So much emphasis has been placed on the Tea Party that liberalism is usually ignored. But there are signs that often denied philosophy is slowly making a comeback. In Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli's campaign is being challenged by Terry McAuliffe, who is championing the rights of women and the need to expand government services. In New York, a liberal Democrat is about to end the long business reign of Rudy Guiliani and Michael Bloomberg.
Moreover, despite the slow rollout of the Affordable Health Care Act, polls are showing more support for the initiative. In those 15 states that had a partnership with the federal government, such as California and New York, enrollment has been brisk. Despite Republican legislatures with their own versions of nullification, some people are enrolling. Governors. Jerry Brown and Andrew Cuomo are currently outperforming Barack Obama.
Also, Democrats in Congress are questioning some of Obama's trade policies in regard to Asia. In this there has been bipartisanship with some elements of the Tea Party, who are taking issue with the administration's overly generous free trade policies.
The notion that liberal Democrats are lock-step with the administration is ludicrous, there is plenty of disagreements. Because this does not include Obamacare, it does not mean liberals have forgotten their own agendas. Even some Republicans like Chris Christie have pushed by not challenging such measures as gay marriage. New Jersey became the 14th state to approve simply because Christie dropped the legal challenge on almost every front the progressive agenda has enjoyed some success.
Of course Republicans of the far right stripe cannot exploit these divisions in progressive ranks because they are too busy ensuring a degree of Democratic unity. Despite having a better shutdown period than Ted Cruz, Rand Paul did the predictable thing and promised to hold up the nomination of Janet Yellin as head of the Federal Reserve.
Once again the GOP right wing arrays itself against big business. But they also remind Democrats that although Obama has been less than stellar with all aspects of the progressive agenda, he is still a better prospect than his critics.
The shutdown for Republicans was not very helpful in that it revealed considerable divisions within the ranks. Some more traditional Chamber of Commerce Republicans, usually amenable to the Tea Party Wedge politics, have become alarmed at the excesses. Suddenly fire crackers have been replaced by dynamite and their erstwhile allies have seemed reckless to the extreme. The name of the game is to harass and interdict Democrats, not blow a hole in the U.S. economy.
Yet it is to be reminded how prevalent such extremism still works in the GOP that House Republicans split 144 to 87 for continuing the shutdown. Although some cooler heads prevailed, such as Rep. Shelly Moore Capito, they were not in the majority.
John Boehner struck a pose and then struck the colors and then called it defiance. But this fire and fall back routine will get tiring and voters will begin to ask whether these trips near the brink are necessary.
Perhaps the Tea Party will regain its old popularity but it is doubtful. More than anything else, it displayed amateurism and a devil-may-care approach to reality. This, they should realize, may be noticed by the voter.