Either Washington Post columnisst E.J. Dionne is delusional, or I am:
Is the Tea Party one of the most successful scams in American political history?
Before you dismiss the question, note that word "successful." Judge the Tea Party purely on the grounds of effectiveness and you have to admire how a very small group has shaken American political life and seized the microphone offered by the media, including the so-called liberal media.
But it's equally important to recognize that the Tea Party constitutes a sliver of opinion on the extreme end of politics receiving attention out of all proportion with its numbers.
If I'm delusional, it's because of the mind-numbing effects of being too optimistic. I tend to let my enthusiasm for the anti-government-growth movement carry me away into "the conservative/libertarian philosophy will rule for the next millenium" lunacy, just the way Democrats after the Obama win thought, less than two years ago, they would rule for the next generation. But you can't be as delusional as Dionne seems to be without completely ignoring the reality around you, or at least pretending to. You can't measure the depth and breadth of the growing distrust of Washington by merely playing math games with Tea Party numbers. Anyone who hasn't noticed the simmering anger of Americans who have been told for the last several years that their views on everything from illegal immigration to health care are ignorant or extreme just hasn't been paying attention.