A few days ago on the Facebook page of one of Michigan's Tea Party leaders (Wendy Day of "Common Sense in Government"), some reader comments were posted revealing confusion regarding the purpose and composition of that movement. I took the opportunity to expand on an answer from the Mackinac Center's "Tea Party Activist Toolbox," as follows:
The Tea Party movement is unified by three things: Grievance, Target, Goal.
— The GRIEVANCE is the chronic, unsustainable fiscal irresponsibility of the welfare/regulatory state.
— The TARGET is a self-perpetuating and bipartisan class of political careerists who have taken control of the government and do not represent the will of the people.
— The GOAL is to change the incentives that make those political careerists serve the system rather than the people.
Among other things, "serving the system" means protecting the perks and privileges of the government employees unions and their members, and redistributing ever more of our society's wealth to that privileged class.
Examples of politicians appearing to serve the system rather than the people published previously on this page include "GOP Senators, SEIU Taxpayer Giveaways, Campaign Cash and More, OH MY!" and "Union Bennie 'Obligation' Legislation Burdens Taxpayers for Nonobligations."
The politicians have been getting away with this sort of thing for years for one reason: No one was telling the folks back home. With innovations like Michigan Capitol Confidential Daily that may be starting to change.
On the issue of who belongs to the Tea Party movement, it includes religious conservatives, non-religious libertarians, worried-about-the-future independents and even some "honest liberals" who understand that protecting privileged classes of government employees and politically well-connected industries does not serve their desire for greater equality.