Tea Party Presidential Candidates Flash and Fade

Palin, then Bachmann, now Perry follow similar pattern as required "stridency" trips them up.

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Tea Party favorites for president aren't showing much staying power in the race for the Republican nomination because they come across as too harsh, Democratic pollster Geoff Garin says.

"None of the Tea Party darlings has held up," Garin told me. "Being the Tea Party darling requires a level of stridency that can come across as not being presidential."

Garin has a point. The pollster, who advises many congressional Democrats and was a senior strategist for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in 2008, notes that Tea Party activists were pushing former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, but she has faded in the polls and hasn't gotten into the race. Another favorite has been Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, but she is also dropping in the polls. The most recent favorite was Texas Gov. Rick Perry, but his momentum has stalled.

[See editorial cartoons about the 2012 GOP field.]

Garin says Perry is a good example of the flash-and-fade phenomenon. The Texas governor initially got positive news coverage but more recently he has been criticized for his stands on immigration and other issues and for a weak performance in last week's GOP debate. "The more Perry is out there, the less formidable he's going to be," Garin says.

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