From Erick Erickson at The Resurgent, The Tea Party is Dead. Good Riddance
As the anger grew within the tea party activists, something vital to their cause never did — discernment. Some activists decided they could make a quick buck. Some consultants learned quickly they could profit off scamPACs and take advantage of tea party activists. The activists could never discern the good from the bad. Sometimes it was because of friendships, but not all the time. It started to become a real problem though and when some began calling out the con-artists and charlatans, they were branded as too Washington friendly. The grassroots tea party activists grew more cynical and distrustful.
The national tea party groups started fighting internally and with each other. The local groups felt like the national groups were of no help. That distrust, over the next few years, would poison the well. With a lack of trust in any group from Washington, no matter the bona fides of the organization, and with a serious lack of discernment, tea party activists finally took a go-it-alone approach in recruitment. They began finding the most socially maladjusted candidates to run for office — people who showed up at all the rallies and who, frankly, had been the volunteers most candidates left in the back of the office putting stamps on envelopes. Now, suddenly, they were the candidates because they had put in the sweat equity and were true believers. In still other cases, candidates sprang up, bought tables at tea party events, threw red meat to the crowd, and got endorsements without ever really believing what they were saying.
The common trend for revolutionary movements is to go astray. The American Revolution was the exception. The anger and passion for the status quo rarely translates into a better vision. Demons trump solutions. In the absence of solid principles in advance, faction and purity tests evolve with no consensus for what we are testing for. Infighting ensues and bitterness among comrades supplants the bitterness they once had for the demons that gave them birth. Too often the worst of the movement rise to the top, as the original believers become either desperate or exhausted.