Rand Paul's waffling on civil rights and calling President Obama "un-American" for keeping pressure on BP is stark evidence the Tea Party faces an uphill battle, argues Mark Sappenfield in the Christian Science Monitor. "To remain true to the Tea Party ideology is to occupy a spot on the political fringes that is anathema to many in the American mainstream," whose support is crucial in a political victory, notes Sappenfield. "Perhaps the greatest threat" to Paul and his Tea Party backers "is that they appear to be arguing a case that has already been settled for the majority of Americans," Sappenfield writes.
They may support a right to bear arms, but also overwhelmingly back such government interventions as Social Security and Medicaid, he notes. For people like Paul, "the hope is problems such as racism will be increasingly exposed as abhorrent, and society will gradually change on its own without government interference," Sappenfield writes. But even conservative king William Buckely realized the flaws of that vision. "I once believed we could evolve our way up from Jim Crow," he said in an interview. "I was wrong. Federal intervention was necessary."