
...with the Iowa caucus just six weeks away, it appears that there will be no grand battle between the establishment and the insurgents, the old guard and the new. There is no Tea Party candidate. Or more properly, there has been one Tea Party candidate after another; the party base's fickle affections have left Romney trudging merrily along, tortoise-style, as one far-right hare after another sprints a few yards, then falls exhausted to the ground. Besides Romney, this race has been led at one time or another by Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and now Newt Gingrich. Each of those other candidates has become the Tea Party flavor of the moment, only to flame out spectacularly when they were revealed to be alarmingly radical, grossly incompetent, shockingly ignorant, or all three. In other words, the Tea Party has not exactly been picking winners. Which could well mean their influence over the GOP is beginning to wind down.
I will admit that the visual of their little bunny hearts exploding is kinda heartwarming. I was hoping for a "grand battle" though. One where the lone survivor died on the way to the battalion aid station.
When it's over—whoever wins—the Tea Party will no longer seem like such a dangerous beast that must be appeased. Republicans will look at the damage the Tea Party has done to the GOP's image—the debt-ceiling debacle, the promotion of ridiculous candidates like Bachmann and Cain—and be rather more hesitant to appease them. In fact, the best thing that could happen to them would be for Barack Obama to be re-elected. After all, the Tea Party is fundamentally a movement of opposition, all anger and resentment. It has shown itself quite clearly to have no interest in governing. And so, the Tea Party has a hard and fast expiration date: the first day of the next Republican presidency. On that day, it will become little more than a memory—one of a fascinating and significant episode in our political history, but a memory nonetheless.
A memory best consigned back to the bottle of brain bleach.