With a record like this:

The Tea Party took a beating in 2012, with only four of the 16 Senate candidates backed by the movement winning on election night.
and more specifically, this:
FreedomWorks, which spent nearly $40 million in the 2012 cycle, had less than a one-in-four winning record on candidates it backed, according to data collected by the Sunlight Foundation.
It's no wonder that our favorite SuperPatriots™ are having a mid-life crisis.

Continuing the FAILmentum™ set in motion by Election 2012 and concurrently manifested by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus' call for its "full autopsy," we have this:

The Tea Party movement is reevaluating its priorities after a disappointing election cycle and conservative Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) abrupt departure from the Senate.

Former Rep. Dick Armey’s split last week from FreedomWorks — one of the movement’s most visible groups — also highlights ongoing tensions within the Tea Party.

Plastic tri-corner hats across the nation are melting when faced with this little discrepancy:
The challenge: striking a balance between working with the establishment and working to upend it.
Or more accurately, an irreconcilable conflict of purpose. How do they propose to resolve this little problem?

Let me guess......Repackaging?

Of course:

But activists involved at both the grassroots and more organized level said the movement’s future will hinge both on its ability to translate its small government ideals to people outside the Beltway[...]
And not just any repackaging:
Those plans include “translating those substantive [conservative] ideas into consumable 30-second ideas,” he said.
Yummy. Kinda like those little bite-sized Snickers you get trick-or-treating.

Maybe throw-in a little old-fashioned town hall screaming and shouting for good measure:

[The movement's future hinges on its ability to] translate its small government ideals to people outside the Beltway, and to engage more actively in the political process in the future.
More actively? Do we really need more of this guy?
No, thank you.

But now that Heritage Foundation™ has a prominent new employee, they're better positioned to distribute conservative/Republican propaganda:

DeMint’s move [to the Heritage Foundation] could help lead that messaging push.
After all, no one's better suited to take the nation's pulse on behalf of an organization that cares for every citizen their astroturf grassroots organization so passionately, says VP of Propaganda Communication, Mike Gonzalez:
“We like to think about how policies affect people outside of Washington. We need to help people connect the dots … and Sen. DeMint is someone who also thinks that way.”

“[DeMint] is obsessed with communicating the values of freedom, and I think we need to address those values to people outside of Washington,”

For your safety, "DeMint," "obsessed," and "freedom" should never be used in the same sentence.

Still, it's a bigger conundrum than even Kingmaker DeMint is able to make disappear with the snap of his fingers, so they'll continue looking for ideologically pure SuperPatriot™ candidates, and maybe even form a SuperPAC or two:

[One Tea-Party affiliated] group will be looking for candidates that “fit our philosophical criteria and have the capacity to win statewide, and possibly national, races.”
[Another group says,] “Having a PAC gives us more tools that we can use to fight, especially when it comes to express advocacy for or against a candidate”
That's all fine and dandy but...
But there remains a conflict at the very base of this effort to mainstream a movement built on anti-establishment sentiment: How do the leaders of the Tea Party, and its activists, work within establishment channels without becoming a part of what they see as the problem?
You can run, but you can't hide.
“The question is: Once you get [to the establishment] do you stay true to principle?”
Nope, but I'm sure they'll give it their best shot as they ride off into the sunset.


(My emphasis in all quotes)



Is the Tea Party heading out the door?

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