The GOP can ill afford to anger the Tea Party movement any more than they already have by refusing to back most of the Tea Party candidates thus far.
If the GOP wants to win, they had better learn that Conservatives, Independents, even a portion of Democrats ARE the Tea Party.
This has potential to escalate. I don't see it being a major factor in 2010, but if the GOP pursues this course, it could have enormous ramifications. Imagine, if you will, what the GOP would look like if the Tea Party movement truly became organized, and decided it was time to create a truly Conservative, small-government political Party.
The GOP would automatically become the third-place party.
They need to pull their craniums from their behinds and embrace the coming change, or they will soon find themselves without jobs.