So what does the Tea Party want this fall?
A repeat of 2010, or a repeat of 2012?
The Tea Party succeeded spectacularly in 2010.
Its principled enthusiasm put Republicans back in charge of the House of Representatives and, if the Tea Party hadn’t been so stupid in several races, it should have given the GOP control of the Senate.
In 2010 Tea Party favorites Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Mike Lee won primaries and went on to win senate seats in Florida, Kentucky and Utah.
But the Tea Party also won several other Republican primaries with candidates that turned out to be total embarrassments.
Remember Christine O’Donnell in Delaware?
She defeated U.S. Rep. Michael Castle in the GOP primary for an open Senate seat. Then she had to spend all fall explaining to voters why she was not a witch.
Castle would have won that seat in a walk. But O’Donnell was almost laughed out of the state, losing 56-40 and handing Democrats a Senate spot they should never have had.
In 2010 two other shaky Tea Party-backed primary victors, Sharron Angle in Nevada and Ken Buck in Colorado, suffered similar fates in the general election.
In 2012 it was the same dumb story — rousing Tea Party primary victories that thrilled conservative talk-show hosts in May but guaranteed GOP losses in the fall.
Yes, Ted Cruz won big in Texas. But only four of the 16 Senate candidates backed by the Tea Party won in the fall.
It wasn’t pretty in 2012.
After the Tea Party primaried GOP incumbent Sen. Dick Lugar of Indiana, its candidate Richard Mourdock went on to say some really stupid things about abortion and got his butt whipped in the fall, 50-44.
And of course who can forget the great Todd Akin, the Republican House member from Missouri who was going to defeat Sen. Claire McCaskill — until he started blathering about “legitimate rape” and his campaign tanked.