I'd say the Tea Party is the minority within the GOP, but it is the most vocal and active. The Tea Party hates government and they have a visceral hate of Obama because he's the polar opposite of what these people stand for. Tea Party members are largely uninformed. You can plainly see that if you check out any of the tea party videos.
They despise the republican party because they believe republicans have sold out their values.
I would also say the Tea Party attracts racists and bigots, who hate gay people, who hate liberals, who hate immigrants, who hate anyone who isn't like them. These are people who largely hate out of fear. I'd bet 100% call themselves Christians, ironically.
They are the same people we saw come out in droves to Sarah Palin's rallies during the campaign.
Not everyone who attended a tea party has those persuasions but I'm convinced that the essence of the rising Tea Party is fear and hate.
Politico touches on the GOP rebellion today:
But outside Washington, the reality is very different. Rank-and-file Republicans remain, by all indications, staunchly conservative, and they appear to have no desire to moderate their views. GOP activists and operatives say they hear intense anger at the White House and at the party’s own leaders on familiar issues – taxes, homosexuality, and immigration. Within the party, conservative groups have grown stronger absent the emergence of any organized moderate faction.Who are the Tea Partiers? Remember these people:
There is little appetite for compromise on what many see as core issues, and the road to the presidential nomination lies – as always – through a series of states where the conservative base holds sway, and where the anger appears to be, if anything, particularly intense.
"There is a sense of rebellion brewing," said Katon Dawson, the outgoing South Carolina Republican Party chairman, who cited unexpectedly high attendance at anti-tax “tea parties” last week.