The Republican Party establishment has withstood the tea-party revolution.
The tricorne-hat wearing, Gadsden-flag waving insurgents were nowhere near the Republican National Committee’s annual meeting of state chairman, which wrapped up at a posh resort here Saturday afternoon.
Instead, veteran party leaders — who wore business suits even in the 100-degree heat — reigned supreme.
While tea-party activists have won county chairmanships and seats on state central committees, few (if any) activists have clinched slots on the Republican Party’s 168-member governing committee. That’s not to say that tea-partiers have disappeared or that they won’t get their moment in the sun — but it may take years for them to climb the party ladder the same way as everyone else.
GOP elders sympathize with the movement’s ideas and want to channel whatever energy the decentralized groups offer for November. But when asked about the tea-party’s influence in interviews here, the movement was always spoken of in the third person and as one constituency in the larger Republican coalition, sort of like defense hawks or fiscal conservatives.
Many Republicans here said that tea-party activists now understand that things will run more smoothly if those with experience are in charge rather than those who put a premium on ideology over process.
“The important thing for any group in the party to understand…is that you need experience to govern,” said New Hampshire Republican Chairman Wayne MacDonald. “Everybody has to start somewhere. It’s just important they learn the mechanics of how the party operates…It doesn’t mean new ideas aren’t welcome.” (Screw you.)
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