The problem with the Tea Party was when it became a trademark, a brand name, a labelled 'movement'. Back when Ron Paul started the tidal wave back in 2007 people were genuinely interested in his ideas and passionate about it. Then it got co-opted by the Koch Brothers and other Republican bandwagon-hoppers. Now newcomers like Rand Paul now have to play the dangerous balancing game of balancing compromising your original values to gain acceptance and outright selling out.
I prefer the 2007 tea party movement to this new 'Tea Party'. They're trying too hard to make it a new political party and instead forgetting what the sparked the original revolution.