Does the Tea Party movement have political muscle?
The question's been asked many times by reporters and pundits, applying an unusual degree of skepticism, even for the media. Most were dismissive of the movement from the start, giving it snide or scant coverage. And when it refused to just fade away, as per their expectations and desires, they did their best to relegate it to the lunatic fringe by highlighting oddball participants or hinting at racist tendencies. But still the Tea Party rolls on, crushing media naysayers in its path, and demonstrating, without a doubt, that it's one of the most potent (and truly grassroots) political movements of recent times.
I hope the results of yesterday's election -- which had Tea Party picks Dan Maes and Ken Buck surging to wins over establishment Republicans -- will finally put to rest the question of whether the Tea Party has "pull." At least in Colorado, it's officially a force to be reckoned with, which should be as alarming for Reaganfeller Republicans -- those who talk like Ronald Reagan but think and act like Nelson Rockefeller -- as it is for liberal Democrats.
Whether the Party has enough horsepower to carry its candidates to wins in the general election remains to be seen. And it's true that Maes's razor thin win over Scott McInnis undoubtedly was helped by the latter's glaring ethics problems. But these caveats can't detract from this clear moment of promise for the Tea Party movement in Colorado. Reporters and columnists who continue to discount or dismiss it, do so at the peril of ending up with even more egg on their faces.
Party on, patriots.