The Very Silent Tea Party

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 28 2012 9:58 PM

The Very Silent Tea Party

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TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 28: Senate Republican Candidate, Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz speaks during the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Today is the first full session of the RNC after the start was delayed due to Tropical Storm Isaac. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Read the rest of Slate’s coverage from the GOP convention.

TAMPA, Fla.—Two words have not appeared in tandem in any of tonight's speeches. They are Tea Party. The closest any speaker got to mentioning the movement that changed Congress in 2010 was in Texas U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz's speech. And he managed to avoid using the magic words.

Since 2010, something extraordinary has been happening, something that has dumbfounded the chattering class. It began here in Florida in 2010. In Utah, Kentucky, Pennsylvania. Was repeated this summer in Indiana. Nebraska. Wisconsin. And this past month, in the Lone Star State, Texas. What is happening all across America is a Great Awakening. A response to career politicians in both parties who've gotten us into this mess.
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"Career politicians in both parties." There was not a Tea Party so much as there was a kick-out-the-incumbents movement, we're told. But the Tea Party's challenges were idelogical, and the Democrats who lost in 2010 and 2012 have been victims of pretty situational/redistricting-related problems.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.