One reason I cannot take the Tea Party seriously as an actual small government movement is that they are not campaigning against nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan, were overwhelmingly silent as Bush expanded the entitlement state far more recklessly than Obama, but above all their indifference to the claims of Bush and Cheney about executive power. All this "Don't Tread On Me" stuff is something I sympathize with, along with romantic ideas of individual freedoms protected by the Constitution.

But where were they when a US president seized a US citizen on American soil, made unsubstantiated charges against him, locked him away with no due process and tortured him until he became a quivering wreck of a human being? AWOL. Do you think they'd be AWOL if Obama did that to a white American citizen? And claimed he had inherent right to do so regardless of the other branches of government, habeas corpus or the rule of law?

Wendy Kaminer agrees:

Never mind the unaccountable power to detain, interrogate, and even assassinate people, without due process, adopted by both Bush and Obama. Never mind the shadow government spanning both administrations described by the Washington Post in its essential and largely ignored expose of the post 9/11 security state. You can only refer to the Tea Party's "devotion to limited government" with a straight face if you pay no mind to the awesome power of the 21st-century imperial presidency, which Tea Partiers and other right wingers from Christine O'Donnell to Liz Cheney support.

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