The Tea Party movement is famous for its persistent expression of rage. It has been elevated by partisans who want to channel that rage to harm their opponents, and it has been misinterpreted by progressive politicians as a result of ignorance and poor anger management. Those superficial qualities are symptoms; the movement is an alarm bell that neither party seems equipped to respond to.
The alarm is clearly about the erosion of the influence of the individual, the small organization, local culture. The alarm is not about taxes or liberalism or spending or immigrants; those are all targets of convenience. The alarm is an attempt to alert us to our own reduced importance in a world not run by us or by our representatives, but by powerful, impenetrable interests.