Where the tea parties should go from here

My advice to them is to keep their distance from any single party and instead influence both parties on debt, spending and an over-reaching federal government. Allowing third-party movements to co-opt the tea partiers’ good name, which is happening in Nevada, will only serve to elect opponents of the tea party philosophy of low-taxes and fiscal restraint. It could also discredit the tea party movement.

A small fraction of the tea partiers’ leadership are ambitious individuals who haven’t been able to hold office in either the GOP or Democratic Party. Some are from fringe groups like the John Birch Society or the remnants of the LaRouchies. Others see the tea party movement as a recruiting pool for volunteers for Ron Paul’s next presidential bid.

If tea party groups are to maximize their influence on policy, they must now begin the difficult task of disassociating themselves from cranks and conspiracy nuts. This includes 9/11 deniers, “birthers” who insist Barack Obama was not born in the U.S., and militia supporters espousing something vaguely close to armed rebellion.