The 2010 mid-term election was the first test of the tea party on a national stage, and the overall result must be encouraging.Â A large part of the swing to the conservatives was engineered through and by the tea party. As a result they will remain a political force in the conservative movement to be reckoned with going into the 2012 presidential race.
In 2010, the main beneficiaries of the tea party movement have been the Republicans in regaining control of the House of Representatives. Now the tea party has demanded its pound of flesh: elected Republicans must keep their campaign promises or face defeat in their next primaries.
In the longer term, it is Sarah Palin who gains from the tea partyâ€™s successes. She has aligned herself very closely with the tea party movement, and this will stand her in good stead when she seeks the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.
Palin has been unfairly blamed for the failure of John McCainâ€™s presidential bid in 2008. It is true that she put her foot wrong in a number of minor ways, but her selection as running mate revitalized a flagging campaign. And she was not allowed to campaign freely on her own merits.Â Since then, she has shown herself to be a very effective campaigner.
Now with the showing of â€œSara Palinâ€™s Alaskaâ€ on TLC, we are seeing her in a different light. The program is non-political, but it nevertheless works as an effective promotion of Palin, softening her image and filling out the human aspects.
The old Republican guard, if there is still an effective one, may pale at the idea of Palin running, but as it stands at present, she must be considered the front-runner.