Has enough time passed yet to take an honest look at the overall results of the November election, from a tea party perspective?
Considering that we have a two party system at this point, I buy into the philosophy that we are conservatives in the primary and Republicans in the general. Now, should the Republican Party blow this second chance they've been given, and there are many who believe they will, this could very well be the catalyst that launches a meaningful third party in this country.
Until then, the hard truth is that the Republican Party offers the best vehicle to advance the conservative cause. Now there are exceptions to this rule, such as Mike Castle in Delaware or Lisa Murkowski in Alaska. The old guard GOP is quick to point out that the tea party cost the Republicans several seats in the Senate, pointing to these races.
Personally, I'm firmly in the Jim Demint (R-SC) camp, who said, "I’ve been in the majority with Republicans who didn’t have principles and we embarrassed ourselves and lost credibility in front of the country. Frankly, I’m at a point where I’d rather lose fighting for the right cause then win fighting for the wrong cause."
Ultimately, we are no worse off with a Democrat Senator from Delaware than we would have been had Mike Castle been elected, just as we are no better off with the 'so called' Republican Murkowski in Alaska.
Which brings us back to the tea party. Surprisingly, there are still far too many tea partiers who stand by the principle that the movement should not endorse candidates. Make no mistake about it, this movement has changed the political landscape in America, however, if it is to remain a deciding factor, then we must learn from our experiences and apply that knowledge to future efforts.
By not endorsing candidates and, thereby, sitting out the primary, we are giving the Republican party a distinct advantage in choosing who will be the candidate. And, as we have seen time and again, the Party does not always choose the right candidate - pun intended. And for those who still buy into the idea that the Party does not 'pick' the candidates, you're only fooling yourself.
Another valuable lesson from the 2010 Election is that the tea party must coalesce it's efforts around a single candidate in the primary. There's simply no way the tea party can compete with the political machine when it's divided in it's mission. Of course, that's an easy decision to make when you have a Rand Paul in the group. If you don't, your odds for success are greatly diminished.
Which brings us to the following article about recruiting, vetting and training candidates. Yet, what is the point if the tea party is then not going to support that candidate throughout the election process?
(One word of caution, the article quotes Tea Party Nation's Judson Phillips extensively. Phillips is no more a spokesman for the tea party than you or me. He makes some good points, however, he also states that the "top three" Senate candidates lost, completely overlooking Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, which seriously questions his credibility. He also suggests that abortion be added to the tea party agenda, which is a very contentious topic that many will disagree with. Ultimately, electing true conservative candidates will advance the entire conservative agenda.)