April 13th, 2009
06:28 PM ET
3 years ago

Activists gear up for national 'Tax Day Tea Party'

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Legions of small-government, anti-tax activists around the country are mobilizing for a second wave of nationwide "Tea Party" demonstrations on Wednesday to protest the fiscal policies of the Obama administration.

Frustrated conservatives are expected to gather in towns and cities from Pensacola to Portland on April 15 for a national "Tax Day Tea Party" that organizers hope will send a message to Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill that the president's spending plans are putting the country on a potentially ruinous economic path.

Several GOP congressmen and other prominent Republicans like South Carolina governor Mark Sanford and former House speaker Newt Gingrich are speaking at rallies around the country.

Georgia Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, the chairman of the conservative House Republican Study Committee, said he has plans to speak to at least two Tea Party rallies in his state on Wednesday. He called the gatherings "a visible display of concern and frustration and angst about the direction of the nation."

"I think these Tea Parties answer the question for many folks, 'What can we do?'," Price said.

Keith Appell, a Republican strategist who has been working with some of the Nationwide Tea Party organizers, said that the president's spending plans - a $787 stimulus package, a publicly-financed plan to help distressed mortgages, and a series of cash infusions for financial firms - have sparked "a backlash at the grassroots level."

With congressional Republicans in a powerless minority, he said, the Tax Day protesters are “filling the vacuum.”

He said the demonstrators are not only rebelling against Obama, but also pushing back against Republican leaders who have lost sight of the party's fiscally conservative principles.

"A lot of conservatives were very turned off by the Bush administration's bank bailout," Appell said. "But once Obama's people started doubling down and tripling down, and Santelli played a part, the fuse had been lit."

"Santelli" refers to CNBC correspondent Rick Santelli, whose on-air rant in February about the White House's mortgage rescue plan inspired free-market activists to get organized.

The Tea Party movement quickly went viral thanks to conservative bloggers, Web tools like Twitter and Google Maps, and a helping hand from Fox News and conservative groups like FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity.

The first round of Tea Parties, intended to evoke memories of the the 1773 Boston Tea Party that helped incite the American Revolution, were organized in late February.

A number of congressional offices have since been bombarded with envelopes and packages containing tea bags sent by constituents. A spokeswoman for the United States Postal Service told CNN that postal officials haven't discerned any noticeable spike in the amount of tea bags in the mail, but she said that "our employees have noticed some spillage of tea."

Internet entrepreneurs have also turned the Nationwide Tea Party into something of a cottage industry: bumper stickers, coffee mugs and t-shirts that bear slogans like "Free Markets, Not Free Loaders" and "Restore the Republic: Revolt Against Socialism" can be purchased in bulk online.


Filed under: Tea Party movement
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. phoenix86

    Obama is not turning the US into a socialist state. He is turning us into a fascist state.

    April 13, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Tea Party? Where in the world? Oh my Gosh!!!

    April 13, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. fielding mellish

    Funny that none of these tea party folks protested when taxes during the Reagan administration were 10% higher.

    April 13, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  4. MarcPT

    It's great theater and for a good cause, but we are in the era of the liberal socialist. The experiment will have to play out (apparently it will be different in America from how it has worked in the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea or Europe). Now pay up! Of just kick back while we take care of you...depending on your socio-economic status.

    April 13, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  5. Bob (Illinois)

    Pathetic! Why can't the GOP come up with some CONSTRUCTIVE ideas?

    April 13, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  6. Cynthia, NY

    Obama is taxing wealthy people. Reagan taxed them 10% more than Obama is taxing them. I don't remember tea parties during Reagan's administration. What idiots. They allow wealthy people to influence them to demonstrate against Obama, who is trying to help them. Morons.

    April 13, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Why weren't any of the great conservatives upset with Bush for financing 2 wars. Gosh darn, hasn't that lead to the deficit? When you consider the amount of money we have spent since '91 the Bush bailout is chicken fee.

    April 13, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  8. Erin

    Huh. I don't recall any tea parties in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 or 2008 when BUSH was running up the deficit. I guess it's OK to do it when you're a republican, but a democrat who gives the biggest middle-class tax cut in recent history deserves to have a protest thrown against him? It makes no sense.. but little the GOP does any more makes sense.

    If the GOP would spend as much time coming up with solutions to this country's problems as they do throwing "Tea Parties", they might be taken a bit more seriously.

    April 13, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. Get Well Soon GOP

    Gr8 move GOP. This is an original and community based activity. I look forward to hearing your platform and great ways to bring this country back.

    April 13, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  10. truthsayer

    These are the same people that were at Sarah Palin rallies. Nuff said!!!

    April 13, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  11. Don in Vermont

    When will you silly partisans learn..

    April 13, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  12. David Gray

    What are they protesting? The stimulus package contained on of the biggest tax cuts in US history? My household is getting an extra $120 a month!!!

    April 13, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  13. GOP is done!

    Nothing says "stop spending" like spending money on tea and then dumping it.

    You guys are goooood!

    April 13, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  14. arithmetic is liberal

    Internet entrepreneurs have also turned the Nationwide Tea Party into something of a cottage industry: bumper stickers, coffee mugs and t-shirts that bear slogans like "Free Markets, Not Free Loaders" and "Restore the Republic: Revolt Against Socialism" can be purchased in bulk online.

    What I would like to know:

    How many people who bought the "Restore the Republic: Revolt Against Socialism" bumper sticker actually know what socialism means?

    It baffles me how entire segments of the population have been hoodwinked, duped, lied to, swindled, and taken to the cleaners by the "Free Market + Jesus" Party, who want to turn them into powerless monieless peons.

    April 13, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  15. Peter

    I understand that we dont want Socialism, but is it so important we'll kill over it?

    April 13, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  16. Nepali Son

    Bunch of wingnuts desperately eager show their theethless face on tv. Nothing more.

    April 13, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  17. Chi Town

    Nothing wrong with a peaceful assembley to express your concern.

    That's what the country is about...

    This will get bashed hard here in a few...

    April 13, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  18. paul k

    Let's see how many will show up at so called tea party...
    These right wing so called fiscal conservatives..
    Wonder where they'been hiding when Bush and his cronies were raising our national debt to trillions....it's simply laughable...

    April 13, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  19. Joe E.

    Are they all going to dump the tea in the water from their yachts and cigarette boats? The only people complaining about the rise in tax rates are the 1% of those (over 250K) whose rates are going to rise to the 90's and 80's rates. Boo Hoo! Boo Hoo!

    I feel NO sympathy for people who don't feel it is their civic duty to provide for the welfare of the public at large. Greed and avarice were not called deadly sins for no reason. Grow up and stop being greedy!

    April 13, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  20. Jasmine in Germany

    It's great that everyone can afford to send tea bags instead of cooking oatmeal for their kids' breakfast. The "conservative" party disappeared years ago, in its place is an "extreme right" party. Maybe the GOP should take a good look into a mirror.

    April 13, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  21. ron

    republicans would rather the country continue with the bush tax cuts for the rich and borrow money from the Chinese to pay for the wars that they started or the medicare part d that bush got past in the middle of the night.

    April 13, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  22. New York

    Therefore, those radicals don't want to pay taxes. what about our country?. i want people to stand up against those unpatriot americans.

    April 13, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  23. President Obama could walk on water and the Party of NO would still complain that he left footprints!

    The satellite shot from space that shows 2 million on the Mall on 1/20/09 was the REAL tea party.

    This Tea Party for the repubs, is just a gathering of the Arayan Nation but under a more acceptable name!

    April 13, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  24. RMM

    Hmmm..people protesting against higher taxes for the wealthy. The same wealthy who under Ronald Reagan paid a tax rate 10% higher than they will under Obama. I don't get it?! Especally since I am one of those wealthy people. I thought we had an election last Nov over these questions and the people spoke. And I, like the majority, voted for this new direction. Let's get on with it.

    April 13, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  25. ron

    The beautiful sound of the GOP scratching and clawing from inside the casket. Buh bye now.

    April 13, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
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