I also suspect that it contributed in no small part to conservative turnout in the 2010 election cycle. Even if "Tea Party" candidates weren't winning general elections, there were quite a few mainstream GOP candidates riding the coattails of the Tea Party all the way to Washington.
And, the place where they really showed their strength as at the local and state level. Ohio, as one example, is being redistricted by a republican controlled statehouse thanks in large part to the excitement generated by the Tea Party.
I think that in general, most voters think that the office of the president has more power with regards to policy than it actually does.
OTOH, I can see why people might think that after the general Democratic uselessness as the majority party in Congress during the last years of the Bush '43 administration.
In a way it's pretty awesome how thoroughly pissed off firefighters are over 'the only good union is a dead union' approach Walker and Rausch have taken.
Mrs. H. being a teacher - well you'd have to be insane to teach without being a union member. She might be going on strike too. For is actually a pay cut.You can't inspire people with facts- Small Gods
"Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, there are no libertarians in financial crises." -Krugman