This is, in the end, likely to be the ironic legacy of the Tea Party and the tactics it chose: It arose in ferocious opposition to Obama’s agenda, but by driving Specter out of the party and pushing pure conservatives over more electable Republican candidates, it gave Senate Democrats the majorities they needed to pass and protect the key accomplishments of Obama’s presidency — and that’s before you get into whether the Tea Party’s influence in the Republican presidential primaries forced Mitt Romney to the right and gave Obama a crucial edge in a close presidential election.
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