As voting day approaches the reality of what a Tea Party victory might mean for America seems to be having a sobering effect on poll after poll, which sees the race tightening.
Last night, Sarah Palin weighed in to tell conservatives not to get too cocky just yet. Message: we don't have this in the bag.
She has reason to be cautious. Obviously the Tea Party political positions are extreme, but now voters are becoming aware they're the most extreme to have played out in a national election cycle in decades. For example:
Ohio Republican House of Representatives candidate Rich Iott glorifies Nazi S.S. officers atrocities by engaging in reenactments of them with his buddies at the weekend. Like most people I was amazed to hear that some Americans pursue such pastimes. Tomorrow does not belong to him, I'm guessing.
Rand Paul, remarkably, says he would not have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He also supports the elimination of the Department of Education. And he called Medicare "intergenerational welfare." Let's not even get started on Aqua Buddha.
Sharon Angle has said she opposes abortion in all cases, including those of rape and incest. She also said she would have voted against federal aid for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. The message appears to be that Angle doesn't have a bleeding heart, apparently it's made of stone.
Christine O'Donnell, a whirligig of bizarre quotes, has dabbled in witchcraft and says that masturbation violates God's plan and that AIDS education is "a platform for the homosexual community to recruit adolescents." For Christine, just talking about sex is the same as having it.
Joe Miller, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate believes that the minimum wage, hate crime laws, and the health care reform legislation are all unconstitutional. He wants to close down Social Security. He also rejects a woman's right to an abortion in cases of rape and incest. Ok, then.
New York's Carl Paladino, God help him, hasn't a prayer but lets look at his recent pronouncements. When he is not threatening to "take out" New York Post editors, he's bashing gays, or calling for welfare recipients to be forced into work camps (in converted prisons), where they will be taught personal hygiene. Charles Dickens would have loved him.
Despite all this whacked-out wingnuttery, I don't think it's just their obviously extreme positions that will dim the Tea Party's electoral chances, although they're bad enough. I think it will actually come down to the public's quiet but thorough distaste for their braying supporters.
The average Tea Party supporters lack of civility or even basic respect for their political opponents is now almost legendary: it has broken through every meet-up and demonstration and internet chat board in America.
There can't be anyone left in the nation who hasn't witnessed a Tea Party verbal drubbing first hand. It's been bad enough having to listen to them since Glenn Beck, the Koch brother and Fox News started this 'grass roots' movement in the first place, but to put them in power for years too? Here's a sample of what I'll call the Tea Party tone culled from Yahoo in the last ten minutes:
"Go to hell Libturds" "Die you liberal socialists!" "Demonazis are scum" "Dimocrats are the party of bailout"
Language like this convinces me that most Tea Party supporters are not ready for grade school never mind government. They're just way too extreme for America. I'll be surprised if the country actually votes for their selections.
And looking ahead, in years to come though, it won't just be their incivility and intolerance that turns moderates off. The ideological purity test they now insist on from their political candidates will just drive more and more impure Republicans from the party.
Eventually the Tea Party will be forced to discover what the rest of America already has - that they're not in touch with the mainstream.
UPDATE: Rand Paul Tea Party supporters stomp on a woman's head in Kentucky last night.