Next week the relationship will have had its defining moment. Has the Tea Party earned a peck on the cheek, a lingering kiss, or an invitation inside by the Republicans? The GOP had its way with the baggers early on and now must wonder if changing its number is prudent.
“The increasingly powerful Tea Party is clearly anti-Cantor, claiming that he’s just another big-spending Main Street Republican.” – Peter Galuszka in the Washington Post (emphasis added)
The bloom will be off the rose. One thing is certain, there will be a hangover; the intoxicants have been on the cheap. Whether or not there are other gifts that keep on giving will carry a lingering doubt. The call to arms by any of a variety of shady “grassroots” groups is building to a Tuesday crescendo. The call to arms for these Johnny come lately “patriots” and constitutional fundamentalists to provide the leverage to redeem the Republic from Democratic tyranny has emboldened this novice political army. Beyond the headache, Republicans should anticipate a bothersome drip, drip, drip of expectations.
This motivated swing vote is going to deliver some races; maybe a key one or two, but not enough to signal they should be taken as serious partners. They are not increasingly powerful; more like a steady 5% of the electorate increasingly subject to manipulation by Republican surrogates; marionettes of the talk radio triumvirate and self-styled “independents.” Many of them discovered the constitution last year and turned zealots of liberty. There are none so zealous as converts, but their expectations of orthodoxy by their Republican standard bearers will only lead to disappointment. This makes for a bitter brew and you just don’t know when they might show up at the doorstep demanding their honor be defended.
Republicans have the wind at their backs in this election. They have done a masterful job of collecting information on those who identify themselves with tea party sympathies and folding them in with GOTV efforts through organizations that provide a layer of credible disassociation just in case they must distance themselves. Now they must decide if there will be another tete-a-tete and just what that might signal. They will likely hold their breath for a while; but they can almost count on a burning sensation when even Eric Cantor can’t measure up.