Observations:

1. Tea Partiers are expected to play a big role at the Michigan Republican convention this weekend. However:

  • They cannot change the political establishment by playing nice with it.
  • Neither a prediction nor a hope, but worse things could happen than if they get steamrolled, and emerge re-committed to the movement's real goal of overturning the current system rather than becoming an arm of it.

2. Tea Partiers endorsing candidates risk making themselves a part of the system they seek to overturn.

  • The movement is not defined by who wins, but by who loses.
  • Tea Partiers should only ever issue non-endorsements.*

3. Politicians, don't tell me how don't tell me how efficient government will be when you are in charge, or how bad you think the Michigan Business Tax is (who thinks it's good?). Instead, tell me what spending cuts you propose to enable the MBT's elimination (among other things):

  • What programs will you eliminate?
  • How will you stop giving defined benefit pensions to new school employees (and not some phony "hybrid," either).
  • How will you cut state employee pay and benefits?

4. If Republicans gain power on Nov. 2, will the Tea Party's energy evaporate?

  • GOP officeholders will do everything in their power to deflate it, but not by embracing the Tea Party agenda.
  • Instead, they will do the absolute minimum that allows them to posture and manipulate voters.
  • Tea Party success will be defined by how high they raise that minimum, and the real test starts on Nov. 3.

*Obviously endorsements would be useful in multi-candidate primary races featuring more than one reformer against one or more establishment politicians, but the movement is not capable of this.