Though generally a fan of the Tea Party, Matt Lewis urges conservatives to pause to think about five elements about the movement that could prove destructive:
1. Lack of reverence for conservative leaders and organizations. It has been my observation that many of today's new activists are quick to conflate being "old" with being part the establishment....Conservatives would be foolish to abandon the wisdom of elders, much less eschew the infrastructure that has been created over recent decades, merely because it existed prior to 2010.
2. A move away from social conservatism. [T]he Tea Party has the potential to change [the conservative movement], possibly making it more libertarian...This could be good or bad (depending on your views), but it is a phenomenon worth considering.
3. Anti-Intellectualism. [C]onservatism began as a coherent intellectual philosophy. But in recent decades, conservatives have mocked "pointy-headed liberal intellectuals," creating an impression that intelligence is almost something to be skeptical of. While I am certainly not advocating elitism, I would strongly encourage conservatives to reject populism. Conservative candidates who can eloquently advocate for conservative positions have a better chance of impacting the culture than do demagogues who cannot effectively communicate their philosophy to the masses.
4. Purges. [T]here is...a danger of Jacobinism, where even fellow revolutionaries are purged -- not for philosophical apostasy but for not being "team players." In recent weeks, we have seen conservative writers labeled RINO's for questioning the background of a Tea Party candidate.
5. The Victim Card. Recently, a prominent conservative voice accused Karl Rove of sexism. While sexism certainly does exist, fair criticism and analysis of a female political candidate does not constitute sexism. Though winning is important, how you play the game is, perhaps, more telling. Conservatives should avoid copying the tactics of the left.
I can't exactly see where Lewis is coming from with his fifth point -- a single example can hardly be used to identify a characteristic of an entire movement -- but his other points seem fair and constructive. Though it seldom happens in the world of politics, a bit of introspection seems like an entirely healthy and positive thing.