Salena Zito writes of the libertarian leanings of the Tea Party, but omits ways in which they’re not libertarian at all (anti-immigration, pro-voting restrictions). What do you get when you’re half-libertarian? You’re a GOP faction, but no more:
Evidence of the Tea Party‘s waning passion is no more apparent than in the case of Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown. The Republican rode in on the initial wave of Tea Party movement in a January 2010 special election to fill the late Ted Kennedy‘s seat, but he lost this year to Democrat and consumer darling Elizabeth Warren.
Only four of 16 Senate candidates backed by Tea Party organizations won in November.
Tea Party-backed House candidates fared better — among them, Republican Keith Rothfus of Sewickley, who upset Rep. Mark Critz, D-Johnstown, and Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., founder of the Tea Party Caucus, who narrowly won re-election. But her Florida counterpart, Rep. Allen West, conceded a messy race to Democrat Patrick Murphy.
“It‘s clear the Tea Party still has salience in American politics, or at least in the Republican Party,” said Sean Trende, senior elections analyst for RealClearPolitics. “It might be a faction — an unruly faction that‘s difficult to control — but it‘s still a faction at this point.”