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One of the most important contributions of the Tea Party movement to American conservatism is arguably its subordination of partisan politics to the actual mechanics of public policy. But to succeed and remain relevant, the Tea Parties might have to do more than just subordinate party to policy.
The Tea Party movement is at a crossroads. It will either morph into a viable, third party by 2012, or it will fade away as most populist movements do. It will either develop into a platform of credible fiscal conservatism and constitutional fidelity, or it will be co-opted by GOP bigwigs whose sole agenda lies in bashing President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Senator Reid.