The other benefit of the Tea Party victories for Democrats is psychic. The White House and Democrats now hope that the Republican Party will be lured into the daily cycle of distractions they’ve been experiencing. The Dems can now enjoy reading stories of disappointed supporters, a party in disarray, and internal sniping. Sarah Palin fulfilled Democrats’ dreams when she treated Karl Rove like he was in diapers. Rove had criticized Palin-backed O’Donnell. “Well, bless [Karl Rove’s] heart,” she said on Fox. “We love our friends there in the machine, these expert politicos … who say the GOP nominee is not electable or that they’re not going to even try. Well, I say, ‘Buck up. Buck up.’ Competition is really good.”
Speaking of Palin: Her profile, if not influence, rises with the success of the Tea Party—and Democrats see that as another glimmer of hope. She has been a smashing success in support of the Tea Party, but now she and the Tea Party have to come out of the clubhouse and face voters in the general election. Palin has not gotten more popular among voters the more they’ve seen her. In the CBS poll, her favorability rating among all voters was 21 percent; 43 percent of voters view her unfavorably. Among Tea Party voters, Palin’s endorsement would make them 36 percent more likely to vote for a candidate and only 12 percent less likely to do so. In the general public, those numbers essentially flip (12 percent and 37 percent, respectively).