December 7th, 2009
01:07 PM ET
10 months ago

Tea Party movement threatened by internal rifts

Protesters march through Washington at a Tea Party Express rally on September 12.
Protesters march through Washington at a Tea Party Express rally on September 12.

Washington (CNN) – It emerged in anger and it threatens to split in anger.

One major group in the Tea Party movement - named after the famous Boston Tea Party - is set to host its first convention in February, with former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin as its keynote speaker.

But there are fractures in the movement that threaten its future. And if history's any guide, such movements tend to flame out.

The Tea Party movement erupted on April 15 - tax day - over criticism of President Obama's economic policies and what organizers called big government out of control. The movement, made up of local, state and national groups, continues to protest what it considers fiscally unsound policies.

And the movement is well funded. Action groups like FreedomWorks - chaired by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey - helped organize and fund its April 15 rally in Washington.

Other groups, including Americans for Prosperity, Tea Party Nation and Tea Party Patriots, are also vying for the helm of the movement, and it's creating what some are calling "competitive chaos."

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Filed under: FreedomWorks • Tea Party movement
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Enough

    I support this movement. We are sick and tired of the irresponsible Democrats bankrupting this country and raising our taxes. Those who think constantly raising taxes is necessary, don't pay enough to understand. The 47% of Americans who pay NO income tax, just love to raise ours so they can continue to sit home on their couch and collect their entitlement checks.

    December 7, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  2. FRANKIE

    Divisiveness among nut-jobs?
    I'm lovin' it!

    December 7, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  3. Tony

    All of US in the tea-parties are for one thing. SMALLER GOVERNMENT. The first time CNN actually even does a story on the movement and of course it is about a "bitter and angray" group divided. And you wonder why your ratings are getting crushed.

    December 7, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. R in Maine

    Not all of the Tea Party people are traitors and hate mongers, just most of them. The few who are not are complaining about the ones that are. No surprise here.

    December 7, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. dave

    looser Americans....

    December 7, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. Donna Stayman

    I love CNN's and the liberal media's attempt to paint the tea party movement as radical and splitting the republican/conservative ideology. Guess what, the GOP has Obama/Pelosi/Reid to thank for such a huge turnaround in voter sentiment. Common sense voters will take back congress next fall w/ a victory for Republicans, and in 2012, when Obama & his crooked cronies are gone!

    December 7, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. The Dude

    The T-bagger movement is threatened by genetics.

    December 7, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    Great attempt to try and make the fringe right seem irrevelant to the GOP, CNN.

    It won't work though. The tea baggers ARE all the GOP has left of it's base.

    December 7, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. gary

    Wack jobs like rush, palin, beck dint really think they could keep all these morons together, did they? I'm sure fox and cnn will keep these idiots in the news well past their expiry date.

    December 7, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  10. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    You mean that these fine, upstanding citizens are having problems? SAY IT AIN'T SO!!!!!

    December 7, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  11. Obama-Mama

    These people belong in a circus. What a joke.

    December 7, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  12. George

    The tea party people are all communist wackos. They have no brains at all and theirve on ignorance. They walk around with their guns, and say " I'm a man" Weeeee Bubba at his finest.

    December 7, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  13. Kitchen Police

    The lizard brains are turning on each other.

    December 7, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  14. SocialismBad

    Geez, what left-wing liberal wrote this pile of slop? It talks about "extreme fringe" but what about the extreme left-wing fringe actually running this country into the ground?

    Darn right people are angry. They are angry about lying politicains, run away government spending and control over our lives. They are angry with the fiscal irresponsibility of the people running the country. They are angry that there kids will be left in hawk up to their eye balls by the government.

    December 7, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. Dixon

    It appears the economy hasn't hurt most of the Teabaggers. Most are carrying shopping bags, have the time to get away from work and the money to travel.

    December 7, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  16. Peggy

    This is not at all surprising, as the tea partiers are almost all right wingers. Right wingers are all about power and control. Where the hell were these people when bush and company were spending like drunken sailors?????? I believe in my heart, and it hurts me very much as an American to say this, that racism, power and control are what these people are all about. It is entertaining to watch the implosion of their fear based existence.

    December 7, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  17. Jack in Florida

    Good News..............hope they eat each other up!!!

    December 7, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  18. RichP the Pocono's

    We need to keep the career politicians out, they are drawn like bees to honey, they just see us as new source for votes and want to grab on. I for one am sick of those clowns in DC trading away what I worked my whole life for by stacking the playing field against workers and citizens in favor of everyone else in the world.

    December 7, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  19. rta

    how much money is sarah palin to spawn her hate, confusion and division from these people?
    how many of the tea partiers actually work?
    when a real crisis comes to the USA where everyone has to pull together how many tea partiers will be true americans then?

    December 7, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  20. Ruty

    You people are so busy protesting silly crap you didn't even notice congress gave themselves a raise. Senior citizens and disability folk didn't get one red cent. How about protesting THAT.

    December 7, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. Obama = Worst President EVER

    Flame out? Please.

    Like Obama and the Dems in Congress aren't going to stick taxpayers with the bill for their lefty agenda. Someone has to pay it – and, once again, Democrats screw anyone who has a job.

    With Obama running things, Tea Parties will be around for a long time.

    December 7, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. Jokes aside!

    These are confused so called conservatives!! with a single aim " if not broken dont fix"!! The lobbyists, and bourgeoises are hell bent to see the rest of us remain proletarians forever!!

    December 7, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. Jamie

    These people are wingnuts and produce nothing but aimless insane episodes of collective behavior that should embarass Americans. These people have no idea what their even doing except spouting and spelling incorrectly on signs the bad slogans fed to them by GOP.

    December 7, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  24. Amazing

    Those who are against the TEA party movement haven't paid enough taxes or haven't been around long enough to understand our frustration with all the government waste with OUR money. The government needs to learn to budget just like the rest of us. There is no reason Nancy Pelosi should be allowed to spend 3,000 of our money on flowers. At a time where we are all cutting back, they are not, they are spending at a record pace without a care in the world and looking at anything and everything they can tax.

    December 7, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  25. Dave

    Of course there are rifts. Most of these tea-party people are right-wing evangelicals, who are upset because they can't believe their god let them down and put a Democrat in office. They believe all the absurd political things they believe because they've been trained in believing absurdities by their religious leaders. They're easily led and easily used.

    But, one thing religions do better than anything else is create divisions and schisms. That's why my small town has five pages in the Yellow Pages devoted to Baptist churches alone. They can't get together on anything. Any movement with these folks as a base is destined for disunity... it's what they're good at.

    December 7, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
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