Not too long ago, Americans only dressed up in George Washington wigs and tri-corner hats on the Fourth of July. But then the tea party came along. Colonial garb started turning up at rallies all year around.
In quick order, the legacy of 1776 started "belonging" to the tea party crowd. The Founding Fathers, the tea partisans claimed, wouldn't abide government interference in their lives. And neither should we. If we today just stayed true to 1776, the United States would remain forever "exceptional."