My observations: Americans do not like the "political party establishments."
Yet somehow we can't escape this darn two-party system.
My views: the point Dogbrain does have is that what conservativism means has shifted. If conservatives still thought and voted like my now-passed-on conservative grandfather, I'd be much more likely to be a truly independent "independent" and back conservatives on certain issues. However, conservativism of the Dogbrain sort has largely become extinct, and "conservative" now means one or more of the following:
1. Fine with corporations buying and running the government
2. Totally OK with the most non-conservative environmental policies ever- rape, pillage, and plunder with no thought for future generations, sustainability, or even maximizing economic return on resource use.
3. Right-wing religious views, with a focus on blocking civil rights for gay people, minority religions, etc. and ignoring any respect for separation of church and state.
Basically, my view of the Tea Party is that they seem like an angry bunch of folks who don't have much in the way of solutions. And sorry if this makes me a stuck-up pretentious "liberal" (I would call myself closer to being outright socialist, not a liberal Democrat)... but my impression of the Tea Party is that it is filled with people who, quite frankly, are not educated enough on the most pressing issues, who are like bulls in a china shop in terms of cultural competency, and who are unlikely to listen to experts in various fields of inquiry. It's not about ivory-tower intellectualism. It's knowing that the problems we face can't be solved with anger combined with the kind of common sense that drives, say, balancing your budget at home. We live in a complex and global economy with a ton of competing issues, each of which are impacted by and in turn impact millions of people in the US and billions of people abroad.
Sorry, but when I look at Palin, who I see as the quintessential Tea Partier, I see someone who is not educated enough, who is incapable of listening to others who don't share her views, who is a fringe right-wing Christian (I mean, the woman endorsed witch hunts in Africa, for Christ's sake!), who has been proven to have little to no competency in foreign affairs or even understanding people who are different from her, and who is inarticulate.
I find the Democrats to be the only option... not because I think they're great (because I think they're pretty lousy, really), but because I refuse to endorse people who bring their religion into their governance. I'm anti-theocratic, and will do everything I can to ensure our government stays as religiously neutral as possible. We can and should have morals and laws. We should NOT be basing those on a single sliver of one religion's morals and laws that were written for another culture and society over 2000 years ago.
The primary reasons I can't even *consider* a Republican are that they are: against a woman's right over their own body, against equal rights for gay people, and generally seem like they'd like to oppress cultural, religious, and other diversity. Not to mention the big issue of their track record on dealing with the poor (let's just let rich people get richer, get rid of regulation of business, and let poor people get screwed!).
The Tea Party seems to be the farthest fringe (without going off into truly cult-like fringe movements) of the reasons I do not like the Republican party.
ETA: I do not mean education to mean only formal education. People may be educated through reading, watching PBS and multiple countries' news shows to get a more balanced perspective, learn languages and other things through CDs in their car, etc. By education, I mean the broad, sweeping commitment to learning over the course of one's life and being open to the input of others and new ideas, including the developments that come out of research.