Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) recently told the New York Times that he thinks the tea party will soon be over. He criticized the movement for having goals with no vision. They want to "take their country" back, but they have no plan for what they will do once they reach that goal. That's why I think the Republicans are lucky right now. They are easily winning the public-relations battle because they don't have to do anything.

It is hard to tell the difference between confidence and concession with some politicians.


I have really enjoyed reading some recent reports about legislators from both sides of the aisle who are growing tired of the more radical elements that have dominated the political script since the bottom fell out of the economy.


You would think the summer was a good time for a tea party, but all of the hot air in the world can't keep the zealots energized.


Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) recently told the New York Times that he thinks the tea party will soon be over.


"The problem with the tea party, I think it's just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country. It will die out," Graham said.


He criticized the movement for having goals with no vision. They want to "take their country" back, but they have no plan for what they will do once they reach that goal.


That's why I think the Republicans are lucky right now. They are easily winning the public-relations battle because they don't have to do anything.


They can sit back and criticize everything that is proposed and blame the current administration for everything from economic collapse, terrorist attack or deep-water oil spill.


I just wish there was an alternate universe where John McCain lived in the White House and Sarah Palin had installed a shooting range on the grounds of the United States Naval Observatory.


I would love to see their reaction to the crisis du jour that has defined Barack Obama's 18 months in the Oval Office.


Anyone that believes things would be better with that dynamic duo running the show can probably also see the entertainment value in soccer.


But even better than a Republican telling the tea partiers to enjoy their 15 minutes of fame is a California Democrat mocking the Minutemen.


The Minutemen take an unhealthy interest in border security. Despite the fact that there are twice as many border guards now than a decade ago, it isn't enough to completely stop illegal immigration.


So the Minutemen have followed Stark around to all of his town hall meetings and asked the same questions repeatedly.


Stark was fed up and he let it show.


"The Minutemen have something to say?" Stark asked. "Who are you going to kill today?"


Somehow, the belligerent border babysitters took offense to this question. In response to the response to his response to the question, Stark said he knew the man who brought up the topic very well and that the grass roots movement against him was from someone else's backyard - not his own.


"This guy has been at every one of my town meetings," Stark said. "He's a regular. I do recognize him. I didn't mind needling him a bit. We're getting hundreds of calls, none of them from the district, I might add."


Stark said he believes those callers are simply people who hate others who "speak with an accent."


"It's a xenophobic issue," Stark said. "It doesn't differ much in Florida where they're fearful of people from Haiti or Cuba, or New York where there's a huge Puerto Rican population - and they're citizens."


Of course, the Minutemen have a bigger problem with illegal immigration than with U.S. citizens who may roll their R's.


Their methods are extreme and often cross the line of acceptable behavior. But for a Congressman to allow himself to engage in such an uncivil debate shows that his patience has worn thin.


It is a sign of the times.


With so much anti-establishment sentiment and the polarization and radicalization of political activists, more and more elected officials will find themselves growing tired of fighting the daily battle against the new not-so-silent minorities in the political process.


The 2010 elections will be a lot of things - but they won't be boring.


Kent Bush is publisher of the Augusta (Kan.) Gazette.