A columnist in Louisville's Courier-Journal asks: Is the Tea Party a legitimate political party?
I'd say no -- at least, not yet.
But I can see the possibility.
If supporters can...
* Take a positive approach -- along the lines of "Join us and we'll work together for change" instead of hateful comments and shouting down foes, as the "tea party" became known for early.
* Organize effectively and develop specific leaders who come across as reasonable to the public at large, those voters who don't pay that much attention to issues except near election time.
* Realize that although we may have too many federal government agencies, too little government could be just as bad. The government's inability to handle the BP oil spill is an example of how a poorly-run oversight agency, and a government which admits it has no expertise in handling such a situation, leads to real problems. It's an example of why government can't take a hands-off approach to big business. BP obviously can't handle this situation.
* Understand that to some, the thought of "state's rights" brings to mind racism -- as in Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul's pronouncement that businesses should have the right to exclude customers of certain backgrounds.
I can see the Tea Party becoming one of moderation -- rather than extremism, as some in the media rightfully or wrongfully portray it. It's important not to let extremists full of anger and/or unrealistic expectations take control. And with Republicans and Democrats canceling each other out, this may be the perfect time for the right group to stake out the middle ground.