But the teabaggers have also provided lots of bad press for the Republican party as well; from their seething low rent racism, to their mispelled signs, to their fundamental inability to understand the basic principles which they're shouting about, to the wealth of comedy and mockery they inspire, to the various creepy militia overtones, the calls for assassinations and intimidation of government officials, and weak secession threats. But throughout all these problems the GOP has stood tight with the Tea Party movement.
So it begs the question: what exactly would it take for the Republicans to look at the teabaggers and go "you've gone too far this time." Turns out the answer is "threaten their aspirations for higher office".
There are signs that tea party calls to repeal the 17th Amendment -- taking the selection of U.S. Senators out of the hands of voters and putting it in the hands of state governments -- are proving to be a bridge too far for Republican candidates desperate to steal some of the movement's mojo.So now we have our answer. Standing toe to toe with people as they rant about socialism and the analysis they've done of our Kenyan interloper's faked birth certificate: sane, normal behavior. Standing toe to toe with people who say that the people shouldn't elect Senators: beyond the pale.
The "Repeal The 17th" movement is a vocal part of the overall tea party structure. Supporters of the plan say that ending the public vote for Senators would give the states more power to protect their own interests in Washington (and of course, give all of us "more liberty" in the process.) As their process of "vetting" candidates, some tea party groups have required candidates to weigh in on the idea of repeal in questionnaires. And that's where the trouble starts.
Shame, because that's at least an idea that the teabaggers have. Sure, "Repeal the 17th" is a completely stupid idea and would result in even more corruption and screwing over of the people than the teabaggers think is going on now, but you can at least have that debate. It's at least a policy. "Nancy Pelosi is stealing the Earth's sunshine as part of a socialist conspiracy against nice days" and "Burrackobamuhizamooslumraaargh" isn't.
So c'mon GOP, don't run from the one idea (besides "Uhhhh... taxes... bad") that the teabaggers have had. Maybe this can finally help move our national debate from being wholly consumed with imaginary conspiracies and threats mixed with aggrieved persecution complexes to merely about debating intensely stupid ideas that would never work in a thousand years. It's progress.