From the Times:
The Tea Party might not be over, but it is increasingly clear that the election last month significantly weakened the once-surging movement, which nearly captured control of the through a potent combination of populism and fury.
Leading Congressional Republicans, though they remain far apart from President Obama, have embraced raising tax revenues in budget negotiations, repudiating a central tenet of the Tea Party. Even more telling, Tea Party activists in the middle of the country are skirting the fiscal showdown in Congress and turning to narrower issues, raising questions about whether the movement still represents a citizen groundswell to which attention must be paid.
Grass-roots leaders said this month that after losing any chance of repealing the national health care law, they would press states to “nullify” or ignore it. They also plan to focus on a two-decade-old United Nations resolution that they call a plot against property rights, and on “fraud” by local election boards that, some believe, let the Democrats steal the November vote.
But unlike the broader, galvanizing issues of health care and the size of the federal government that ignited the Tea Party, the new topics seem likely to bolster critics who portray the movement as a distraction to the Republican Party.
Distractions indeed. When a movement starts focusing on nullification, United Nations resolutions, and “stolen” elections, it is finished. That is what has happened to the Tea Party. They have made themselves irrelevant by their own extremism, and by the kind of internal disputes that tore apart Freedom Works. The Tea Party will be able to disrupt Republican primaries with extremist candidates, and they will undermine the GOP’s ability to win seats—and this goes for Texas too–but they will not be able to impact legislation. They’re done.