"Americans are skeptical of both political parties, especially when it comes to spending," Ryan says.

That encapsulates Tea Party angst, in a way: The movement is made up of people who didn't want to vote for John McCain and were also disenchanted with Bush over his administration's spending levels and his initiation of the TARP bailout.

Ryan probably did well to acknowledge that, since so much of the GOP's activist base claims to be fed up with both parties, and since his colleague Michele Bachmann is about to give an alternative, tea-party SOTU response.