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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Tea Party Disarray

I guess this is one of those glass-half-empty, glass-half-full situations for the Tea Party Movement. If it wants to maintain its reputation as an unbought, unbossed decentralized grassroots movement of citizen-amateurs, the shenanigans embroiling Tea Party groups in Iowa and New Hampshire over their Labor Day weekend plans could be just what the spin doctor ordered.
If, on the other hand, the Tea Folk treasure their image as a lean, mean fighting machine that stands athwart the political system, said shenanigans are not going to help.
In case you’ve missed it, Sarah Palin and her team have been engaged in a Keystone Cops struggle with local Tea Party organizers in Iowa over the big rally on Saturday she has long been scheduled to headline. Seems the big sticking point has been the invitation to speak, that has now been twice extended and then withdrawn, to fallen Tea Party favorite Christine O’Donnell. Palin, of course, played a role in making O’Donnell the Republican U.S. Senate nominee (and landslide general election loser) in 2010, but seems to have been put off by the wacky abstinence crusader’s recent disastrous book tour.
Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney got a rare Tea Party prop by being invited to headline an event sponsored by the nationally prominent Tea Party Express. But the very invitation created a rift between TPE and Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks, which has made the defeat of Romney in 2012 a major institutional objective.
Dave Weigel reports a Tea Party Express statement calling the FreedomWorks “protest” against Romney’s appearance a “stupid stunt” that “[h]elps feed the false impression that the tea party is a bunch of unreasonable people.”
Imagine that!

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