One of the things that bothers me is the use of the term “conservative” by people that are clearly not conservative. The essence of conservative philosophy is the law of unintended consequences. It goes: When there is a change a lot of things change that are not intended. It is “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.”
The idea of defaulting on our debt is probably one of the most radical ideas ever proposed. The consequences are huge. Now, it may or may not be a good idea; but it is clearly not a conservative idea. I don’t like Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, but her vote to avoid the “fiscal cliff” is what a conservative would do.
A reformer would take you off the fiscal cliff (they want things to be different). The tea party is about reforms, reforms to make a smaller government (except abortion, where they want really big government to tell you what to choose). I think it is more accurate to call them Puritans or the American Taliban than conservatives.