The fervor with which tea partyers defend the caucus system and the Republican Party of Colorado after those machineries produced mediocre 2010 candidates is frankly shocking. The tea party is not a registered political party and has no corporate or political identity at the Colorado Secretary of State. It can’t open a bank account, officially sponsor a candidate for office, or officially sponsor ballot initiatives. It appears to be a political party up for grabs that the Republicans in Colorado have currently grabbed.
Tomorrow, it could be the Constitution Party or Democrat Party who grab them. They’re an easy mark because anyone can identify themselves as a tea party candidate. As an informal association the tea party can be shoe-horned into any camp. The grassroots folks have the best of intentions but everyone knows where the road paved with good intentions leads.
My experiences at tea party rallies in Washington (9/12/09) and Denver (4/15/09) were not occasions to celebrate the Republican Party. There was a common thread of critical thinking by speakers and attendees at those rallies that held both Republicans and Democrats responsible for the big government rear-ends sitting squarely on American citizens. That the tea party in Colorado has now turned into a cheerleader for the Republican Party, while coincidentally the Colorado Republican Party has produced no qualified candidates who give any indication they will reduce the burden of government at all levels, is a huge disconnect.
A tea party that cannot uphold candidates and ballot initiatives as standards to measure against will get whatever the powers-that-be choose to give them. And that’s the role of a tool.