“The Republican Party establishment has withstood the tea-party revolution…
“While tea-party activists have won county chairmanships and seats on state central committees, few (if any) activists have clinched slots on the Republican Party’s 168-member governing committee. That’s not to say that tea-partiers have disappeared or that they won’t get their moment in the sun — but it may take years for them to climb the party ladder the same way as everyone else…
“Many Republicans here said that tea-party activists now understand that things will run more smoothly if those with experience are in charge rather than those who put a premium on ideology over process…
“‘We’ve all been through it. We just got there before they did,’ Crocker added. ‘It’s just learning that everybody who is in government is not evil, that we’ve got some really good people in government. Let’s don’t burn the barn down to get rid of the rats. Number two, there’s a way to get things done and a way where you can work hard and not get anything done.'”
“Texas Gov. Rick Perry this morning endorsed David Dewhurst for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison…
“‘David’s been a loyal supporter of mine, and I, in turn, am a loyal supporter of him and his task to become the next United States senator,” Perry told Dallas TV station KTVT.
“Perry’s endorsement — while not surprising — is a blow to the campaigns of [Ted] Cruz and James, who have been portraying themselves as the true conservative in the race and have knocked Dewhurst for being too moderate.”
“The activists working to oust centrist Republicans are often lumped together under the Tea Party heading, but in addition to scrappy protesters, they include such well-funded groups as FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth. This year, these groups are playing a more prominent role than the raucous Tea Party rallies prevalent in 2010.
“Leaders of the movement say that does not mean its influence is fading. ‘In 2009 and 2010, the effective thing to do was to vocally and publicly show your outrage through protest,’ according to Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots. ‘In the past year, a lot of groups have taken a step back and learned how to work the system.'”
“The tea party isn’t dead. It’s just looking down ballot. While fiscal conservatives remain split over the GOP presidential candidates, grassroots activists are coalescing around a stellar slate of limited-government candidates looking to reinforce and reenergize the right in Washington.
“And in the spirit of the modern-day tea party movement, no entrenched incumbent — Democrat or Republican — is safe…
“The 36-year, six-term [Orrin] Hatch was first elected in 1976 on an anti-entrenched incumbent platform. Hatch’s campaign line then against his opponent Frank Moss: ‘What do you call a Senator who’s served in office for 18 years? You call him home.’ Now, Hatch is clinging to power after almost four decades in government — and vainly attempting to claim the tea party mantle to stave off Liljenquist’s David vs. Goliath primary challenge…
“It’s time for Orrin Hatch to go.”
“‘Freedomworks, the group of Dick Armey, is gunning for you,’ Van Susteren informed Sen. Hatch, who seemed to mind only what he insisted were lies from the group. ‘They take a few dozen of my votes out of the better of 12,000 votes that I’ve cast, distort those votes and lie about them, direct lie about them.’ He argued they were only trying to raise money. ‘They take someone like myself who everybody knows and they trash Orrin Hatch and they raise a lot of money from conservatives all over the country who think what they’re saying is true.’ He concluded with a flourish, ‘they’re not people I have very much respect for. I don’t have any respect for them, in fact.’
“Van Susteren appeared perplexed at someone like Hatch receiving an attack from the right, though Sen. Hatch noted that he did, in fact, have Tea Party support. Freedomworks was a separate issue, a group who ‘have plush offices right down on Capitol Hill’ and are ‘in it for the money.’ ‘You can go down the list vote after vote after vote,’ he insisted, and find lies. As for Armey himself, Sen. Hatch was plain in his language. ‘I have no respect for Dick at this particular point,’ calling the group ‘radical libertarians’ but noting that ‘I’m libertarian in a lot of ways. But I’m not a radical.'”
“Some of Hatch’s attacks have been aimed directly at FreedomWorks, the grassroots group I’m the president of, which he insults as being ‘run by two libertarians who don’t really believe in the Republican Party.’ I’ve been called far worse than ‘libertarian,’ and I know FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey has too. It happens when you come from the Republican wing of the Republican Party. And we can take it.
“But when the senator turns his fire on his own constituents, everyday Americans who are disappointed in their elected official’s record, he’s gone too far.
“‘Some of their disciples here who are Utahn say they’re not Republicans but they are going to take over the Republican Party,’ Hatch has said. ‘We don’t want radicals to take over our party.’ Radicals? Isn’t that what Nancy Pelosi and President Obama call us?”
“There was a time when the tea party represented a hope for conservatives and for America. The tea party started out as a grassroots reaction to the liberalism of the new administration in Washington and its overreaching programs. The new movement focused on the bailout, cap-and-trade and Obamacare. Across the country, there was a kind of awakening among those who had been disconnected from the political process.
“Unfortunately, there were so many new volunteers, they burst the old pathways of activism, spreading in all directions. Existing conservative groups simply couldn’t organize them quickly enough and, without a leadership to provide focus, dozens of local warlords — each with his or her view of the world — began to call the shots.
“In place of the old Reagan coalition, we now have many tribes. The chiefs of these tribes do not have much political experience. Many didn’t even bother to vote before 2009 and most will tell you that they ‘woke up’ only after the election of President Obama. They don’t understand that democracy — especially representative democracy — requires patience and compromise. That’s the way a republic works.”
“Viewed broadly, it appears that the tea party may well be a victim of its own success. In 2010, it proved its powers — beating establishment-backed candidates in Senate races in Delaware, Colorado, Florida, Utah and Alaska to name a few. The result? Candidates are far more wary of crossing the tea party this time around, moving to embrace it rather than stare it down.
“‘The reason for the appearance of less tea party success is that the establishment candidates have moved markedly to the right this cycle,’ Lerner said. ‘As the establishment candidates have moved to the right, there is less of a gap for tea party candidates to exploit.’…
“The question then is what the tea party does for an encore. Having moved the GOP — and the broader debate on fiscal issues — further to the ideological right, does it re-incorporate itself into the Republican Party? Disappear entirely? Or find another cause such as fiscal austerity around which to rally?”
“A lot of Republicans in Congress want to cooperate, they know better, but they are in the thralls of this reign of terror from the far right that has dragged this party to the right.”