|Jim DeMint Addresses the Masses. Image from source.|
This is a group that sprang up immediately after President Obama's inauguration, claiming that they were overtaxed, and that they were only responding to Obama's bad policies. Riiiight. Considering that he didn't really have any policies yet, the claim is rather dubious. The tea party started out loud and boisterous, not very organized, and kind of. . .Wal-Mart-ey? Quickly, political operatives got their tentacles into this amorphous group, and began to direct things from behind the scenes. The party split into factions, some more astro-turfy than others. And no matter what they did, the news media--the allegedly liberal mainstream media--gave them copious attention.
Liberal bloggers like me did it too, of course. The imagery was just to hilarious, the speeches too clueless, the whole spectacle too grody to ignore. Like a train crash or a Sarah Palin word salad speech, it was like catnip. Meanwhile other protests and gatherings, often much bigger, much less vague than the tea baggers, got scant attention from any quarter.
So, the tea party was magnified in importance, because it was camera ready. And now that all the pizazz has gone out of the party, they're still given too much attention. They always were, but now it's just getting stupid.