Strategic Thinking By The Tea Party Movement

Grassroots conservatives show pragmatism in backing Scott Brown

Many liberal activists tend to characterize the Tea Party movement as a bunch of knuckle-dragging no-nothings with a penchant for ideological purity. Some Tea Party leaders fit the profile. The original Tea Party candidate, Doug Hoffman, who ran and lost in New York's 23rd district, was a mere facsimile of a credible politician. But there are signs that the Tea Party movement, always more heterogeneous than it has been portrayed, is thinking strategically. Writing in the Examiner, Mark Hemingway points out that Tea Parties in the Northeast have enthusiastically supported a pro-choicer who once posed for Cosmo.

Now -- Scott Brown has run as a conservative candidate, and not a moderate, and isn't terribly popular with the GOP establishment. That makes him all the more attractive to the anti-establishment factions in the TP movement. There are plenty of Tea Partiers who want to buck the two party system, and plenty more who wouldn't support a pro-choicer, but there seem to be more than a bucketful of them who want to leverage their energy into getting Republicans elected to Congress -- Republicans who can be counted on to block the Democratic Party's agenda. The CW in DC is that the Tea Party movement will wind up hurting the GOP in the long-run by pulling its core further to the right. Maybe so. In the short term, though, this robotic monolith is showing signs of sentience. Democrats might want to notice....