I just finished Senator Jim DeMint's (R-South Carolina) book The Great American Awakening: Two Years that Changes America, Washington, and Me (2011) on the rise of the Tea Party and principled conservatism in 2009. I highly recommend this well-written and short book.
In keeping with the "short" theme of Senator DeMint's Book I decided to limit my self to a single citation which, in my estimation sums up, the Tea Party and principled conservatism: decentralization.
Decentralization is not a new idea for American government; it is the idea. It's called federalism. In America's original design, individuals held most of the authority and responsibility in America. From the individual, authority moved to families, churches, and volunteer organizations. Local and state governments provided a framework of law and order, and the federal government was created by the states to provide for the national defense, ensure justice, and to facilitate interstate commerce. But very little of what federal government does today was ever intended to be functions of a centralized national government.
There are two good reasons why we must restructure the federal government and devolve many federal programs back to the states: (1) we can't afford them, and (2) it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that the federal government cannot manage programs effectively or cost-efficiently.
The question Americans should be asking is not what else the federal government should do to solve out problems, but what the federal government must let go of to save our nation.