Say what you will about the tea party but it has been remarkably effective at pushing select fringe candidates to electoral victories.
In late 2009, you would have been hard pressed to find anyone in Washington who would have believed that a Republican would soon fill the Senate seat held for decades by the late Ted Kennedy.
Enter tea party-backed Scott Brown.
Brown -- a state senator at the time of his election -- was the first in what would become a long line of tea party endorsed candidates with rather colorful pasts.
See, long before he entered the public arena Brown graced the pages of Cosmopolitan as a nude centerfold model where he was dubbed "America's Sexiest Man." Despite his scantily clad past, tea partiers rejoiced watching Brown's election to the most exclusive club in the country.
In the months since Brown's election, the pasts and positions of victorious tea party candidates have become even more peculiar. It is as if the tea party gene pool has been diluted with each passing primary.
First, we have the May primary victory of Kentucky's Rand Paul. The son of Texas Congressman Ron Paul, Rand called President Obama's criticism of BP following the gulf oil disaster "un-American." Living up to his libertarian namesake -- he's named after Ayn Rand -- Paul said that he would have questioned a portion of the 1964 Civil Rights Act which bars private businesses from discriminating on the basis of race had he been in office at the time. He also opposes the Americans with Disabilities Act, OSHA workplace safety regulations, the Department of Education, and the Department of Agriculture.
It is unclear what type of tea Paul has been drinking to come to such positions but he's obviously been sharing it with other tea party backed Senate candidates.
Less than a month after Paul's victory, Nevada's Sharon Angle won her Republican Senate primary with tremendous support from the tea party. If you can believe it, Angle's past comments and positions on pressing issues are even more jaw dropping than Paul's.
Angle, twice picked as the "Worst Member" of the Nevada legislature, once pushed to spend taxpayer dollars on a Scientology administered drug rehabilitation program for prisoners. Equally disturbing, Angle has indicated her support for an armed insurrection -- "Second Amendment remedies" as she called it -- should conservatives fail in stopping congressional Democrats this fall. Revolutions aside, Angle also wants to "phase Medicare and Social Security out" and, like Paul, scrap the Department of Education.
The dilution of the tea party gene pool continued well into the summer with the late-August Senate primary win of Alaska's Joe Miller. The fringe candidate defeated an incumbent Republican Senator due in large part to support from the Tea Party Express.
Seniors, the sick, and Americans hit hardest by the economic downturn will undoubtedly have trouble understanding what Miller will do for them if elected. After all, Miller has suggested that Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits are unconstitutional.
Miller also said that President Obama is "one of the major forces moving this country toward socialism" -- perhaps he was just channeling Fox News' Glenn Beck.
Brown, Angle, and Miller pale in comparison however to what the tea party would pull off as summer came to a close.
I'm of course talking about the Senate primary victory of Delaware's Christine O'Donnell -- a gift from god to comedians to be sure. A lesson in the absurd, her history consists largely of crusades against masturbation, condoms that she called "anti-human," and witchcraft.
You read that right.
Appearing on Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect almost a decade ago, O'Donnell confessed to having "dabbled" in witchcraft including a date on a "satanic altar."
Ladies and gentlemen, I present the Grand Old tea Party -- warts and all if you'll pardon the play on O'Donnell's misspent Wiccan youth.
Since his election to the Senate, Scott Brown has occasionally crossed party lines voting with Democrats to support the President's agenda. It remains unclear what these increasingly bizarre tea party candidates would support if elected.
Federal funding for the aerial hunting of Big Foot? An investigation into that phony moon landing perhaps?
Hopefully we'll never find out.
Karl Frisch is a syndicated columnist and progressive political communications consultant. He can be reached at KarlFrisch.com. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube or sign-up to receive his columns by email.
Distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate. For information on carrying Karl's columns, call Cari Dawson-Bartley at 800-696-7561 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Karl Frisch on Twitter: www.twitter.com/KarlFrisch