Tea party losers show strength from sidelines

WASHINGTON — Mississippi tea party dreams were destroyed in June when state Sen. Chris McDaniel lost his Republican primary bid to unseat Sen. Thad Cochran. Yet if some of McDaniel’s most-outspoken contemporaries are any guide, he actually might have greater political influence as a loser….

…Many of the tea party movement’s most resonant — or at least loudest — voices these days are themselves Election Day losers who have packed up their ideas about government along with their campaign signs and headed to outside groups, radio programs or their own living rooms in an effort to influence campaigns, often making heaps of trouble for their own party.

The mother of this strategy is Sarah Palin, the failed vice presidential candidate who jettisoned her job as governor of Alaska in favor of a personal bully pulpit and a political-action committee to support conservative candidates, who largely covet her nod.

Chris Chocola, a former congressman from Indiana who is president of the conservative Club for Growth, has also mastered the strategy of disrupting legislation he finds unfavorable. Chocola left the House after his own failed re-election effort in 2006.

Yakking from the outside and doling out money is, of course, easier than producing legislation with a group of disparate political minds, and for some it is also more rewarding.

Columbus Dispatch / NYTimes