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From my v. small direct experience of the USA I would say that the tea party is largely made up of low intelligence, low education, low information, low career achievement magical thinkers. There are huge numbers of these in the States - biblical fundamentalists, creationists, snake handlers, white supremacists, American exceptionalists.
One advantage of Ryan is that consentrating on economy won't expose the rift between libertarians and social conservatives. How large share of swing vote consist of people who are rich enough support republican economic policy but too sofisticated to associate with snake handlers?
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