With the midterm elections just two weeks away, Tea Party groups are launching a nationwide effort to fire up their supporters and get their favored candidates elected. The small-government protesters have already helped fiscally conservative outsiders win stunning upsets in several GOP primaries and have high hopes for Nov. 2. But once the dust settles after the midterms, can the Tea Party stand the test of time? (Watch a Russia Today report about the Tea Party's identity crisis)
The Tea Party will endure well beyond the midterms: The "mad-as-hell crowd" won't simmer down after Election Day, says Frank Rich in The New York Times. "If Tea Party candidates triumph, they'll be emboldened. If they lose, the anger and bitterness will grow." The Tea Party will continue until we have a "solid economic recovery." The Democrats have been unable to create the conditions for that, and the "cynics" leading the GOP "haven't even tried."
"The rage won't end on Election Day"
Tea Partiers will quickly implode: There will be a "significant Tea Party caucus" after these elections, says Tim Rutten in the Los Angeles Times, but its "internal contradictions" will quickly tear it apart. Tea Partiers share the "vocabulary of discontent," but not a coherent political agenda. They view politics as corrupt and compromise as "an abandonment of principle," so this "coalition of discontent" won't survive even "a single Congress."
"This brew can't last"
They have already redefined American conservatism: "The Tea Party movement's impact will not end on election day," says Jennifer Rubin in Commentary. Thanks to the protest movement's energy, "the right will be forced to 'man up' to the task of re-establishing the principles of limited government." And the left will have to figure out a new way to sell its "statist agenda."
"Tea Party rocks the Right and the Left"