Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Tea Party vs. the GOP

Fired up after Scott Brown's win, Tea Party candidates across the country are mounting challenges to top Republican recruits. Does this help or hurt the GOP? For Republicans, the most encouraging thing about Scott Brown’s victory is the collaboration of the Tea Party movement with the orthodox GOP hierarchy it usually scorns. Now the Republicans—already expecting substantial gains in the House in the midterm elections—see taking control in November as a real possibility, with the gain of 40 seats they would need as attainable. The Tea Party movement does offer Republicans a real chance, but it also presents risks that are only beginning to surface. For one thing, without the special incentive of killing President Obama’s health-care legislation, it is hard to imagine much Tea Party enthusiasm for other candidates like Brown, whose record showed opposition to tax cuts and support for Massachusetts’ own universal health-care law. A more important dilemma: Instead of falling in behind GOP favorites, the Tea Partiers are increasingly running themselves in Republican primaries as insurgents more

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