Judge Tea Party by the candidates they support

At various points the Tea Party has vaulted Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain into front-runner status. Not a very good batting average.

There’s a price to be paid when you confuse talk show hosts with leaders. Each of the aforementioned candidates was “legitimized” by talk radio and each, to varying degrees, represents the superficial, antagonistic zealotry that has consumed much of the conservative movement.

Their influence also led sober-minded, experienced candidates like Mitch Daniels and John Thune to sit out this election. They were too reasonable for the Tea Party and they knew it. Look no further than Jon Huntsman who, despite being regarded as the GOP’s best hope at beating Obama, trails the Neanderthal slate in all the polls.

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