PAUL HAMPTON: It’s time for Tea – to go

It looks increasingly likely the Tea Party will lose the Senate race, the race they must have. I’d like to say, “It’s been nice knowing you,” but it hasn’t.

A couple of week ago, the party that’s not a party bused in its national superstars for a high-noon showdown on the Biloxi Town Green.

I’ve seen bigger and livelier crowds at a yard sale.

Seems the shine is off state Sen. Chris McDaniel, the party’s only viable candidate. He’s behind in the polls, not drawing big crowds and is about to experience the full heft of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran’s bankroll. He should advise his family to avoid watching television for the next few weeks.

A party candidate took a beating in Texas that was so bad she was crowing in Biloxi about racking up 42 percent of the vote. A moral victory, I guess, even if she received only 36.4. Its Senate candidate, Steve Stockman, did even worse.

It seems America has awakened, to steal one of McDaniel’s catch phrases.

Yes, the party has come a long way from those heady days when it embraced Rick Santelli’s rant urging traders to dump their derivatives in the Chicago River to protest the bailout of the “losers” who were underwater on their mortgages.

Never mind that Santelli skittered away from his creation faster than McDaniel got off the stage at the Biloxi rally. The party has branched out, co-opting patriotism in the process, to include Agenda 21, climate science, and a snoozing American public in a vast conspiracy of boogeymen bent on shredding the Constitution. Still, they insist they are a happy bunch.

If, and it’s an increasingly large if, McDaniel pulls an upset, the Tea Party’s troubles won’t be over. They’ll have made no friends in the mainstream GOP and there’s an election next year. State Sens. Michael Watson, Angela Burks Hill, Tony Smith and Melanie Sojourner can expect a fight in South Mississippi. I don’t imagine even President Barack Obama could save them.

But even if they lose, I doubt they’ll go away.

As long as there are government-subsidized buildings to meet in and Biloxi City Council races to lose handily, there will be a Tea Party.

But they should stick to chamomile so this time they don’t wake the neighbors.