Andrew Sullivan knocks it out the park, but got a hanging curve ball, didn't he? There is absolutely no daylight between the Tea Party and the Christianist right wing of the GOP. While some in the movement may actually be political neophytes who just got fed up with taxation, deficits, etc., and while the leaders/organizers of the overall movement are rich corporatists who love to exploit the angry white mob to their benefit, the great majority of the rank and file membership of the Tea Party are white, older, Christianist, and very angry at, well, SOMEONE! "Keep your government hands off my Medicare!" Those types. Those who want more prayer in school, religion deeply injected into politics, a return to the good ol' days when you didn't have to worry about offending a person's ethnicity, because anyone who mattered back then was white anyway.
My hope is that the primary season exposes this more completely, that Bachmann and Palin and Perry battle each other for the most right-wing position to keep that base fired up. I hope the far right gets so influential that it pulls the GOP further to the right, which appears to be happening now anyway. They didn't lose the election in 2008 for not being conservative enough; they lost because of the exact opposite. Doubling down now on neocon and theocon core planks are going to alienate the entire middle, who will not be able to sit it out. Obama wins, hands down.