I suspect the Tea Party started out trying to relate to the Boston Tea Party of the American Revolutionary War which was a protest against taxation without representation. But it has ended up more like the Mad Hatter's Tea Party in Alice in Wonderland in which everyone was a little crazier than the next person.
Many of us have been curious as to who they are and what they believe. With the Democrats and Republicans we can at least look at the party platforms that are revised and approved at the national conventions every four years but with the Tea Party it seems to be who can get the biggest audience and make the biggest headlines. Their platform is they have no platform.
So CBS News and the New York Times set out to solve this mystery by interviewing several hundred people. Of course no one has officially registered as a member of the Tea Party so they had to define a class of people as "Tea Party supporters". And what a class it is! Their responses to the poll seem to indicate that they prefer getting their answers from Fox News rather than thinking things through. An example is blaming Obama for the current economic depression but saying the reason they don't like Obama is that they just don't like him. Likewise their main complaint seems to be the growth of the Federal Government but they think very highly of Bush during whose administration the government grew by leaps and bounds. They blame congress and indeed all politicians for inconsistencies yet can't seem to see their own.
I'm not going to rehash the whole poll. It would make a wonderful homework assignment for a critical thinking class. But I did want to make it easy for you to find the poll and the CBS article on it.
CBS article http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20002529-503544.html?tag=stack
Who They Are: http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/poll_tea_party_who_they_are_041410.pdf?tag=contentMain;contentBody
What They Think: http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/poll_tea_party_041410.pdf?tag=contentMain;contentBody