The test is coming. The energy and excitement that is and has been caused by, the Tea Party movement is gonna be tested in the coming months. It’s one thing for a group of folks to get mad and meet in the park. It’s another thing entirely for that group of people identify a leader, for that leader to be qualified, and move the group from loosely connected to organized force.
And the task is gonna be tough. For example, here in North Carolina, we have several Tea Party organizations and no indication that they are connected by anything stronger than name only:
There are dozens of mostly autonomous local groups with a combined membership in the thousands
At least 20 groups plan to hold “tax day” rallies this month – evidence of a loose confederation with “loosely assembled common goals,” said Nathan Jones, a 37-year-old Winston-Salem resident who is the primary organizer for the NC Tea Party
For sure there are signs of organization, but it’s going to take a strong leader, someone who can not only speak for the group but take it into a direction that allows it to grow. There are going to be moments when an organized Tea Party steps in a runs their own candidate. Others when that same organization is going to have to support their closet relative; the Republican Party. And dare I say, other times yet when they support the Democratic candidate. In other words, for this Tea Party to build on its early success, they are going to have to make moves that resonate with the very folks that power it:
- Common sense philosophies
- Stances on issues that are not representative of the extreme fringe
- A sense of fairness in representing the folks
It’s going to be tough. No doubt about it. But unless someone comes along to harness what I feel is a center-right population, reject the far Left and expel the far Right, this movement won’t amount to anything more than a good-news story for the Democrats.