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If the tea party and its message are so trite, why are officials on both sides privately telling me this is the best thing to happen to the parties in a long time? Simple: because it’s forcing candidates to finally start listening.

One thing that hasn’t been discussed in Washington circles is what the tea party needs. Like it or not, once these candidates become sworn-in members of the House or Senate, they will need to form a coalition government of sorts. Left to itself, there will be little legislatively it can do. Yet plugged into the policy apparatus of the Republican Party, it can begin to shape and turn initiatives, something every tea party disciple longs to see.

Can this movement last? Will it be around and in similar form come 2012? I believe so. There’s too much frustration and not enough relief in sight. But I don’t see a tea party movement in 15 years — not how it’s formed today. Groups like these need a common enemy, a political target to direct their discontent.

Finally, this movement possesses one characteristic that Democrats are sorely lacking this election cycle — enthusiasm. That’s why candidates like Ms. O'Donnell still have a better-than-average chance of winning. Do you think Delaware voters care what “The Architect” Karl Rove thinks? Hardly. Their own enthusiasm is almost enough to carry the day. Just look to 1994 to view that piece of history.

Who leads the tea party? It doesn’t matter. The political tour de force is felt by everyone, yet controlled by no one. Let the establishment beware.

Armstrong Williams is on Sirius/XM Power 169, 7-8 p.m. and 4-5 a.m., Monday through Friday. Become a fan on Facebook at and follow him on Twitter at