A.C. Kleinheider says she did, by turning it into a partisan appendage of the GOP:
Sarah Palin didn’t give a tea party speech last night. She gave a partisan Republican address. It was a purely political speech designed to position her for a presidential run in 2012 or 2016. Period. She wasn’t there to celebrate the organic nature of a movement she had nothing to do with creating. She was there to co-opt the name and claim the brand as hers. And she did.
The movement, that came to be officially recognized almost a year ago but whose roots go back further than that, has been snuffed out and replaced in the public mind. The movement that began as a people’s movement of angry independent, libertarians and conservatives will now be thought as the movement of people like Palin, Dick Armey, Judson Phillips, Mark Skoda, etc. Essentially, a wholly owned subsidiary of the “Official Conservative Movement” and the Republican Party.
My own view is that the relationship between tea party activists, the Republican Party, and the conservative movement is more complicated than this and I spell this out in the forthcoming issue of the print magazine. But in order to be successful, I think the tea party movement has to walk the fine line between eschewing political nihlism (acting as if partisan politics doesn’t matter at all) and unquestioning loyalty to Republicans. It’s a harder balance to maintain than it initially sounds.
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