Then the leaders came in, uninvited. The Tea Party folks didn't have a word to say about it, they just got led. The Koch Brothers and other right wing apparatchiks who knew what power was, how to buy it and how to use it, hijacked the whole movement. That they turned it into a repugnant thing isn't the point. They turned it into a thing.
That ugly thing took over Congress in 2010 and cripples our twice-elected president to this day.
The Tea Party will fade out, eventually, but the damage is done. Such is the power of a terrible idea, disciplined by ruthless leaders.
We live in perilous times. Neither the hard right nor the squishy left is satisfied with the status quo. Not only will the "center not hold," the center is rapidly shrinking down to a point.
I believe that history will pivot on that point. Whether it tips right or left, and what the new reality will look like, nobody knows.
But we'll know it when we see it coming. There will be three horsemen, riding together: A Program, a Party, and a Leader.