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Takeaways from P5: Tea time, raising Cain and GOP becomes Democratic?

Here are more takeaways from Florida's Presidency 5, from our cheap seats, in Tallahassee:

* The Florida Tea Party is not going to forget immigration. It was Rick Perry's Achilles' heel and the Florida Republicans are going to be under tremendous pressure to pass immigration legislation this session. This sets up the conflict between the agriculture community in Florida again (remember Perry was Texas Ag Commissioner before he was governor) just as it will remain a conflict across the nation. Having Miami's Al Cardenas as head of CPAC doesn't solve this tension, it may just expose it.

* Herman Cain is a blend of Barack Obama and Rick Scott. He is proof that the Republicans are just as eager for an American Dream story as independents and Democrats in this era. He's got the smooth, articulate, story-telling gifts of Obama with the up-from-the ground story of Scott. Plus, he has an advantage over Obama which is huge today -- he's not viewed as an elite. It is also no accident that Cain's plan is called 9-9-9, after Scott succeeded promoting 7-7-7.

* The Democratization of the Republican Party: The Bush-led lock-step control of the party has been dismantled. The RPOF can fold Tea Partiers into their party functions, but they can't control how people behave. The Fox News commentators were demonstrably uncomfortable every time the candidates beat up on each other. When Cain won the straw poll, the Twitter stream was uncharacteristically silent from Republican pundits. The GOP has traditionally been afraid of disunity and always went to great lengths to avoid airing differences publicly. It is a very Big Tent now, but how comfortable is it? Do Florida Republicans now act as if all are in agreement with the Tea Party, or do they let the differences fly and let people realize they are a party of diverse views?

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