Without a doubt, allowing the Tea Party to become an identifiable movement was the biggest mistake Republicans have made in generations. Because first off, as I've said repeatedly, for as much as it's an anti-Obama movement; it's really a splinter group of Republicans. They're not a threat to Obama; they're a threat to each other.
These people have hated Obama and the Democrats since back when they hated Clinton and the Democrats; and that hatred goes back past Dukakis, Mondale, and Carter, all the way to when hippy protesters were destroying their country. Democrats have already taken all the heat these guys can give, and it's only getting easier. It was the Republican Establishment that needed to be worried, as the heat's just getting hotter for them.
So, for them to not only have allowed the movement to grow, but even encourage the movement was an epic blunder. It'd be like if Al Gore had embraced the Naderites in 2000, telling them how right they were about everything, and what a swell guy Ralph Nader was, because he represented America's true ideal; unlike himself, who wouldn't go nearly as far as Nader. And the only reason they didn't see this is because the Tea Partiers weren't yet represented by a tangible opponent, and since all the Tea Partiers were part of their long-time base, they naturally assumed this was just an energized faction of the base. Big mistake.
And yes, this is something I warned about over a year ago, back when the "tea parties" were just forming. Hindsight is 20-20, but Biobrain's predictions are the next best thing.
Taking Our Government Back
But it's not just the Republican Party that will suffer, as the Tea Party is bringing out the worst in themselves. Because they already had an over-inflated sense of importance and their insistence on tuning out anyone who disagrees only amplifies the echo chamber they live in. And these two features feed on each other, to make them believe that they're part of some massive movement of Real Americans, which liberally-biased pollsters ignore and which somehow never seem to materialize on election day.
And for as bad as their belief in a mythical Silent Majority crippled them, the smaller faction of Tea Partiers has only amplified it. Now, they're no longer part of a Republican Party which included Northeast liberals, or midwest moderates, or even full-blooded conservatives. No, the echo chamber now consists of ultra-conservatives, all out-doing themselves to impress the ever-shrinking ranks of their movement.
And so you end up with Messianic leaders like this:
And, wow. You'd think this guy just won a presidential election, while single-handedly sweeping his supporters into a majority of Congress. Dude, you just won a primary; not an actual election. Get a grip.
And that's exactly the sort of over-inflated importance I'm talking about. He thinks his one victory, in a Republican primary in a Republican state, is a "huge" mandate that will transform America; and that America's greatness hinges upon people supporting him. This isn't normal. This is outright delusion. And the more he thinks he's part of the leadership of some truly great movement, the more he'll throw caution to the wind and tell people what he thinks.
Back in the day, Republicans like Nixon and Reagan knew how to feed the crazies and soothe their precious egos, which were wounded by the idea that they're not better than everyone else. But over the years, the Republicans actually started believing this garbage; imagining that white rural people really were better than everyone else, and really represented a majority large enough to win every election. What was once a ruse to slice-off a chunk of a once-reliably Democratic group has now become the entire purpose of the party.
And now, the rubes have taken over the party, and imagine they're leading the pack of a giant movement, and that America's future rests solely on their shoulders. And the more they think everyone agrees with them, the less likely it is they can find people who actually do. At this point, these people are more than willing to shoot themselves in the foot by telling everyone what they really think.
And I support that completely. Good luck, Rand Paul. Make sure to talk your truths to power and when people tell you you're nuts, just get even nuttier. Looks like we may just get a southern Senate seat out of this.