What Now for the Tea Parties?

Will tea party movement conservatives be able to guide the Republican Party in the wake of a RINO being elected in Kennedy’s old seat? And what has this whole campaign done to the movement that tries to proclaim itself to be non-partisan? When the Republican Party needed them, the tea party movement fell into line. How can the movement proclaim its independence when it has just stumped for a Republican who is not even a conservative?

This special election has been a gift to the Republicans in their quest to co-opt the tea party. Surely it would be ironic if Ted Kennedy in death helped the Republican Party get back to electability. Yet Kennedy may have delivered lapsed Republicans back to the party, and split the tea party movement so it is no longer as big a threat to both parties.

Ultimately, if the tea party movement wants to see the House and the Senate spurn its liberal Democrats, they should hope for shenanigans. Voters have very short memories, and this vote for Brown may placate them. In victory, the tea party movement must continue to press its message of limited government, fiscal conservatism, and the free market.

They need to quickly return to the task at hand. Scott Brown’s election does not render the April 15 rallies less important. The movement needs to keep its eye and pressure on elected officials in D.C., and they also need to make sure Brown is seated as soon as possible.

It is up to the tea party movement regarding whether this will be merely a Pyrrhic victory in the long campaign against the socialist agenda. This is one small gain -- possibly even a temporary one if Brown votes as he did in Massachusetts -- in the long quest to return the U.S. back to its constitutional roots of prudent governance.