As Chris Cillizza reported in today's Washington Post, data from a new Gallup poll suggests Tea Partiers are not the independent-minded, organic movement described by the mainstream media - rather, they are marching in lockstep with the Republican Party.
Joke's on the Tea Party
This might be good news for the GOP in the short term, but Tea Partiers are bound to be disappointed with their political patrons. No politician will be able to cater to their demands after campaign season.
The truth is that the Tea Party is being taken for a ride by GOP. Examples abound.
Republicans like Scott Brown cash in at the voting booth before turning their backs on the movement once in office. The man who rode to Congress as Joe America in a pick-up truck voted for Obama's jobs bill that added money to the deficit.
I'm not picking on Scott Brown. I'm glad he recognizes that the Tea Party's policy prescriptions will not make the country stronger and charted a different path.
The Tea Party can expect more of the same moving forward, no matter how many of their cheerleaders assume office. Nikki Haley is not going to blow up the IRS, Sarah Palin is not taking out the Department of Education and Mitt Romney is not deporting 30 million illegal immigrants. Governing is complicated - campaign promises are not.
Tea Party members will still pay taxes even if the GOP wins the House, Senate and White House. The next GOP president might even raise taxes like Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush before him or add to the deficit like George W. Bush. Unless Tea Partiers are going to med school or running hedge funds in their free time, odds are they will pay more taxes under a Republican president than under Barack Obama.
Speaking of which, it is ironic that Tea Partiers accuse Barack Obama of being all talk and no action. Mr. Obama is on his way to passing a strong financial reform bill and confirming the second Supreme Court justice of his first term. He has acted more boldly and racked up more legislative accomplishments in two years than any President in living memory. Perhaps the Tea Party should judge their representatives by a more stringent standard. Maybe then they would realize the joke is on them.
If the Republicans do well during the midterms and beyond their embrace of the Tea Party will be validated. Unfortunately for the Tea Party, the same will not hold true for them, as the GOP will spend little or no time pursuing their ill-advised ideas.
Even a strong cup of tea won't be able to cure that post-election hangover.