For Republicans, a specter may indeed haunt the rank and file: that the conditions that put them forth in the first place may disappear. Since 2008 and 2009, when the "bail outs" of American banks and the auto industry commenced, the Tea Party lived as a viable force in politics. When the first signs of sustainable prosperity reappear, then whither the Tea partiers.
Strangely the Libertarian strain of this movement is beginning to resemble the new left of the 1960s. Opinionated, leaderless and diverse, the Tea Party is beginning to seem exotic, ever since the days when Rick Santelli of CNBC urged equities dealers and brokers to once again pick up the muskets of Lexington and Concord, this movement fed off the recession. Without its effects, can the message stay relevant?
Certainly Richard Nixon seemed trapped in 1969 and 1970 by the never-ending war in Vietnam. However, as troop levels were reduced, the old anti-war urgency and intensity diminished and as a result, George McGovern had very little to work with in 1972.
Suddenly the issue that transformed a nation became a side issue and the old activism disappeared. For Barack Obama, economic resurgance could place his old adversaries to bed.
Much is made of Obama's vulnerabilities in 2014, but by November the health issues could be gone. Like Ronald Reagan, it might become "morning again in America" and the need for a mobilized, intense opposition might be less, as with Populism in 1898 when a world drought created a market for its agrarian constituents, or when gold strikes worldwide ended their demand for silver coinage. 2014 could render Tea Partiers irrelevant by 2016.
Recent developments in special elections suggest that the public is interested in business as usual.
Anger is no longer the fashion in some quarters of the Republican Party, but when that party could tend itself it pressed for leverage. Obama suddenly is transformed into a peace and prosperity president.
Certainly there seems to be a fatique with Obama bashing. True, he is not as popular, but this time his standing in the polls seems to be based on political, not personal, reasons. No outrageous statements on his birth certificate or alleged "socialism," but real honest-to-God disagreement on public policy.
If the economy continues to improve, a rise in popularity can be expected.
Responsible Republicans like John Boehner and Paul Ryan seem to sense this. Gambling that Obama's economic recovery will be middling at best, they regard a toned-down approach as the surest way to gain a majority in the Senate and keep it in the House of Representatives.
Again, if Obama gets a surge to boost his efforts, the GOP might have made a mistake. But the Republicans seem to think that cooling the rhetoric may be the best course.
What is certain is the next election will be more responsible, devoid of wild charges and emotional appeals.