The Tea Party rose up in anger over profligate Washington spending, and a new government intrusion into health care in the form of Obamacare.And in the first Republican presidential election since the Tea Party sprang into existence, the leading candidates are a profligate Washington insider, and the man who helped to create Obamacare by launching a similar program in his own state.
The Tea Party institutions that have been erected in the past few years simply could not produce a candidate that united all Tea Party members.
And the three that volunteered for the Tea Party role all had serious problems.
Michelle Bachmann was not taken seriously by other candidates, her personality seemed to grate on moderates.
Herman Cain had the requisite “outsider” credibility and a winning personality, but not much else.
Rick Perry had the Texas macho and the good lucks, but ran an embarrassingly inept campaign. He also had a history of cronyism that would normally dismay Tea Partiers.
This is a pretty devastating result for the Tea Party. Mitt Romney was an especially vulnerable front-runner to a Tea Party challenger. And the chance to successfully nominate someone from your movement doesn’t come along often.
It’s hard to come to any other conclusion han that the Tea Party blew 2012.
The best possible result for them now would be a Romney nomination and an Obama re-election. The “Establishment” candidate would bear the responsibility for the loss, and a second Obama term would provide opportunities for the Tea Party movement to regroup.