With the “fiscal cliff” past, and the debate (hopefully) shifting towards spending rather than taxes, this ought to be the Tea Party’s moment. Yet the Tea Party, while still strong throughout the country and within the ranks of the GOP, lacks a national political leader to make the most of the emerging opportunity.
That fact was underlined by Michele Bachmann’s vote to re-elect Speaker John Boehner. By chance, hers was the 218th, and deciding, vote. The Speaker excluded her from leadership in the 112th Congress, and fellow Republicans abandoned her to fight for re-election in a new district. Yet she backed the man in charge.
There are some fresh Tea Party faces in Congress–Senator Ted Cruz foremost among them–but also some, like Allen West, who are no longer in Washington. Gov. Sarah Palin largely sat out the mess of the presidential election, and she has made few recent appearances. Who will deliver the Tea Party message?