Since the alleged conservative "Reagan revolution," the Republicans have proven themselves far bigger spenders (on useless things like war) than the Democratic Party ever dreamed of (on useful things such a social insurance and education). The Republicans have not banned abortion, despite all their bellyaching and they really don't want to: they'll lose the base once they do.
George W. Bush's government intervention in the economy was a far larger and swifter infusion than anything Barack Obama eeked out of a (Democratic?) Congress.
So, I'm not really worried about the Tea Party.
Governing is much, much tougher than speaking out against the horror of masturbation out in the hustings. By the time these so-called rebels land in Washington, they'll be bought and paid for, and if they aren't they won't get anywhere. We've always had the best Congress money can buy. That's not changing.
The real difference between Republicans and Democrats at the street level. The Democrats use put downs so clever that most of their targets don't even get; and, sure, they really should cut that out. But the Republicans are the perennial schoolyard bullies and when they reign out comes all the silly and not so silly name calling.
How far, really, is shouting to the first black president "you lie" from calling him a "n-----"?
So out comes the rumor mongering. In 2009 it was "death panels," most recently it's the absurd claim that President Obama's trip to India costs $200 million a day (brought to you, no surprise, by Rupert Murdock's New York Daily "News").
That's what gets me.