Republicans to Activists: Don't Throw the Tea Overboard


If you're a liberal wishing the Tea Partiers would leave the GOP, split the vote, and hand the Democrats some extra victories in November, Dave Weigel has some disappointing news for you:

Tea Party activists aren't acting the part. On the contrary, any attempt to break away and split conservative votes for the midterms is met with several megatons of force, from the courts to the Fox News studio….

When [Virginia independent congressional candidate] Jeff Clark made his debut appearance before Tea Partiers, he was roundly heckled for giving Perriello a potentially easier path to re-election. In New York, rather than being rewarded for running a good race and looking for a rematch, Tea Party favorite Doug Hoffman has turned to raising chickens and is being brusquely shoved aside for a newer, prime-time-readier candidate. The Tea Party, far from being disgruntled, takes after third party insurgents like blue crabs take after the one smartass who tries to evade the barrel.

The full article is here. The Libertarian Party gets a shoutout at the end of the story:

"I was registered Libertarian," shrugs [Nevada-based Tea Party activist] Eric Odom. "I voted for Bob Barr in 2008. So that third-party option has already been tried. Doing that doesn't outweigh the benefits of beating Democrats."

Discuss: Does this mean the GOP has co-opted the Tea Parties, the Tea Parties are taking over the GOP, or some complicated combination of the two?