I want to be careful how I say this becaue I don't want to cross over the line Jason has drawn. But I want to talk about the Tea Party -- not the validity of its policies (I have an opinion, but I understand this is not the place) but the impact its existance has on the Republican Party.
I'm a pretty strong Democrat and I went into the 2010 election in a dreadful mood. It seemed that all the political tides were running against us. The early projections I saw all suggested that the Republicans would take both the House and the Senate. But a funny thing happened -- the Tea Party saved our butt in the Senate.
Now, I understand the movement -- largely the economic frustration -- that spawned the Tea Party was a driving force behind the overall Republican success in 2010, but I also think the fact that the Tea Party was able to force at least a handful of extremely radical candidates down the throat of the Republican Party eventually saved the Democratic majority in the Senate. I'm especially thinking about the Senate seats in Nevada and Delaware that were all but given up for lost before O'Donnell and Angle won surprising primary victories and presented shaky Democratic candidates with iopponents they could beat.
I bring this up because I think a similar dynamic COULD be in play in this Presidential election. As much as I favor Obama, there's no doubt in my mind that he's vulnerable, unless the economy makes a major recovery in the next 11 months. But I believe that he could really be helped is the Tea Party or the extreme right wing of the Republican Party manages to force an extreme candidate on that party. I don't think Palin, Bachman or Perry has any real chance, but as a Democrat, I suspect somebody like one of those would be the easiest to beat. Romney might be fairly colorless, but I think he is the most electable Republican. The irony is that he might have a better chance to win the general election than he does to win the nomination.
The other wild card is Trump, who is now making noises about running as a third party candidate. Frankly, I'd be shocked if he follows through with that, but if he does, I think that hands Obama re-election on a silver platter.
What do you guys think (gain, in terms of the horse race, not the right or wrong of any candidate.
PS Moderations, go ahead and killl this post if you think it's over the line. Like others, I miss the PP board. I'd love to have a place to debate the relative merits of the Tea Party an the Occupy Wall Street Movements -- the similarities and the differences.