I thought that this article over at American Thinker explains the destiny of the Tea Party movement very well.
"Populist Constitutionalism" - that's what the Tea Party is all about. Love and respect for the Constitution is driving the movement. Sharing the document, and then discussing the meaning, purpose, and the ideas of the Constitution, that is the process that is taking place as a result of this love and respect.
This discussion is what America needs right now. The Constitution (and a real federal government) is the set of principles that can unite all Americans (with the possible exception of the most radical of those on the left who want to see some kind of socialist central state.)
Social conservatives, fiscal conservatives (that might be liberal on some social issues), libertarians, and moderates can agree to disagree about issues like abortion, legalized drugs, gay marriage, etc. The Constitution teaches all of them that the resolution to these problems should be conducted on the state or community level, as opposed to the national, level.
These divergent groups agree that the federal government has, over the last several decades, stepped further and further outside of the bounds of the Constitution. Issues, including health care, cap and trade, and excessive regulation of businesses are outside of the specific powers granted to the federal government. More and more Americans are aware of this fact. And more and more Americans are sharing the promises and the premises of the Constitution with their friends and neighbors through Tea Parties being held across America. This is what I mean when I say that the Tea Party is "populist constitutionalism."
The Tea Party movement is not a one-issue (one-hit) wonder -- like prohibition. Nor is it a bunch of political zombies mesmerized by some charismatic leader like an Edwards, a Wallace, or a Perot.
The Tea Party does not need a charismatic leader. It is, essentially, an ongoing educational process -- that will be heard (one way or another) by tone deaf and constitutionally ignorant politicians. The Tea Party teaches a multitude of Americans what they are no longer (or "rarely," I suppose I should write) taught in our public schools and universities: America was, from the beginning, intended to be a grand experiment in freedom and local and state control.
Take Nevada and Utah as instances. The states border each other. Yet one state endorses legalized gambling, prostitution, and easy access to liquor. Right next door, teetotaling Utah frowns on all of these "immoral" practices.
That's the way the Founding Fathers wanted America to be. They knew that different people had different needs and values. They realized that they should be free to express those values legislatively on the state and community levels. If an American finds Nevada's laws too promiscuous (or Utah's laws too restrictive), the citizen can either work to change the laws of the particular state ... or the citizen can move across state lines.
There are, and will continue to be, arguments and dissension within the Tea Party. (The media is already noting this and eating it up.) But Americans are famous for contention and debate. No populist movement (unless it is focused on a single issue like prohibition) will be in agreement on every issue. Disputation and disagreement in the Tea Party is a sign of health and enthusiasm -- not a portent of dissolution.
Populist constitutionalism is the surest and clearest path to saving our republic. [...]As far as the Constitution goes, you can never have enough copies ... and we should never stop learning as much as we can about the greatest political document ever written.