I don't know anything about the Tea Party. Their website claims three tenets: Fiscal Responsibility, Limited Government, and Free Markets. As a libertarian, I couldn't be tickled any pinker by the idea that a huge movement has embraced half of my political ideology.
But everything I see in the news and on the net seems to be making fun of them, and some of this criticism is pretty ugly. I'm looking at you, John Stewart.
When I was involved with protesting Gulf War I, I spent a lot of time around protesters on the left. Yup, I was one of them. I was even kind of involved in organizing some of it. One of the things you could count on with any protest was the Freaks. We had some freaks. And it was a little annoying to me, since I wanted to get my freak on, but when a TV camera scans over you and your pals, the marijuana-leaf t-shirts, giant pink afros, conspiracy nuts, and wide-eyed crystal-worshiping space aliens, you can fall a little off message.
To combat this, at one protest (in front of an Orlando TV station, for sponsoring a "bring your kids to visit the Patriot Missile and crew" event...) I even wore a suit jacket and a tie.
I suspect there are a few suit-and-tie folks at the Tea Party protests wishing that the tiny fraction of 'birthers', racists, and red-baiting nutjobs would stop drawing attention away from their main point: that the government and the tax burden are growing unsustainably, and that a massive expansion in health care smack in the middle of the worst economic crisis in generations might not be the best idea.
Hey, you know how it makes you feel when someone calls you a 'socialist' for supporting health care reform? Yeah. That's how the tea party people probably feel when you portray them as illiterate racist rednecks.