“The Tea Party movement is dead. It’s gone,” says Chris Littleton, the cofounder of the Ohio Liberty Council, a statewide coalition of Tea Party groups in Ohio. “I think largely the Tea Party is irrelevant in the primaries. They aren’t passionate about any of the candidates, and if they are passionate, they’re for Ron Paul.”…

One possible reason for the lack of consensus: Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum have each committed what most in the movement consider original sins against constitutional freedom or fiscal sanity. Gingrich and Romney both supported the TARP bank bailout in 2008, as well as individual mandates in health insurance years earlier. Santorum, the most socially conservative of the three, voted for the “Bridge to Nowhere,” among other massive earmarks, during his time in the Senate.

“No candidate is perfect,” Meckler says. “Candidates will make mistakes. I don’t want to see the movement associated with those kinds of mistakes. I support ideas, not people.”