Decaffeinated: Tea Party movement loses steam in America, and Republicans struggle to find their savior

James Dyer

On Wednesday, Oct. 5, another one of God’s children departed from this world and was lovingly accepted into paradise. And no, I’m not talking about Steve Jobs.

With Sarah Palin’s announcement on Wednesday that she was dodging out of the presidential race, the Tea Party Express has officially ascended from this world and joined the everlasting father (the eternal zombie ghost of Ronald Reagan) in the afterlife. The popular conservative movement is survived by two failing presidential candidates and a few truckloads of angry white conservatives, who will now be forced to find a new mid life crisis activity.

Okay, so maybe an obituary is a bit dramatic. But Tea Party supported candidates are falling behind in the polls, and even potential messiah Sarah Palin is fleeing from yet another substantive roll in public service. I think it’s safe to say that rational thought has finally crashed this tea party.

The Tea Party began with a heroic idea: that through acts of civil disobedience and protest, citizens could overthrow a crippling totalitarian government. At least that was the idea that American revolutionaries had more than 200 years ago when they dumped a ship load of British tea into Boston Harbor. Nowadays, modern Tea Partiers fulfilled the legacy of our founding fathers by mailing bags of tea to their elitist, socialist representatives in congress; representatives who probably welcomed all of the free tea.

Originally, most people didn’t take the Tea-baggers (yes, that’s really what they originally called themselves) seriously. But when Tea Party influence lead to Republican candidates taking back the House of Representatives in the 2010 midterm elections, many liberal members of congress found themselves unemployed and now desperately in need of free tea.

With Phase 1 complete, the Tea Party set their sights on the grand prize: getting one of their own in the White House. A number of candidates, seizing a moment to jettison themselves into the driver’s seat, offered to take up the mantle on the Tea Party’s behalf. In this year’s nomination elections, Texas Governor Rick Perry joined the ranks of congressional crazy persons Michele Bachman and Rick Santorum; all three claiming support from the Tea Party. All the while, Sarah Palin, Tea Party darling and Republican super-Jesus, watched closely from the sidelines.

The Tea Party began as a fiscal responsibility movement. One that held solid libertarian values of a smaller government that didn’t interfere in the lives of its citizens through taxes or otherwise. But the movement soon attracted social conservatives, such as Michele “pray-the-gay-away” Bachmann and Rick “let’s-see-how many-people-we-can-execute-for-Jesus” Perry. It became almost impossible to tell the difference between the Tea Party and conventional Republicans. Other than the goofy costumes that is.

With Bachmann and Perry quickly marching towards the much feared “unelectable” status, the Tea Party turned eyes to their ace in the hole: Mama grizzly herself, Sarah Palin.

Palin offered a different perspective to the Tea Party faithful. Whereas other candidates were general newcomers to the Tea Party, Palin had been there from the beginning. Not only that, but Palin had already been up against the Tea Party’s metaphorical Sauron, President Barack Obama. Palin was, for good or bad, a household name by this point. Her every TV appearance, her every Tweet, was closely monitored by any media outlet that had a medium to record her.

With a dedicated group of followers, Palin would have been a surefire way to spice up a candidate pool that many conservatives complained had no solid candidates. Palin represented the every single aspect of modern conservatism that Republicans and Tea Party members alike looked for in a viable candidate. Unfortunately for Tea Party supporters, it appears Palin is a lot smarter than we’ve been giving her credit for.

Pop quiz: How much does the President of the United States get paid? Since 2001, U.S. Presidents are granted a yearly salary of $400,000. Now quick, how much does Sarah Palin make as an “analyst” for Fox News? If your answer was in the millions, then you’re right on the money.

With numerous book deals, TV appearances and public speaking bookings, not to mention the millions in political contributions she receives for not even running for office, Sarah Palin is making bank. Why take a pay cut when you get paid just as much to bat your eyelashes on national television? Even liberals can’t argue with Palin’s decision to shy away from public office with that kind of money on the line.

With Palin out of the picture, what’s left now for the Tea Party Nation? After this week’s debate, Herman Cain is the new flavor of the week, but how long will he last before someone else takes his place as favorite?

For members of the Tea Party, a hard choice lies in the future. Is it more important to vote for a firebrand who sticks to their ideals and is likely to be beaten, or to vote for a lukewarm candidate who stands a chance at becoming president?

Well Tea Partiers? Regular or decaf?