2012 GOP race: Has the Tea Party already lost?

Tea Partiers keep bouncing from one candidate to the next — and that "fickleness" might cost them the chance to pick the GOP nominee

A Tea Party rally outside the Capital earlier this year
(Image credit: JIM LO SCALZO/epa/Corbis)

Tea Partiers hoping to catapult a staunch fiscal conservative into the Republican presidential nomination have suffered a string of recent setbacks: Just this week, Chris Christie and Sarah Palin announced they won't jump into the race. Another Tea Party favorite, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, is sinking in the polls. The first primary contests are still three months away — but has the Tea Party already failed in its bid to pick the nominee?

Yes. Tea Partiers are being too fickle: We get it — the Tea Party wants "an authentic conservative" to be the one to challenge President Obama, says Glenn Wright at Examiner. But while Tea Partiers drift from Michele Bachmann to Perry and now to Herman Cain, their influence is waning. If they don't settle on one candidate, fast, "the fickleness of Tea Party support will end up costing the far Right any influence on choosing the Republican Party candidate."

"Tea Party impact on Republican Party presidential nomination is waning"

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But the Tea Party is still the key to a GOP victory: The Republican establishment is bound and determined to nominate Mitt Romney, says Ben Shapiro at Townhall, and it does seem "the stars are aligned" in his favor. The trouble is, Romney would lose the general election because "nobody in the conservative base is excited about him." Turnout is what wins elections. The GOP must recognize that it has "the greatest constitutional movement in a century" on its side, and line up behind a candidate the Tea Party base can live with.

"The Tea Party vs. the Establishment"

Face it — the Tea Party's moment has passed: The Tea Party just isn't the "prime mover" it was in the 2010 elections, says E.J. Dionne Jr. in The Washington Post. Tea Partiers have been in the dog house since Republican debate crowds cheered at the prospect of a patient being left to die after failing to buy health coverage. And their anti-tax message and constant government-bashing doesn't fly with the masses who want the wealthy to "bear a bigger share of the tax burden" — and want the government to create jobs.

"A week that transformed the 2012 story line"

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