The Tea Party faction is the reason that the Republican party made as much progress as it did in the 2010 midterm elections at both the state and federal levels. Their candidates are putting their stamp on the GOP at the legislative party level.
It would be an opportune time for Republicans to officially change their party's name. After all, this is no longer the party of Lincoln. The strongholds of the modern Republican party are overwhelmingly places that shunned the GOP for a century because it was the party of the North in the Civil War and Reconstruction. They are the direct political descendants of the Dixiecrats and the segregationists. A significant share of Republicans still think secession is a good idea, and many would like to repeal all or most of the Civil Rights Act. The Republican party was invented as a party in favor of a strong federal government, yet the modern Republican party is the party of state's rights. Lincoln and other early Republicans were in favor of constitutionally questionable taxes.
Why should Republicans continue to carry all that historical baggage that causes them such cognitive dissonance? Why not admit that there is nothing "Grand Old" about their party and that they have nothing whatsoever in common with the pro-tax, anti-states rights, socially liberal, culturally Yankee party that the Republicans were for their first couple of generations? Why not cast that all aside and replace it with the mantle of the Tea Party.
This would leave the people who put them in power, who happen to care a lot about symbolism, tickled pink. And, rebranding every once and a while is often a good thing for just about any organization. It would also be more honest, and crazy as it seems, a little honesty in politics, even once in a while, is appreciated by just about everyone. So, make it official. For 2011, the major political party that is not the Democratic party in the United States should cast aside the "Republican" and "GOP" names and become the "Tea Party".
Then, maybe the Democrats could follow suit and rename itself, honestly and in a way that reclaims a label that many in the base would like to rehabilitate, the "Liberal Party."