What'll happen to the tea party once tea partiers start getting jobs?

She and others who receive government benefits see no contradiction in fighting against big government, which Tea Party activists describe as a sure path to socialism. They paid into Medicare and Social Security, they argue, so they are getting what they deserve.

“All I know is government was put here for certain reasons,” Ms. Reimer said. “They were not put here to run banks, insurance companies, and health care and automobile companies. They were put here to keep us safe.”…

[McQueen] blames the government for his unemployment. “Government is absolutely responsible, not because of what they did recently with the car companies, but what they’ve done since the 1980s,” he said. “The government has allowed free trade and never set up any rules.”

He and others do not see any contradictions in their arguments for smaller government even as they argue that it should do more to prevent job loss or cuts to Medicare. After a year of angry debate, emotion outweighs fact.