6. Dick Armey
The former Republican House Majority Leader, who left Congress in 2003, doesn’t take credit for the “Tea Party” movement. At every opportunity, Armey pays tribute to groups such as the Tea Party Patriots, run on the free time of workaday conservative activists, and he blanches when liberals accuse his organization FreedomWorks — where Armey makes a reported $250,000 per year as a consultant — of hatching their protests. Still, Armey’s second life as a grassroots hero has shed light on the anger modern conservatives have for both parties. Armey is credible because he staged a coup in 1997 against Newt Gingrich (a conservative hero whose star dimmed considerably after he endorsed Dede Scozzafava in NY-23′s special election), and because he quit Congress before — in the minds of Tea Partiers — the GOP majority went off the rails. Armey doesn’t even like the GOP that much; at a November premiere of a Tea Party documentary, he told TWI that the party was only the “best outlet” for free-market conservatives.