by Mary Sanchez
Reports of the death of the tea party are greatly exaggerated.
For about two years now, certain observers have been declaring the demise of this insurgent tendency within the
The news of late suggests that establishment Republicans are staging a counterinsurgency. Speaker of the House John Boehner has removed four tea party darlings in the House from prominent committee positions. It's punishment, pundits say, for their lack of loyalty to
Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, who will lose his place on the
The year is not ending very nicely for the tea party. Many of the candidates it backed lost on
Then there was the embarrassing fit Karl Rove threw on the set of
More recently, Dick Armey removed himself from FreedomWorks, the group he helped found, in a dispute that Politico reports was about a lieutenant's use of funds.
Now comes news that Sen. Jim DeMint, one of the most solid conservatives in that chamber, is stepping down.
This looks like disarray, but it is not the "End of the
So far, there is no sign of a shifting of the tectonic plates of the conservatism on which the tea party movement was built. Nor are there any indications that more moderate views will soon be prevailing in the
Republicans may be at a disadvantage in the current haggling over how to avoid the fiscal cliff, but movement conservatives haven't exactly thrown in the towel. Rove's Crossroads GPS has bought
DeMint may be leaving the
Remember that is was tea party activism that revived the
The tea party is not one organization; it's a gathering of ideological affinity groups around the nation, loosely affiliated. We should expect the movement to shift and morph as conditions and issues dictate. It is highly likely the groups will realign where they initially had more success: local and primary elections.
As long as tea party activists articulate a message that resonates with the grass roots of the right, they can expect to have money. Potentially lots of it. Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who spent more than
Adelson has begun suggesting a shift back toward the message of fiscal responsibility and smaller government, while leaving social issues alone. Will the tea party play along? Time will tell. But make no mistake: This movement still has a pulse.
Tea Party Down But Not Out | Politics
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