The Tea Party made more headlines with last week’s primary. Tea Party candidates defeated regular Republicans in two states and both sides of the political aisle, Democrats and Republicans, that is, are feeling the heat as the grass roots party scores wins.

“The New York Times” calls the Tea Party “a new fringe in American politics.” Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Colin Powell said last week that the party isn’t clear on specific issues, a weakness that could turn the movement into what Powell called “a fad.”

As political pronouncements go, that’s pretty tame. But the fact is, Tea Party activists are enthusiastic, boisterous, and they like to rally. Will their movement bring changes in November?

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Having witnessed a rally for the Tea Party....I find it objectionable that they use the name "Tea Party". Of course, they wish to associate themselves with the Sons of Liberty and other founders of this country. However, they are not in the same league intellectually, morally or pragmatically; certainly not in any sense of loyalty to the principals that our Founders laid down. What they do have is zeal.

 
 

It doesn't matter to an educated voter who the official party is. Study the candidates and their message and vote when you have the proper background.

 
 

Here here!!! Well said sir...or madam.

 
 

It does matter what the official party is, and sometimes very much.

An example among many that might be offered: In 1972 the Republicans secretly contributed funds to promote the American Independent Party and its prospects, Nixon reasoning that many Wallace voters would otherwise have voted Democratic. Nixon's victory turned out to be so large that the chicanery didn't much matter, but in a tight election voting for a fringe party, no matter how appealing the background of its candidate, may well have unintended consequences.

In the 2010 off-year election, independents are more likely to be frightened by the positions of Tea Party nominees, than they would have been by GOP regulars. They'll either stay at home, or vote Democratic, either way a net loss for conservatives.

Tea Party congressmen will either have to caucus with the GOP, or isolate themselves as a tiny, irrelevant faction. Either way, the Tea Party voter is shortchanged.

 
 

Millard Fillmore had his "Know Nothing Party," Strom Thurmond his "Dixiecrats," George Wallace his "American Independent Party," and today's Tea Party people may profit by their example.

 
 

I wonder about the Tea Party’s lasting effectiveness. Many people talk about its lack of central leadership and whether the party will be able to sustain its power. You can read thousands of books on leadership, we study business models and their central leadership and plans, and we study wars and the central leadership and other but we don’t have much to follow on informal leadership. Even though the Tea Party is not my political party, I think it will be an interesting model to follow this year and into 2012.

 
 

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