Perception: Milton Friedman was a conservative.
Reality: Friedman, and Hayek, saw themselves as radical in attacking the root of the problem [socialism].
Tyler Cowen from Marginal Revolution recommended this C-SPAN Book TV video from 1994 featuring Milton Friedman being interviewed by Brian Lamb about the 50th anniversary release of Hayek’s book The Road to Serfdom. At the 50:30 mark, when asked about Kenneth Galbraith, Friedman explains beautifully about the difference between socialism and freedom and why he is no conservative, as we now — now being the latter half of the 20th century, hey the dude was born in 1912 — define it. So while someone like Friedman would probably have issues with the particulars of specific Tea Party proposals, I believe he would have supported the movement itself.
How good was Milton Friedman? He’s been dead for 5 years and the hyper-partisan Paul Krugman is still afraid to cross him.