What has happened? I will use a holistic approach to frame the context. If reason and rationality are valued, an honest accounting of what actually happened must include, an acknowledgment of the validity of the frustration and anger of the original Tea Party rally attendees. What also must be acknowledged is the fact that fringe groups and individuals aligned themselves with these everyday, average people who attended the rallies. And still more must be acknowledged: main stream groups like the one run by Tom Delay, were providing assistance and guidance early on. A movement was in the making, that is true, but there is more to this than a ground up movement---much as there was more to the Obama movement early on in the primary campaign. I believe both involved the heavy use of astroturfing. (more on this later) What the Tea Party movement became, and the how it became what it has, is an interesting case study in political movements in this new age of constant noise and manipulation by the media. The media and others are using the latest technology available to meet our expectations of immediate gratification. Those who manipulate, know this and do/use it well. Take what I have observed as the faux GOP outrage and hysteria at Democrats using parliamentary rules to achieve ends. The GOP drove some people crazy doing the very same during the years they ruled---years they would use rules in ways that strained boundaries. The GOP has played a game with the Tea Party movement that is nothing more than a tool for regaining power. Don't take only my word for this: -David Frum News - The New York Times David Frum/American Enterprise Institute The GOP has been playing a game that looks to winning extra seats in Congress and elsewhere and not on of shaping "the most important piece of social legislation since the 1960s" which is what they were elected to do. For the past few decades the GOP has been all about power and the heck with their base constituencies and others. Party over Country.