Instapundit Glenn Harlan Reynolds writes in the Sunday Examiner:
As blogger Freeman Hunt wrote recently:"You want a big tent? It's fiscal conservatism. The people are overwhelmingly in favor of it.You offer that, you follow through on it, and you get the Republicans, the moderates, and a sizable chunk of disaffected Democrats."
Only to the likes of MSNBC's Keith Olbermann is support for limited government a species of nihilism. But Tea Partiers are, in fact, working on a platform, which they've called the Contract From America. Though the name may remind some of Newt Gingrich's Contract with America, this is something very different.
It's a set of ideas developed via an interactive Web site, where voting determines which elements are most important. And it's not a top-down contract consisting of promises made by leaders to the voters—it's more in the nature of a contract of employment from the voters, which politicians may choose to accept, or look for alternative employment.
This is basically a crowd-sourced party platform, with the smoke-filled rooms and convention logrolling taken out of the picture. More dis-intermediation. I'm guessing that the political class won't like it much, either.
I've got more reservations about the Tea Party movement than Reynolds, but I think he's basically right that so far, it has functioned differently than past factions. Scott Brown in Massachusetts was hardly a perfect candidate in terms of limited government (just one example: he voted for and still spoke sweetly of RomneyCare), but he was a pretty clear choice vis a vis the major-party alternative. Arguably, the Tea Party's limited government bona fides may be proven when the group puts a smaller-government Dem in over a statist Rep.