Ross Douthat relays the strongest critique of the Tea Party:
Sure, liberals allowed, Tea Partiers said that they cared about runaway government spending, but polls showed that most of them actually felt more strongly about tax cuts than real fiscal discipline, and believed that the deficit could be pared back without touching Medicare or Social Security or defense.
But the movement has proved these detractors wrong, he argues, noting that "a couple months into the new G.O.P. era, and the party’s Congressional leadership has formally committed itself to providing a blueprint for entitlement reform, the immense political risks notwithstanding." His evidence for this? A Weekly Standard piece that says that a future budget plan by the GOP will include serious entitlement cuts. But in that very piece, we also learn
Still, there remains considerable disagreement among elected Republicans about the wisdom of taking on entitlement reform. Many Republicans, including some with impeccable Tea Party credentials, are uneasy with the idea of making a case on entitlements immediately before a presidential election. They worry that the White House will demagogue any proposed changes to scare seniors, the most active and important voting bloc. It is unclear what, exactly, Ryan will include in his budget proposal.
That plan is scheduled apparently for early April. So lets wait and see, shall we? But if the GOP really does propose grown-up plans to cut entitlement spending, the Dish will be the first to cheer them on. Obama's dismal, total failure to tackle this head-on in his SOTU has given the GOP an opening. If they take it, and regain the mantle of true fiscal conservatism - not petty and damaging cuts to the relatively trivial matter of debt caused by domestic discretionary spending and pork - good for them.