The Tea Party candidate is... Mitt Romney

The most establishment candidate in the race polls surprisingly well with the supposed insurgent movement

By Alex Pareene
Published March 24, 2011 7:45PM (EDT)
Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney

Hah, does "Tea Party" mean anything, at all, anymore? They are just Republicans, it turns out, and if this Pew poll (.pdf) is to be believed, they are not even particularly extreme Republicans. Mitt Romney -- staid, boring, elite, establishment candidate Mitt Romney, of Romneycare fame -- wins 24% of the self-declared Tea Party vote. Which is not much, but is still more than every other candidate polled. He beat Ron Paul! He beat Palin!

So they are not so much an insurgent movement outside or within the Republican party -- and they certainly do not represent a new libertarian populist fervor sweeping the nation -- they are just regular Republican voters who like the world's most regular Republican candidate.

Pawlenty's numbers are in the toilet. Poor Tim Pawlenty! He would be such a lovable loser if there was anything remotely lovable about him.

In other news, some political scientists have proven that the "Tea Parties" were more or less inconsequential in last year's elections.

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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