I hope the Tea Party leader who only speaks in quips and one liners (Sarah Palin) is the Republican nominee for president in 2012. If I weren’t a patriotic American, I would work and volunteer my butt off to make that happen. As a Democrat I see that Sarah Palin, who I admit is an attractive and charming political figure (easy on the eyes as well), has political talent, is likable, and definitely can inspire people.
But put her in a situation where she has to think for herself and doesn’t have prepared material, as in an interview or a debate, and she’s a disaster for the Republican Party. The Tea Party has served the Republican Party well as far as reenergizing the Republican base, which has been asleep thanks to George W. Bush because of the borrowing and spending of his administration. But these are short-term gains and the Tea Party hurts Republicans in the long term as they move farther right with Independents, who tend to be fiscally conservative but liberal or moderate on social issues.
So as a Democrat, I hope the Tea Party and Republicans stay on the course that they are on. But as an American, I hope the Republican Party gets back to Goldwater/Reagan conservative libertarianism, meaning government out of our wallets and bedrooms and off our backs. It’s good for them and the country that they’ve returned to their fiscal conservatism, but for them to be a major party down the road, they need to get back to their social libertarianism or moderation.
And hopefully the Christian Right will splinter off and form its own third party along with the Tea Party, which is even farther to the right of traditional Republicans on fiscal policy. As I see it, the Tea Party has served a useful role in reminding Americans of the need for fiscal responsibility in America. But to me they are just the Christian Right of the 1990s with an economic theme, because they’ve realized that their social or theocratic conservatism scares independent voters and they’ve lost almost all the battles in the Culture War.