In Tea Party, 'We Are Seeing Something Big'
Peggy Noonan: This movement is real, for better or worse
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2010 11:38 AM CDT
Tea Party supporters gather on the steps of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis last weekend.   (AP Photo/Whitney Curtis)

(Newser) – Peggy Noonan isn't quite sure whether the Tea Party movement will ultimately help or hurt the country, but this much is clear: "We are seeing something big," she writes at the Wall Street Journal. (The column is headlined "Why It's Time for the Tea Party.") This is close to being a defacto third party, "not a wing of the GOP but a critique of it," and it's a good bet that it will have lasting impact on our politics.

It's "homegrown, broad-based and independent"—and also fraught with danger. "A movement like this can help a nation by acting as a corrective, or it can descend into a corrosive populism that celebrates unknowingness as authenticity, that confuses showiness with seriousness and vulgarity with true conviction. Parts could become swept by a desire just to tear down, to destroy." She hopes that "members know how fragile are the institutions that help keep the country together." (More Tea Party news here.)