The "tea partiers" manipulated by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Dick Armey, and plenty of Republicans are at a level of identity and consciosuness which is chauvinistic, nationalistic, ethnocentric and, in typical right-wing fashion, paranoid about our being attacked by all the not-like-us other groups. It's a low level of consciousness, and until they grow out of it, we'll have a block of reactionaries yelling and screaming and blocking change.
They also are afraid of big government (except in its defense functions), because they are confusing the pre-individual collective oppression we had (on this planet) under communism and fascism with the trans-individual conscious collective "we" that is democratic government that represents us, that serves the large conscious "us," and is Constitutionally prohibited against transgressing our own civil rights. These unfortunate people who haven't even grown to full individuality to think for themselves are oblivious to the fact that we live in a corporate plutocracy, and the threat from that to our democracy and well being on all fronts is much greater than their delusional "big government" fears.
The further down the chain of consciousness one lives at, the more OTHERS one fears (rendered through hatred -same thing- aversion) others unlike oneself. The Islamic fundamentalists are prime examples, of course. The tea-partiers aren't too many levels above that.
The politicians, including the loathsome Lieberman, may have some right-wing ethnocentric, nationalistic, paranoid beliefs, but are more likely influenced by living large via contributions and other ways they are interested parties, funneling in filthy lucre from the big healthcare, energy, and military-industrial corporations.