Beginning of the End for the Tea Party Movement?

| Sat Jun. 12, 2010 5:09 PM EDT

The Washington Post's Amy Gardner reports that the tea party movement, under the strain of actual real-life politics, is starting to crack up:

The national tea party movement has never had a central organization or single leader; in fact, it has boasted the opposite. But Tuesday's primary results provided fresh evidence of the amorphous network's struggle to convert activist anger and energy into winning results. Frustrated and lacking agreement on what to do next, self-identified tea party leaders say the movement may be in danger of breaking apart before it ever really comes together.

...."No one owns the tea party brand, and that's kind of the problem," said Brendan Steinhauser, grass-roots director for FreedomWorks, which organizes tea party groups....Judson Phillips, founder of another national organization, Tea Party Nation, said some activists are starting to act like mainstream politicians. "It's supposed to be something other than politics as usual, but some of these folks are only looking out for themselves and not for the country."

....Even more demoralizing for activists, perhaps, is that disapproval of the tea party is at an all-time high, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The poll showed that 50 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of the movement, compared with 39 percent in March.

Well, that's just a damn shame, isn't it? Who could have predicted that a cranky, leaderless movement with no real goals and driven mostly by an inchoate sense of persecution, aggrievement, and Sarah Palin hero worship would eventually turn in on itself and splinter into a thousand embittered little pieces?

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