A nice, safe, inconsequential choice? Time couldn’t bring themselves to award information distributor, worshipper of hubris, self-styled rockstar Julian Assange the nod, though he dominated Internet voting. Of course, they couldn’t bring themselves to give the award to the tea party even though the tea party changed the course and discourse of a nation in a single year.
Media Matters and Time magazine itself debunks the spin that that "Tea Party was snubbed," by pointing out that they were also in the running for Time's Person Of The Year.
The surprising thing about the Tea Party movement is how many experts were surprised by it. The U.S. has always been home to a large group of people who think the government is too big and spends too much. Why wouldn't those people rise up when the already gargantuan federal deficit more than tripled seemingly overnight? Some lexicographers say refudiate was the word of the year, but for sheer political impact, it's hard to top the word trillion.
The Tea Party victories didn't magically heal the age-old divisions of the right. Senator-elect Rand Paul, the movement's flag bearer in Kentucky, is the son of libertarian icon Representative Ron Paul of Texas. Dad has often split with the neocons of the Republican Party over military interventions around the world. Like father, like son? For that matter, how will the hands-off libertarians get along with the factions of the GOP that want to enforce drug laws and ban abortion and same-sex marriage? Already the self-proclaimed Tea Party Caucus of the House of Representatives is clashing with GOP leaders over how to pursue repeal of the Obama health care law. Should the new Congress propose an alternative medical system or take a harder line: Just keep the government out?
Far more likely is a long, closely fought race, which means sharply targeted efforts by skilled, well-funded candidates to split the GOP into blocs and win voters one faction at a time. Today's cracks in the Tea Party facade will be probed and wedged open. Traditional conservative divisions — libertarians, Evangelicals, corporate interests, Joe Lunch Bucket — that were masked while everyone banded together against Obama could return. Only now, every faction will be able to stake a claim to the Tea Party mantle, having served the movement in the Great Midterm War.
MMfA notes that the Tea Party was a runner-up, in lieu of being on the Finalists list.
Tea Party Was Chosen As Runner-Up Even Though It Was Not On Finalists List. The Tea Party was not on Time's list of 25 finalist candidates, though the other three runners-up were.