Ghosts of the Tea Party
Who are the names that come to mind when you think about leaders of the Tea Party movement? Maybe Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Jim DeMint, Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann? Those were the most popular leaders listed by self-identified Tea Party activists in a 2010 Washington Post poll, at the height of the movement. You could add to that list a handful of other congressmen, especially outspoken Reps. Steve King, Allen West and Joe Walsh, among others.
And then you’d realize that every single one of them either lost their job or abandoned being a voice of the movement.
The 2012 election was devastating for the outspoken leaders in Congress. Allen West lost after a protracted battle, Joe Walsh was trounced by rising star Tammy Duckworth, and Ron Paul retired. Other, lesser-known members like Roscoe Barlett also lost. The two House Tea Party Caucus members who ran for the Senate last year both lost -- Reps. Denny Rehberg in Montana and Todd Akin in Missouri.
Meanwhile Jim DeMint, the most prominent Tea Party leader in the Senate, who funded primary challenges against more moderate Republicans,left the Senate a month after the election to head the Heritage Foundation.