Tea Partiers United Behind Not Having a Candidate

| Sat Mar. 27, 2010 1:27 PM EDT

With two hours to go before Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber et al. arrive, the place is packed. Cars are scattered over a dozen or so lots and attendees are trekking overland through a climate that roughly resembles Mordor, if Mordor were pockmarked with potentially fatal abandoned mines. It's a free-for-all here; it took 25 minutes to drive 30 feet from the highway shoulder on account of the unregulated, lanes-be-damned traffic chaos (you do the emissions math). Irate motorists are voicing their discontent. Look people, it's called liberty; deal with it.

In keeping with the "lost in the desert" theme, the Tea Partiers I've spoken with remain united in opposition but totally scattershot in how to set things right. One man suggests Paul Ryan. Another Scott Brown. And of course, Governor Palin. To them, the movement’s apparent contradictions aren't flaws; they're signs of free will. I asked a supporter of J.D. Hayworth, the talk show host who's challenging John McCain from the right (an increasingly difficult task) in Arizona's GOP primary, whether he was dismayed that his other hero, Palin, had endorsed the traitor McCain.

"We don’t march in lockstep," he responded. "We're not Democrats."

(Read part I, II, III)