Why The Tea Party Owns The GOP

Mark Blumenthal says the "Republican leadership in Washington is currently stuck between the rock of their activist base and the hard place of their allies and benefactors in the business community who fear the consequences of a government default":

[T]he Tea Party wing of the Republican primary is the most attentive and thus most likely to turn out in next year's caucuses and primaries. These data imply that Tea Party-first Republicans will have a disproportionate impact in 2012.

Second … the strongest Tea Party-first Republicans are in no mood for compromise. They are the no retreat, no surrender wing of the Republican party. Their willingness to identify more with the Tea Party than with Republicans as a whole speaks to their desire to take stronger stands than they perceive the Republican party establishment as willing to take.

Third, and perhaps most important, the Tea Party-first Republicans are not some minor faction within the Republican party. They are the heart and soul of its base, the most active and committed Republican voters.