In a blog posted on Daily Beast, Zachary Roth breaks down a series of lawsuits between Tea Party Patriots, the national umbrella organization for local tea party groups, and everyone else within the tea party community attempting to use the phrase “tea party patriot(s).” While his legal analysis is somewhat confusing, he underscores a key problem the Tea Party movement may never overcome.
You can’t fight the establishment from the bottom-up and at the same time be a well-funded, consolidated and organized national organization.
Who’s gonna be able to organize a network of groups that do not recognize a leader?
How can any one person or organize leverage the size and scope of the tea party constituents under these circumstances?
In evaluating the Tea Partiers, the pendulum of my thought process is now swinging back to the side of short-lived success. It seems I’ve gone back and forth several times on whether or not this movement is “for real.” But today was the first time I noticed an important distinction.
Ideological and socially the movement IS for real. There are many, many people from libertarians to moderates to conservatives to Republicans, and probably a few moderate Democrats, that believe in the basic ideas of the Tea Party movement.
Practically and logistically the movement is already doomed. We are seeing the realities of national media campaigns, speaking engagements, coordinating events, fund-raising and developing broad consistency are all taking their toll on the groups high-level attempted leaders and lower-level locals.
Unfortunately for them, I just don’t see that changing any time soon.
So, really the Tea Party is slowly but surely approaching a crossroads. After the 2010 mid-terms elections, we’ll see how success Tea Party-related candidates have been in winning local or state-wide elections. But with the prospective of 2012, the Republican party will be desperate for national consistency and organization.
How will they respond?
I think the current plan is that locals (I like the juxtaposition of using a union term) will all figure out a way to get their candidates elected and those candidates can all meet up in Washington and join together sorta by default. They’ll have a small Tea Party Party, of sorts. No banners. No coordinated pomp and circumstance. No national organization.
The pressure will come from the Palins, Limbaughs and Gingrichs. They see the potential of drawing from a larger “base” and do not have the ideological discipline which would stop them from courting the Tea Partiers. The pressure will be strong and it will be felt by all the locals. Join up. Consolidate our influence. Take over government.
It will be a tough choice. So few people choose the road less traveled once the media attention and potential gains are visible on the horizon. Can the Tea Party remain loosely organized, local groups of like-minded neighbors?
Considering election day is one month from today, we don’t have long to wait to find out.