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I don't see (the current) Tea Party as a counter to Unions. Unions will do whatever needs to be done as determined by the Democrats. The Tea Party will do what they see as needed changes to government policy. There is also a vast difference in organizational structure.

The Tea Party has made one big tactical error so far.

They have focused on the economy and fiscal conservatism, to the exclusion of everything else, so have chosen to back the candidate who is saying the best things about the economy - without looking at what else the candidate is saying.

They need to back candidates who will promise to focus on the economy and fiscal conservatism.

"Extreme right wing positions on social issues (and, oh, I suppose a free market would be nice)" is not a candidate the Tea Party should be backing, even if the other side is explicitly coming out for complete government takeover of the entire economy.
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