Thank you, Bill Thompson, for the civil response to my blog. Let me respond, point-by-point.
1) The origins of the "tea party" may go back to rallies held in 2007. Rick Santelli ranted on CNBC about bailouts of underwater mortgage holders. As The New York Times has written,:"The tea party agenda is not well defined, though it is anti-government, anti-spending, anti-immigration and anti-compromise politics." (9/26/10) Given that several organizations claim to be "tea party" entities (Tea Party Patriots, Tea Party Express, Tea Party Nation amongst others), a somewhat diffuse message is not surprising. You say it has "a published platform." Okay, what one of the "tea parties" is it to which you refer? When you say the tea party has become the limited-government wing of the Republican Party, you do not mean a formal distinction has been made in that regard, do you? I did not read anything to the effect of a merger or acquisition such that the "tea party" has such a function in the GOP. Then one goes back to the Eighteenth Century event that gave the "tea party" its name. There are several stories about the original Boston Tea Party that contradict our modern version of what occurred. All of these factors feed the notion of vagueness.
2) I argued the "tea party," in its embrace of anti-choice, anti-immigrant, and homophobic policies, cost Romney points. You said those three positions are the same as the Republican platform, therefore the "tea party" did not cost Romney the election. However, a lot of the pressure to include those planks came from people who identified with—the "tea party," vague as the concept is.
3) As to the August, 2011, budget impasse, I argued the "tea party" showed its true colors when it refused to compromise. You countered with a reference to the Democrats’ promise of spending cuts under Bush I 20 years ago. I need to research your claim as to the Democrats more.
4) As to the States, check U.S. News & World Report, 9/18/12.
I will try to respond to the balance of your argument tomorrow. Right now, I have to get to the office.