Holy crap - the Tea Party's victories last night were simply astonishing. Astonishing in how absolutely crazy the candidates are. Right now, there seems to be race to out crazy each other on the Senate side. From O'Donnell's anti-masturbation stance to Angle's objections to Reid's linking to her website, crazy is out and about on the Right. Don't get me wrong, Alvin Greene, the Democratic candidate for Senate in South Carolina is also crazy, but he's not getting any institutional support (unlike the Republican candidates).
That said, to call these candidates conservative is a complete misnomer. Rather than have a philosophy of governance, the Tea Party candidates espouse positions without any ideology behind it. So cutting taxes, for instance, has become an ideology in and to itself, rather than a long term goal. It is policy without any philosophy behind it. And that's a shame because it removes any hope of compromise, because the policies aren't a means to an end, but an end to themselves. It is also where a Tea Partier differs from movement conservatives like my friend Bogart, who takes positions based upon an ideology of smaller government. If O'Donnell has her way, government will be anything but small (as it attempts to prevent masturbation).
But I suspect that there is something else at play. In the 2008 Election, the electorate chose the safe, establishment nominee of John McCain, rather than an insurgent like Huckabee. As a result, most of the die hard, grassroots Republicans were demoralized until McCain selected Sarah Palin. But, I get the feeling that there's a lot of leftover anger towards the GOP establishment over the Presidential election and over the last four years of the Bush Administration and the Tea Party is playing into that anger.
How this all plays out is anyone's guess, but I remain concerned.