A few years back, House GOP leader Tom DeLay (remember him?) declared his intention to make this "a one-party nation." His dream may be coming true, but not in the way he intended.

As Michael Gerson pointed out in his Nov. 6 column, "Facing the GOP's New Reality," the GOP, already America's minority party, is currently at war with itself.

The tea party cuckoo they've let into their nest has the depressing habit of nominating candidates the voters don't want, and the Republicans' recent debacle in Virginia, where they couldn't even beat sleaze-plagued Terry McAuliffe for governor, is just the latest example of a tea party candidate snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

The tea party's 15 minutes are over.

Most Americans hate the tea party and, worse, now consider it synonymous with "Republican." So it's tough to imagine any Republican (other than maybe Chris Christie) winning the presidency in the foreseeable future. But the tea party (surprise) doesn't like Christie because he won't drink their Kool-Aid.

Of course, that's what most of us like about Chris; He's like Bill Clinton telling off Sister Souljah.

So the tea party is killing the Republican Party and the winner, of course, is the Democratic Party by default. Never mind the fact that most of us don't like the Democrats all that much either because America's innate genius for picking the lesser evil on election day renders that distrust irrelevant.

The tea party is so unpopular that they're handing the Democrats America on a plate.

Since it's easier to lose friends than win them back, I don't have any quick-fix solutions to the GOP's looming irrelevancy problem. But facing the fact that way too many Americans have lost faith in its ability to govern is probably a good place to start.

JEFFREY A. BROWN

Dover Twp.