What if you threw a tea party and only four people came?
The Senate tea party caucus huddled for the first time on Thursday. Their numbers were one more than a meeting that same evening on "The Last Word," with host Lawrence O'Donnell, Tea Party Nation's Judson Phillips, and HuffPost's Howard Fineman.
"The Senate is about making deals," Fineman explained about the group's potentially limited influence. "Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is in charge of the Republican side of that body. I think he made it very clear that he wasn't about to let Jim DeMint and his band of tea partiers take control of the agenda of the Republican party in the Senate."
Rand Paul, one of the leading figures within the tea party movement, has been pushing for drastic spending cuts, but Fineman threw some cold water on the likelihood of those proposals making it to committee. "The Democrats would love to bring it up so the Republicans have to discuss it, but it still won't be brought up," he predicted.
Switching gears to the executive branch, Fineman synthesized the appointment of Jay Carney as press secretary: "a completion of the insider machinery of the new Obama White House." He added that this administration is being stocked with "people who know how the game is played."