The current incarnation of the Tea Party bears no resemblance to the original Boston Tea Party. The colonist movement that began in 1773 was a true grass roots organization that fought against the British East India company because of trade advantages it wielded over smaller tea traders. They fought over tax breaks given to the monopolistic East India Company and tax increases levied on smaller businesses - the exact opposite of what the the current 'Tea Party Patriots' want: Tax breaks for big corporations. The new Tea Party claims that the Obama Administration is attempting a giant federal overreach and is raising taxes on tha nation. The exact opposite is in fact true, as Obama has slashed taxes for 95% of the population. Obama has slightly raised taxes on large corporations and the rich bringing levels up to around where they were under Bill Clinton and significantly under where they were under Ronald Reagan.
So where was the Tea Party when Reagan, Bush Sr, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were in power? Chez Pazienza has some thoughts:
The fact is that the Tea Party came to be only after Barack Obama became president; no one made the decision that he or she had had enough and needed to join with like-minded individuals to "fight back" against government waste and overreach until the person supposedly behind it wasn't the traditional aging white, Christian male who had occupied the White House since the thing was built.
While there are certainly positive elements of the Tea Party Patriot's movement (genuine government waste is a real problem), it's anger seems to be largely misguided. It is targeted against a government that is trying to work in favor of the middle class (comparatively speaking), not against it. If the intellectual basis for the movement does not exist, so logically speaking we must assume that something else is going on - and one difference between Barack Obama and his predecessors who all presided over remarkably similar policies - is his skin color.