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r Democrats, the growing debate over how to vanquish the Tea Party movement is analogous to a family fracas over how to best get rid of your sister’s latest crummy boyfriend.

Do you repeatedly point out all the perceived flaws of the new suitor, hoping that they resonate? Or do you insist that the new guy is just like the ex, and suggest that repeating the pattern will only lead to misery?

Democrats from the White House down to the party’s central committee office in Multnomah County, Ore., say they are debating the best way to leverage the victories of scores of Tea Party candidates who prevailed in primary races, like Christine O’Donnell, who surprised many last week by winning the Republican nomination for United States Senate in Delaware. Beyond the dozens of candidates running in House and Senate races, Tea Party hopefuls — defined here as candidates who have been endorsed by one of the movement’s major sponsors — are also competing in at least seven races for governor, according to the Democratic Governors Association.

Many Democrats have chosen to run against the Tea Party — as opposed to the Republicans in Washington — by repeatedly pointing out positions they believe general election voters would not cotton to, like privatizing Social Security, abolishing entire federal departments, upending certain civil rights laws and outlawing abortion, even in the case of rape. Not all Tea Party candidates share these positions, but many have spoken in favor of one or more of them.

“Our strategy is to help voters understand that what these folks are talking about is so far out of the American mainstream that they represent a clear and present danger to the political health of the country,” said Mark Alan Siegel, chairman of the Democratic Party in Palm Beach County, Fla. The county is partly in the 22nd Congressional District, where a Tea Party candidate, Allen West, is challenging a Democratic incumbent, Ron Klein.

This tactic was employed early on by

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