For more then a year, the Republican party and tea parties across the nation have dismissed accusations that the two were interconnected, despite the right-wing movement consisting mostly of Republicans. The Republicans have had a confusing strategy towards the various groups that have sprouted up across the nation in response to the Democratic victories in 2008, either fighting to get tea party candidates nominated and elected or even attacking tea party groups as being Democratic fronts - the tea parties have acted in a similar fashion, either backing the GOP or resisting integration. Now there is even greater evidence that the Republican party has been co-opting the tea party movement - Minnesota representative Michele Bachmann had made a formal request to create a House Tea Party Caucus giving the teabaggers a voice in the House Republican Conference.
What exactly does this mean?
The GOP has been trying to capitalize off the tea party for some time, and have failed in some instances like the NY-23 election, in which the tea party fielded a candidate of their own because they were unhappy with the establishment's choice - the teabaggers felt the Republican candidate was too liberal. The election ended up seating a Democrat. The problem is that the tea party has punished the GOP for trying to incorporate moderates and instead of moving more towards the center, where the majority of Americans are, the GOP swung further to the right to cater the minority fringe. I think that the GOP is trying to get greater control over their base so they can more freely pursue moderates, but this strategy will most likely end up failing - the fringe do not want to associate with what they believe to be Marxists or RINOs.