Republicans made up “a party that didn't remember anymore why it existed” until “the tea party, with its energy and earnestness, restored the GOP to itself.” Tea Partiers rejected George W. Bush’s “spending, overreach and immigration proposals,” writes Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal. And they could have gone third-party—but, lucky for the GOP, they went Republican.
Republicans had in the years since the Reagan revolution become the Establishment; “They did not do what conservatives are supposed to do, which is finish their patriotic work and go home.” The tea party woke them up and “stiffened the GOP's spine by forcing it to recognize what it had not actually noticed, that we are a nation in crisis,” Noonan writes. That crisis will come to bear on this election, which “is about one man, Barack Obama.”
(Read more Peggy Noonan stories.)