Part of the recommended piece Libertarians rising, Republicans riding, Liberals receding:
Libertarians were soaring and leading the charge at the tea parties despite the relatively small percentage of people who consider themselves to be Libertarian. Hopping on to ride on their coat-tails were many Republicans, who seemed to suddenly remember that they were the party of Reagan, who himself stood for lower taxes, smaller government and fiscal responsibility. Of course it was hard for contemporary Republicans to achieve strong credibility on those issues because of their inability and/or unwillingness to reign in government spending or reduce the size and scope of the government when they controlled the presidency and both houses of Congress. There are not many Reagan-like figures left in the party that he once led so brilliantly.
I'd also have to agree that some of the Democrats who tried to either scorn or try to make the tea parties appear to be Republican ideas was disheartening.