This is not to be confused with "leading from behind", where the leader does the actual leading from behind the scenes and the grass roots group does the heavy lifting for a leader who could not possibly get support on their own.
Being "lead from behind" is extremely common in the USA. In some cases a single politician is "lead from behind" by several different types of dominant individual and special interest groups that provide the best benefit packages to the leader, for help in specific areas.
The tea party leaders are being "lead from behind" by the Koch Brothers, and Fox News (who carefully packages their message).
In America to understand politics you need to look at who is behind the leader. Sometimes it is hard to see who it is because it is often only through a small opening that they become visible and it is not always open.