Regular readers of this blog know that I have fundamental differences with many of the tenets of the Tea Party movement, which in many ways is still proving to be a movement of "no" rather than a party of ideas.
Rand Paul -- the Republican, but more Libertarian, Party nominee for the U.S. Senate -- has become the face of that movement, at least for now. And it is easy to laugh at him because of his ridiculous comments about the 1964 Civil Rights Act. But you laugh at your own peril.
The Tea Party movement has struck a chord with many potential voters. Granted, the hard-core right makes up just over 11% of the electorate, but the idea that the government and the deficit are growing too big will resonate with more than that small percentage of people.
Consider what is taking place in Arkansas -- where a middle-of-the-road Democrat is forced into a run-off election. There is nothing in Blanche Lincoln's political record that places her outside the mainstream middle, but in this election year she faces the challenge of defending her record.
So, what is the message as the summer of 2010 heats up? You laugh at the Tea Party movement and at the angry voter at your own peril -- whether you are a political candidate or a concerned voter.