Originally Posted by alnorth
The OP is a bit misguided. The tea party does not exist as a unified, coherant, seperate entity. At the beginning it briefly looked like it might be an interesting libertarian movement, but it has since been highjacked by ultra-conservatives who seized the label, re-branded themselves with it, and shouted "tea party" until everyone basically gave up and let them have it.
I have a tendency to agree with you here but as you pointed out, it is not unified which most likely explains why the people I have talked with personally who support the Tea Party are not extreme right wingers or Bible thumpers.