If one can overlook the tea party's glib interpretations of U.S. history and the Constitution, the fundamental frustrations expressed are understandable.
The angry recognition a compliant government bureaucracy and greedy, corrupt financial industry tanked the economy and left taxpayers with an expensive mess has lots of sympathy.
How does that lead the tea party to Republicans? Mitt Romney will hold Wall Street accountable?
The eight GOP candidates at the tea party/CNN debate in Tampa, Fla., were a mix of comedy relief and cynicism. Droll ideologues eager to deconstruct the federal government's most successful programs going back deep into the 20th century.
They all basically said it: Take regulations and taxes off the nation's wealthiest, and everything will be just fine. I am waiting for the next line of that arrogant litany: People are poor and unemployed because God does not like them.
The GOP is campaigning like it's 1928. Why the tea party invests any confidence or credibility in the candidates least likely to act on their families' behalf is stunning.
Makes me think the tea party is simply part of that giant hustle whereby vested interests that do not want any change work hard to ensure the conversation stays far away from economic realities.
The more inflammatory the talk about "liberty issues," the more insulated lucrative tax and financial perquisites are from examination or reform.
Gov. Rick Perry. Oh, please. The nation has been the smug-Texas-governor route. Two wars and a Great Recession later we will not make that mistake again.
Perry took time off the campaign trail grousing about federal spending to race home and complain the checks were not coming fast enough from Washington amid devastating wildfires.
This from the state that cut money to volunteer fire departments by 75 percent.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul had a perfect deer-in-the-headlights moment when asked about a hypothetical 30-year-old with no health insurance who needs extended care. Paul was mute. The answer to who pays is everyone else with insurance. Unreimbursed expenses are built into the overhead charged others.
So those deep thinkers have no clue how to provide a universal system where everyone pays something to get covered. Oops, not quite. They like health savings accounts the 30-year-old may or may not pay into, after he may or may not contribute to a voluntary retirement plan, because those GOP candidates all want to kill off Social Security.
Of course they would leave it intact for current and pending retirees because they vote, snidely assuming seniors have no concerns about the well-being of their children and grandchildren years hence.
Cut the military budget? Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich just about hyperventilated as he brainstormed a list of potential enemies to worry about. Even Paul got into a semantical game of military versus defense for avoiding cuts.
Could they please make up their minds on one point: Is it President Obama the socialist, or Obama the failed jobs provider?
The White House has a plan to rehab and build the roads, bridges, ports and air services that have been ignored since the Reagan era. The GOP doesn't like it, even if improving the infrastructure of commerce helps the country stay competitive in the world economy.
More Americans live in poverty and do not have health insurance. U.S. companies are sitting on scads of cash. Taxpayers bailed out banks that will not extend credit to small business.
The Republican candidates are all about trickle down. Make the rich richer; you'll be fine.
Tea-party believers have real gripes about jobs, treatment by lenders and regulators that abetted investment scams to loot the economy.
Tea-party cares and concerns are not addressed by eight glossy GOP candidates.
Lance Dickie is a columnist for The Seattle Times. His email address is email@example.com.