It's a little bit early, but the Tea Party is hitting its sophomore slump.
A few of the prominent members of Congress elected as part of the Tea Party wave in 2010 lost their seats in November. With the end-of-year budget negotiations going nowhere, the Tea Party has been described variously as standing on the sidelines and losing its clout.
"We could end up with taxes going up for everybody and Republicans getting the blame, which from the standpoint of the Tea Party is the worst of all possible outcomes," says Jack Pitney, a government professor at Claremont McKenna College in California.
One group closely aligned with the Tea Party, FreedomWorks, suffered a near-meltdown this summer, with a power struggle leading to the ouster of its chair, Dick Armey, a former House majority leader.
Putting aside the difficulties of the present moment, members of Congress associated with the Tea Party face a larger question. Like other large classes elected in the past, they're finding that it's easier to talk about changing Washington than actually doing it.
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