(CNN) - While an ugly split within the Tea Party might leave a bruise, it won't be fatal to the movement, a political expert says.
Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams made a bad situation worse last week when he blogged what he said was intended to be a satirical letter from NAACP President Benjamin Jealous to Abraham Lincoln after the NAACP had called for the Tea Party to repudiate racist elements in the movement.
By the end of the weekend, the Tea Party Express was cut loose from an organization that claims to represent the entire movement while the Williams group stood by its man.
"This is the worst kind of thing that could happen," said Tom De Luca, a professor of political science at Fordham University in New York City. "They were setting the agenda, at least to some degree, particularly in the Republican Party, so that Republicans all had to take two or three steps to the right."