Lindsey Graham made some interesting comments on the Tea Party movement last week; they don't like his moderate streak and he returns the love right back. The fact that the money quote came from a NYT puff piece (he's seemingly now the MSM's favorite Republican, taking over the mantle from John McCain who has to list to the right to fend off a primary challenge) won't help matters.
The problem with the Tea Party, I think it’s just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country. It will die out.
He might be partly right on that point. What drives this movement is a distrust and dislike of big government; they know more what they are against. While there is a solid majority that thinks things have listed too far to the left, the TPers say "Hell, no!" while everyone else on the right says "No."
Will the Tea Party have legs? Not in its present form. The analogy that comes to mind is of the Prop-13 style tax revolts of the late 70s and early 80s. In their early going, they were somewhat reminiscent of the Tea Party in that they were a grass-roots dislike of government that was set to grow indefinitely.
However, there is little institutional memory of that movement around three decades later. Many of those tax-cut leaders were absorbed into the Republican Party, leaving a few small-government groups as standing lobbyists against government growth.
In large part, the group won, passing a lot of government-limit measures like Prop-13 and the Headlee Amendment in Michigan, then seeing Ronald Reagan run on a tax-cutting platform and getting most of it through Congress. Winning cut down most of their steam as a protest movement, and the Republicans absorbed a lot of that energy into their growing into a viable party on the congressional level.
The Tea Party is more national in scope, even though it does have a few of its favorite sons and daughters (Nikki Haley for one) running for governor. It is ire at Obama-administration excesses that drives things more than over-reaches at the state level; if that is taken away, it is likely that the TPers will lose steam and be absorbed into the new organizations that will evolve in the years to come. Then, if we see another round of liberal overreach in, say, the 2030s, we'll see yet another round of right-populist revolt once again.
Forgive me for making a Twilight analogy; I am not a fan, so don't go ragging down that line.
If I recall that universe correctly, the werewolves become more numerous when the vampires are on the rise. When there aren't as many vampires on the loose, the lycanthropic trait goes unto hibernation and fewer werewolves manifest themselves.
Today, we have Count Taxula back in the White House. Hence, the werewolves are back on the prowl as a counter-measure, going by the moniker of Tea Party this go round. Team Reagan won in 1980. Might Team Sarah be far behind?