Rep. Michele Bachmann is the leader of the Tea Party -- literally…. [O]n the Capitol grounds 104 days before the midterm elections --- Tea Party activists and Republican officeholders set aside any pretense about the two groups being separate. They essentially consummated a merger: The activists allowed themselves to be co-opted by a political party, and the Republican leaders allowed themselves to become the faces of the movement.
There are only two ways for this to end: Either this represents the next step in the ongoing suicidal self-marginalization of the Republican Party into a white-racist Christian-talibanist rump incapable of maintaining even the pretense that it is a serious national party or this is the next step in the ongoing cultivation of an alliance between a demoralized and ignorant mob with a moneyed minority on its way to transforming a dysfunctional democracy into a totalitarian dictatorship. In case you're wondering, I'm betting fairly cheerfully on the former, but that doesn't make it a bad idea to be as clear as possible about what is actually afoot and what the stakes are.