This picture should explain pretty clearly why the conservative revolt was so easily co-opted by Washington:
The chart shows what percent of the average state’s citizen’s income is comprised of federal money (i.e. how much of one’s income comes in the form of federal handouts). As is clear, conservative states receive a larger proportion of federal handouts.
However, it needs to be noted that there are two serious shortcomings to this analysis. First, the analysis is relative, not absolute. It may be that liberal receive more federal money in absolute terms but it is distributed among a larger population. Second, the analysis is on a state level, instead of a county or individual level. I’m not inclined to believe that the analysis would change dramatically if measurements were absolute and at an individual level, though it is possible.
Anyhow, if this analysis is to be believed, the reason why the Tea Party never actually managed to get the federal government to cut spending is because the conservatives that comprised the Tea Party are just as big government as the liberals they claim to oppose.