Hey, remember the tea party?
Yes, the tea party, the movement that upended the 2010 congressional elections and was supposed to transform American politics.
In recent days, some voices that have defined the movement over the past two years — former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, erstwhile 2012 candidate Herman Cain, Nevada Republican Sharron Angle and real estate mogul/self-promoter Donald Trump — offered their endorsements in the GOP presidential race.
And the political world yawned in unison.
Cain officially endorsed former House speaker Newt Gingrich before Tuesday’s Florida primary, while Palin said she would vote for Gingrich if she were a Floridian. The payoff: Newt lost the state by double digits.
Then, on Thursday, Trump endorsed Mitt Romney in the run-up to Saturday’s Nevada caucuses. “Mitt is tough, he’s sharp, he’s smart,” Trump declared. Just one problem: Polling shows that the Donald’s support probably hurts Romney more than it helps him, and the endorsement was more sideshow than show-stopper.
Perhaps most revealing of all was Angle, who just two years ago defined the tea party’s 2010 efforts by winning a crowded GOP primary and facing off against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). On Thursday, she endorsed Rick Santorum with all the force of a church mouse, as the nominal leader of a Nevada tea party that has fallen apart.
The tea party, for trying to brew some strong influence over the GOP race but winding up with chamomile, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.
Aaron Blake is a Washington Post political reporter. Have a candidate for the Worst Week in Washington? Chris Cillizza is away, so send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.