The Tea Party movement in America is admired and venerated by some of those right-wing Tories, like Dan Hannan MEP, who distrust David Cameron's leadership. As a movement dedicated to the classical liberal philosophies of less government and low tax, it is the most successful recent incarnation of the New Right. It has also managed to create waves with the selection of a range of Republican candidates for the forthcoming mid-terms who are sympathetic to its aims. For the most part, such candidates have not caused much comment outside of being Tea-Partiers, and one positive account of the current Republican situation can be found in the Weekly Standard here.
However, the selection of Christine O'Donnell in Delaware (Joe Biden's home state) has caused waves. She was well supported by Sarah Palin, and is considered by many to be on the extreme fringe of the Republican Party, and even the Tea Party movement (Slate magazine exposes her as a 'masturbation socialist' here). Democrats have been breathing sighs of relief, claiming she is unelectable and that the Republicans, by selecting her, have at least saved the Delaware senate seat for the Democrats. Even mainstream Republicans seem to be running scared, although some commentators see her victory as a nemesis resulting from the party's own long-term tactics against Obama. But consider for a moment if she wins, or even comes close. O'Donnell might be seen as a dry run for a Palin presidential bid in 2012, and an Obama White House that currently views Palin as unelectable may not be so sanguine if the economy continues to dive, and especially not if O'Donnell, Palin's Delaware soul-mate, does well in her election.
That Palin is indeed running for president is now considered a fact by Jonathan Chait in the New Republic, as it has long been so considered by the Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan. The alarm for anyone who thinks Palin is a certifiable nutter is that nothing can be taken for granted in democratic politics, and no-one, given the right circumstances, is unelectable.