Atrios offers the view that nobody can say what the Tea Party crew was protesting: “The problem is that it was never clear what they were protesting. So far Obama has cut taxes for most of the population and… well, that’s it.”
I don’t really think that’s right. As Ross Douthat says, you can think of them as protesting the implied future tax increases associated with the current projected deficits.
Indeed, I don’t really think there’s any “problem” with the Tea Parties except for the fact that they’re dead wrong on the merits. Had we implemented what I take to be their preferred policies — no bailout, “spending freeze,” and tax cuts; something along the lines of Jim DeMint’s alternative stimulus plan — we would have millions of additional unemployed Americans, more malnourished children, more cutbacks in city services, a longer recession, slower long-term growth, and higher budget deficits. It’s too bad that such a large minority of the public has such drastically wrongheaded views, and it’s really too bad that conservatives elites spend a lot of time misinforming their constituents rather than acting responsibility. But there’s no reason that the 30 percent or so of America who espouses hard-right political beliefs shouldn’t wave signs and talk about their point of view.