“The differences between the tea party and ‘establishment Republicans’ have largely concerned style and attitude rather than program and ideology, and these are easily finessed – especially because moods change,” columnist Ramesh Ponnuru wrote. “That’s why tea party candidates have so far beaten only two incumbent Republican senators in primaries in the past three election cycles. Those elections unified the party in two ways. Establishment Republicans learned that they needed to sound more tea partyish. And the tea party learned something about electability: In both cases (Joe Miller over Lisa Murkowski in Alaska, Richard Mourdock over Richard Lugar in Indiana), its candidate went on to lose the general election.”
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