The GOP has what some are calling a "Tea Party problem." While the Tea Party's ability to deliver conservative support can come in handy, Tea Partiers allegedly made racist remarks during Sunday's health-care protests — the sort of "bigotry" the GOP hoped it had left behind, and has publicly condemned. Is it time for Republicans to sever ties with the Tea Party — before it's too late? (Watch Keith Olbermann's comments on the Tea Party's "racism")

The GOP must distance itself now: "Tea partiers drive news," says Katie Connolly in Newsweek, "and have a proven ability to shift the terms of the debate to GOP-favored territory (see: death panels)." But if Republicans keep "encouraging the anger" of the (often "sadly misinformed") Tea Partiers, they'll pay a price when potentially divisive issues such as immigration reform come to a vote.
"Tea Party protests: Loud, mad and dangerous (for Republicans)"

Republicans need the Tea Party: "Republican strategy" on health care was to sit back and let the Tea Party "scare the bejesus out of lawmakers," says Bill Golden on Republicans United. Well, it didn't work. And now the Tea Party considers the GOP "largely impotent." If Republicans hope to win big in November, they'll have to realize that some of the "cooler heads" in the Tea Party "have the basis for a winning plan" and work with them.
"Monday morning quarterbacking"

The relationship is only benefiting Dems: It's worked to the Republicans' advantage that the media portrays the Tea Party as a "monolithic grassroots uprising," says William K. Wolfrum in Dagblog, when it's actually a "relatively small bunch of political extremists." And when swing voters increasingly see the "ugliness and violence" for themselves on the news, they'll be "turned off as hell." Advantage: Democrats.
"Tea Party, Birthers and anti-government types an asset for the Democratic Party"