Is The Tea Party A Political Party? Or Not?

Following President Obama’s State of the Union address, there were two rebuttals: One from Republicans and one from the Tea Party. This begs the question: What is the Tea Party? Is it a real political party competing with Democrats and Republicans? Or is it just a more angry, more mean-spirited faction of political Neanderthals within the Republican Party?

If it’s the former, it should operate like the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, the Socialist Party, etc. That means raising money and generating enough votes to be placed on the ballot.

If it’s the latter, it should drop the word “Party” from its name and continue to operate within the Republican Party as a caucus in the same way progressives and African-Americans operate within the Democratic Party. Moreover, the media should treat it as such. No more free air time on cable networks in order to promote its backward agenda as a rebuttal to the State of the Union address.

Or, if the Teabaggers continue to demand special treatment, the Progressives, Socialists and other factions should be afforded the same amount of time to push their agendas.  

The American people have a right to know the status of this caucus or faction or club or group or militia or party or whatever the hell it is. It’s time for an end to its Fox News-fueled free ride.