The Tea Party movement that looked set to transform American politics a couple of years ago was hit hard by President Obama's victory last month, the New York Times finds. Congressional Republicans are bucking Tea Party demands in fiscal cliff talks and the movement's activists are now focusing on efforts to "nullify" health care reform, to expose alleged election fraud, and to fight a United Nations resolution encouraging sustainable development—issues that are unlikely to expand the movement's base or power.
Within the GOP, many blame the movement for the party's poor showing in November and predict that while the Tea Party won't go away, it will become just another faction instead of a movement capable of taking control of the party. "I think the Tea Party movement is to the Republicans in 2013 what the McGovernites were to the Democrats in 1971 and 1972," says the Republican president of the Florida Senate. "They will cost Republicans seats in Congress and in state legislatures. But they will also help Republicans win seats." (Read more Tea Party stories.)