The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

2012

December 29, 2012

The Worst Year in Washington: The Tea Party

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

At the heart of the schism was the question of whether this outsider movement should acclimate itself to the establishment it rebelled against a few years ago. Could the tea party come in from the cold and enjoy the warm embrace of acceptance, or at least tolerance, from the mainstream GOP? And if not, how could it survive without national leaders to help it become something more than an insurgent effort? In other words, the tea party needed a second act but had no director. And no one could even agree on what the script should be. The result? Chaos.

- - -

If the tea party was the bright, shiny object that the political world gazed at in amazement in 2010, by 2012 it looked like a toy that had been discarded as a child moved on to bigger and better things.

To be clear: All wasn't — and isn't — lost for the tea party. While 2012 was far from its best year, the movement again proved its ability to influence Republican primary fights. Can you imagine Herman Cain as a relevant force in the presidential race without the power of the tea party?

And yet, its success also showed its limitations in 2012. Mourdock won't be in the Senate next year. Nor Allen West in the House. A movement can become something bigger only if it understands the difference between winning a battle and winning a war — or between a moral victory and an actual one. The tea party won a few of the former in 2012 but almost none of the latter.

For failing even when it seemed to succeed, the tea party had the worst year in Washington. Congrats, or something.

Text Only
2012
  • 2012: The Valley in Review

    A look at the Valley's top stories each month in 2012. Compiled by Jim Birt and Stacy Hinck of The Daily Item.

    December 29, 2012

  • 2012: Voter ID law motivated Valley Dems

    A controversial Voter ID law, the splitting of the Valley into two congressional districts and Mitt Romney’s victories in all Valley counties in the race for the presidency highlighted a topsy-turvy year in Pennsylvania politics.

    December 29, 2012

  • Paterno_Joe Paterno family challenges Louis Freeh's conclusions

    STATE COLLEGE — Joe Paterno's family released its response to Penn State's report on the Jerry Sandusky scandal Sunday, attacking Louis Freeh's conclusion that the coach hid sex abuse allegations against his longtime assistant.

    February 11, 2013 1 Photo

  • Bad Year in Washington: Mitt Romney//

    Remember Mitt Romney? Tall guy, slightly awkward. Looks like a 1950s matinee idol.

    December 29, 2012

  • Bad Year in Washington: David Petraeus

    At the start of the year, retired Gen. David Petraeus was flying high. He was the director of the CIA and was often mentioned as a prospective presidential candidate.

    December 29, 2012

  • The Worst Year in Washington: The Tea Party

    The Gadsden flag, which flew proudly over the 2010 midterm elections, now lies in tatters — rent by internal disagreements, losses among its most visible standard-bearers and a growing sense that the tea party movement, which once looked like it could transform American politics, will soon be nothing more than a blip in the country's collective memory.

    December 29, 2012

  • Armstrong, Houston Among Notable Deaths of 2012//

    The first man on the moon, the first U.S. woman in space and the first black Federal Reserve member were among the notable deaths in 2012.

    December 29, 2012

  • The year in TV - from bad to worse

    Let’s get the bad news out of the way first as we recap the year in TV.

    December 29, 2012

  • Top music of 2012

     

    Maybe it was all the destruction from superstorm Sandy, the ugliness of the lengthy presidential campaign, or all the senseless killings, like the ones in Newtown, Conn., but so much of the music that people sought out in 2012 was fun and escapist.

    December 29, 2012

  • Top 10 books of 2012

    The year 2012 was memorable for the literary world in many ways.

    December 29, 2012

The Daily Marquee