I think that it is well past time for my friends on the Left (and plenty to my Right) to take the Tea Party movmement more seriously. Stanley Fish makes the point very well yesterday in "Antaeus and the Tea Party:"
These developments have led Time magazine to conclude (in its Sept. 27 cover story) that we are seeing a “shaking up [of] the Republican party,” and columnist Mark Halperin follows suit in the same issue when he says that the Tea Party success “spells danger for [the Republican party’s] long term future.”
But this, I think, is the wrong conclusion and shows how far progressives will go to avoid looking directly at a phenomenon they have trouble believing in. It would be more accurate to say that the Republican party now sees where its future lies, and it will cozy up to the new kids on the block (as it has already done in the case of O’Donnell) and ride their coattails to a victory even larger than the one they have been looking forward to.
And the Democrats will be helping them by saying scathing and dismissive things about the Tea Party and its candidates.
Voting is a personal decision. People sometimes vote for unusual candidates. Sometimes, enough people vote for them that they get elected. Read all of Fish's post to understand the reference to mythology and his prescription for the right approach to take to defeat the Tea Party at the voting booth. For some of my own reflections on the Tea Party, read this.