Anyway, I thought I would go to Merriam-Webster to get the formal definition of each group - to see if there is any common ground. Alas, not even a Google researched definition of these terms is constant -- there seem to be as many different definitions as there are dictionaries.... so, I ended up just taking the abbreviated Google definitions. After all this blog isn't called Political Science 401!!!
conservatism definition. A general preference for the existing order of
society, and an opposition to efforts to bring about sharp change.
The Tea Party movement is an American political movement known for its conservative positions and its role in the Republican Party ("GOP"). It demands a reduction in the U.S. national debt and federal budget deficit by reducing government spending and taxes.
Now, having read these four definitions several times -- I see very little in common between any of the four groups - and certainly don't find them interchangable on the Left or the Right. Liberals are not Progressives even if they hide under that banner, and Conservatives are not Tea Partiers of the far right.
If I was playing that famous word play game where you have to shout out a word as soon as a word is given to you, I guess my results would look something like:
Liberal --------- Nanny State
Progressive--- Big Gob'mint
Tea Partier---- Least gob'mint
If these don't fit your definitions, share your thoughts in the comments section below --