We all know that the Tea Party is not a monolithic national movement. It is divided between three major organizations, in which thousands of local Tea Parties enjoy considerable autonomy. It is difficult to get such a diverse movement to coalesce nationally around a single platform or candidate (though it is possible at the state level, as Ohio's Tea Parties, through the Ohio Liberty Council, demonstrated with Issue 3's nullification of mandatory health insurance last November).
Two years ago, I warned the Tea Party movement about getting into bed with the Republican Party. In the first post, I asserted that the Tennessee Tea Party was committing suicide by inviting Sarah Palin to be a keynote speaker. In the second, I quoted Chuck Baldwin, whose warning has proven to be prophetic, right down to the personalities:
You are being infiltrated. You are being compromised. You are being neutered. Stick to your principles. Stick with the Constitution. Keep opposing unconstitutional, preemptive wars. Keep calling for the abolition of the Federal Reserve. Keep fighting for less taxes, reduced federal spending, and states' rights...At the time, people worried about Tea Parties being too narrow and ideological. They proclaimed that their basic issue was restoring a federal government that obeyed the Constitution. Constitutional government can allow a wide diversity of opinion on policy issues. But no movement can survive a compromise of principle.
Be wary of people such as Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. You don't need "big name" celebrities to give you credibility. As Samson's strength depended on keeping his hair uncut, your strength lies in keeping your principles intact. And unless you want to wind up like the Republican freshmen in 1994, avoid Newt Gingrich like the plague!
From the beginning the Tea Parties have been divided on the issue of American military involvement abroad. Given the militaristic spirit that pervades our country, it is possible that a strong antiwar position, following the examples of George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower, would greatly marginalize the Tea Parties. However as the Jesus said (long before Abraham Lincoln), "A house divided against itself cannot stand." (Mark 3:25)
It is hypocritical to support limited federal government while calling for military adventures around the world. If the Tea Parties cannot reconcile this conflict, they will not have any impact in this year's elections.