The leaderless, vague nature of the "Tea Party" certainly seems to serve it well. If any self-described member embarrasses anyone publicly, then they weren't really a real member and it's easy to distance oneself. So it ends up becoming a general framework that just about anyone can readily latch onto and co-opt for just about any pet cause that slightly aligns. The same can be said for the "Occupy" movement.
Like so many movements, the whole thing reeks of fascism. All the basic parts are there.
We've got oaths and oath keepers, a strong desire to return to tradition and a strong reverence for history (regressive tendencies and historical nostalgia). There are flags and symbols (Don't Tread On Me) and the elevation of documents to near religious stature (Free pocket Constitutions from the Heritage Foundation to carry and memorize and the infallible enshrining of the "Founding Fathers"and the likes). Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is the creation of a boogeyman/common enemy that is simultaneously within and without, constantly threatening to destroy our very way of life, as evidenced by Tea Party sites espousing the maintenance of "Judeo-Christian" values, "family values", maintaining English as the "official" language of our country, and a hard-line stance on borders and immigration, both legal and otherwise.
Edit: Fascism is probably the wrong word to use here, as it's pretty vague. Probably more accurate in my mind to characterize it as regressive and conformist.