New York Times "Tea Party" correspondent Kate Zernike again insisted that the main victims of Tea Party enthusiasm will be, not Democrats, but mainstream Republicans, in Thursday's "G.O.P. Gets a Partner, But Who Will Lead?"
It's basically a snapshot of the growing conflict between Sen. Jim DeMint, who has pushed conservative Tea Party candidates, and Sen. John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, whose job it is to elect Republicans.
A photo caption over a picture of DeMint reads: "Senator Jim DeMint has embraced the ideological purity that characterize many candidates with Tea Patty backing."
If ever there was proof that the Tea Party and the Republican Party do not necessarily go hand in hand, it is Christine O'Donnell's victory over the establishment in the Republican Senate primary in Delaware.
So what happens now, with the primary season ending, and the Tea Party having defined it? Does the Tea Party remake the G.O.P. in its image, staging a "hostile takeover," as Matt Kibbe, the president of FreedomWorks, the libertarian advocacy group, urged activists rallying outside the Capitol last weekend to do? Or will the Republican Party co-opt the Tea Party, as Trent Lott, a former leader of the Senate Republicans, said it must?
The embodiment of this question might be Senator Jim DeMint, the South Carolina Republican who has made himself and his Senate Conservatives Fund a kind of Tea Party Good Housekeeping seal of approval. Sitting at the intersection of the Republican Party and the Tea Party, Mr. DeMint could be a model for how the two might co-exist -- or an example of how the drive for ideological purity could turn the Republicans into a niche party.