E.J. Dionne Jr., in the Washington Post, on a “Tempest in a Very Small Teapot“:
Is the Tea Party one of the most successful scams in American political history?…
Do the math. For weeks now, our national political conversation has been driven by 86,441 voters and a margin of 5,548 votes. A bit of perspective: When John McCain lost in the 2008 presidential race, he received 59.9 million votes…
Even in larger states, the Tea Party’s triumphs were built on small shares of the electorate. Rand Paul received 206,986 votes in Kentucky, where there are more than 1 million registered Republicans and nearly 2.9 million registered voters. Sharron Angle won with 70,452 votes in Nevada, a state with more than 1 million registered voters.
Last April, a New York Times-CBS News poll found that 18 percent of Americans identified as supporters of the Tea Party movement, but slightly less than a fifth of these sympathizers said they had attended a Tea Party rally or meeting. That means just over 3 percent of Americans can be characterized as Tea Party activists. A more recent poll by Democracy Corps, just before Labor Day, found that 6 percent of voters said they had attended a Tea Party rally or meeting…
And where are the progressives? Sulking is not an alternative to organizing, and weary resignation is the first step toward capitulation. The Tea Party may be pulling a fast one on the country and the media. But if it has more audacity than everyone else, it will, I am sorry to say, deserve to get away with it.