Even so, the movement is less a party than an anti-party, with no clear consensus about whom its national leaders are and a generally dyspeptic view of organized political power.
"It's a party opposed to the idea of parties," says Jill Lepore, a Harvard historian whose book about the movement, The Whites of Their Eyes, is scheduled to be published in October. The Tea Party reminds her more of a religious revival than a political movement. She compares it to the Second Great Awakening in the 1830s, a religious resurgence that helped fuel temperance and abolitionism.
What emerges from the polls and interviews is a deeply engaged, highly skeptical group of people — even toward others in their ranks.
If those in support of the Tea Party mentality were to gain enough governmental control, I can believe their extreme conservative positions could have an impact on our nation. While it would not be temperance and abolitionism that would be the result, it's easy to predict illegal immigrants would be a target, affirmative action would be eliminated/diminished and safety net programs for the poor would be gutted.
Personally, what I find most interesting when it comes to some of the online debate encounters I have had with some Tea Party supporters is their level of anger and how easily they express hatred towards liberals and elected officials. That's not to say I have not had reasoned debates with members of the Tea Party, but it is much more rare than with those of other political philosophy. The disdain and the lack of respect expressed does not bode well for our nation as it at times easily surpasses those on the left who took issue with President Bush and Republican office holders.