Katie Couric interviewed a few teabaggers to get to the bottom of their beliefs, because generally the media hasn't bothered to check them out like we have.
Katie Couric sits down with a couple of teabaggers to find out what they really believe. And it turns out that they believe in individual liberty, fiscal responsibility, free markets, limited government, low taxes, a strong national defense and protecting our borders against the immigrant invasion. They think the government has usurped the constitution and see themselves as uber-patriots fulfilling the founders' intent. They believe fervently in American exceptionalism and that the nation is under mortal threat from foreign enemies without and traitors within. They are divided on social issues but insist that they are irrelevant to their movement --- they repeat Republican talking points verbatim but insist they are not Republicans. In other words they are standard issue conservative movement wingnuts without the cross.
If you don't want to bother listening to them, you can just listen to Glenn Beck and you'll get the picture. These guys aren't as entertaining but he's obviously their leader.
This is the right wing I grew up with --- before the God Squad was recruited and turned the movement into the panty sniffing morals police. I know them very well. They are racists and conspiracy mongers and they have absolutely no business being anywhere near real power. The Big Money boyz know they have nothing to fear from them --- indeed, they sponsor them. They are good Republicans even if they don't know it.
Either they are lying that they aren't conservatives or just plain ignorant about their beliefs. I believe it's a little of both. Some really just found politics and have been brainwashed to hate the government because they saw what happened under George Bush. President Obama's first year has been for the most part to try and save the country from conservatism and then try to pass health care. We might terribly dislike the approach he's taken towards these problems, but that's it in the nutshell.
The teabaggers are an extension of movement conservatism, and especially its long use of the politics of resentment. That started with Goldwater and morphed into the New Right and then Abramoff and Norquists' College Republicans. They've always found it useful to stor up right-wing populism. Their idea that left-wing libertarians can join with them is absurd in any meaningful way; the Tea Party exists for one reason, to attack the left. I will change my mind if and when the Tea Party movement does one thing that actually hurts conservatism and conservative politicians when it counts. I'm not holding my breath.