In 2010 the tea party showed impressive strength with its anti-establishment, anti-big spending message. Senators and congressmen who pledged allegiance to those aims rode into power and for at a least a millisecond, the GOP establishment was worried. But Mitt Romney’s $15 million masterful takedown of Newt Gingrich, shows that tea party cred can only get you so far. Gingrich rode to victory in South Carolina with solid tea party support but even tea partiers with reservations about Romney abandoned him in Florida. One major lesson of this campaign stands out– without organization, money, and a sophisticated media strategy, the tea party will enjoy only sporadic political success. They may be able to win a House seat in North Carolina but winning a presidential primary requires a breadth of support and financing that tea party groups have thus far been unable to muster.

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