The Tea Party might not be over, but it is increasingly clear that the election last month significantly weakened the once-surging movement, which nearly captured control of the Republican Partythrough a potent combination of populism and fury.
Leading Congressional Republicans, though they remain far apart fromPresident Obama, have embraced raising tax revenues in budget negotiations, repudiating a central tenet of the Tea Party. Even more telling, Tea Party activists in the middle of the country are skirting the fiscal showdown in Congress and turning to narrower issues, raising questions about whether the movement still represents a citizen groundswell to which attention must be paid.
Grass-roots leaders said this month that after losing any chance of repealing the nationalhealth care law, they would press states to “nullify” or ignore it. They also plan to focus on a two-decade-old United Nations resolution that they call a plot against property rights, and on “fraud” by local election boards that, some believe, let the Democrats steal the November vote.