December 7th, 2009
01:07 PM ET
8 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. Bugl3t

    I guess the reality that the impetus behind this "grassroots" movement is becoming apparent even to the "choir"...

    like cats, the GOP is nothing if not a bunch of opportunivores...

    December 7, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  2. CommonSense09

    Oh Tea Baggers, crawl back into the hole you came out of. MAybe practice your teabagging there.

    December 7, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  3. Debbie

    FreedomWorks says it all. $$ from insurance companies.

    No thank you.

    December 7, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. Mark S.

    How could such angry hate filled people turn against each other like that? What a shock!!!!

    December 7, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  5. Laurie

    There is no honor among tea baggers. They are vile, sniping creatures who respect noone, not even themselves. People like these eventually eat their own in their dishonest hunger for being a part of the cause whatever the cause happens to be.

    December 7, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  6. NotFooledTX

    Oh no!!!

    Does this mean no more million moron marches?

    December 7, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  7. Big John

    I like the teabaggers... Rachel Maddow explained it really well, hahaha

    December 7, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  8. Obama=Trickle up poverty

    In your dreams!! We are too pissed off with the tax and spend liberals bankrupting our country to quit now. You idealistic fools who think the government is capable of anything will grow up some day and understand our frustration. Those on all the entitlement programs will never understand, you just want the free money to keep flowing.

    December 7, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  9. Nestor

    Destined to fail due to lack of unity.

    December 7, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  10. The Spinn at CNN

    Nice try, CNN. There's no "rift" in this movement but I applaud your effort to thwart their movement that continues to pick up steam with every screw up obama makes.

    Thanks for showing your bias against this movement.

    Try just reporting the news. But be a little more balanced. You guys make me sick.

    December 7, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  11. Jack Fl

    Saw an interesting interview of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates Sunday from Columbia Business College. With questions being asked by 1st and 2nd year students. Several questions refered to the governments response to the financial crisis. Both Mr Gates and Mr Buffet thought the government responded appropriately and Mr Buffett saying we would be in major trouble had it not been done (bailouts). He also made comments about how important integrity and ethics are to succeed in todays business world. Hmmmmm

    December 7, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  12. JonDie

    The Tea Party movement is about the rich and ignorant vying for who can do the least. In a word, the ideal anti-American movement.

    December 7, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    These people need to be busy getting a high school diploma and a college degree because these actions aren't going to reflect any change in their lives. Better yet they could wisely spend their time being innovative in challenging countries like China whose citizens are surpassing us every day in science and education. The only lesson these people are teaching is walking the streets holding up ugly signs that can't be sold to another country.

    December 7, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. jeff

    Tea Bagger movement threatend by mental rift.

    December 7, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  15. Doug

    Look at the dope in the picture. I would've thought these "patriotic" teabaggers would be opposed to flag desecration. Of course, too much teabagging can restrict the flow of oxygen. That explains it.

    December 7, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  16. David W

    The Tea Party has been co-opted and hijacked by the likes of Beck and others and is being totally changed around to benefit the neo-cons as usual. People need to see through this left/right paradigm and back a viable third party since the two-party system is an obvious scam.

    December 7, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  17. Gary

    They know by February there will be 2 more positive labor reports, housing starts will continue to rise, the market will continue to climb and all the lies that these tea baggers and their head tea pot leaders will become apparent. You can only fool some of them for a short time. They will have to figure out more lies to show "They" where the reason for the recovery.

    December 7, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  18. Chandler

    The odd thing is that they started "protesting" in April, but that was the same month that they received the Payroll Tax Cut that was apart of Obama's stimulus program. They show that this is about deep seeded racism and not taxes, because they were completely quite while Bush spent TRILLIONS on subsidies to insurance companies, TRILLIONS on 2 wars, and TRILLIONS on tax cuts that he never found a way to pay for. If this was about out of control spending they would have protested years ago! Bush's spending was going to result in increased taxes for the following President, no matter who it was, because Bush and Republicans in Congress don't know how to pay for what they spend.

    December 7, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  19. Bill

    The "Tea Partiers" I have met are just plain angry bigots. For them, it's not about fiscal conservatism, the healthcare reform debate, etc...it's about the erosion of "power" of White Males. I say this as a white male.

    If it were about Fiscal Conservatism, then todays news from the Fed should have all the Tea Partiers in Obamas's corner. The Federal Government will make a profit on the bailout fund repayments...without raising taxes! But no...it's plainly about President Obama NOT being a white man. The Tea Partiers are pathetic.

    December 7, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. a health economist

    The lack of education in this country is astonishing and the picture in this story says it all. Without socialism we'd have private roads, private police stations, a private military(s). All forms of insurance would be non-existant because they function on the transfer of wealth. No public schools. The list goes on.

    I do have to tip my hat to the Republican party for convincing the average American that socialism=communism, therefore socialism=bad. It will likely set our society back a generation or two. Well done.

    December 7, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  21. john u

    While most tea party participants are sincere the movement itself was started by and financed by wealthy conservative elites, actvists and special interests. The 'small gov't' mantra really is a ruse for no health care reform, no global climate change legislation, no 'interference' in predatory business practices, etc. and these elites continuing to exert as much control on the economy as possible while trying to pass policies that ultimately benefit the elites but paid for by the middle and lower classes. When there was a protest in NYC at bailed out banks and financial institutions a few weeks ago during the WTO meeting in Pittsburgh there wasn't one tea-party protester to be seen....guess their masters didn't want them around for that one. Who do these tea-baggers think is going to fill the power vacuum left by 'small gov't'? well, it won't be them, it'll be big corporations. These private elites are just using the tea party people to get them to do the dirty work while they stay in the background waiting for the spoils.

    December 7, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  22. Photon Torpedo Dallas, TX

    I wish more infighting would occur. This is a very good thing for president Obama's re-election.

    Obama 2012!

    December 7, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  23. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I can see where they are coming from, but my question to them is: where were you when George W. Bush wasn't responsible with his fiscal disicpline? Why didn't you complain when he didn't figure out how to pay for the military activities that are on going as well as the perscription part of Medicare? They are just people who didn't like Obama winning the presidency.

    December 7, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  24. T'SAH from Virginia

    Wow, everyone in my neighborhood get along. There are White, African Americans, Mexican, Italians, Asian, and Hispanics – to name a few!!! I DO NOT see them all RILED UP to march on Washington?? Who are these people that are getting SO MUCH air time – FREE, especially with CNN – and what do they think is going to come out of it??

    If the LEFT had the time and money to just take off and form a rally against what these people represent, it would be a tremendous site to see how many people will show up!!!

    Jeez! It’s sickening and scary because all I see in the background are GUNS and CRAZY people who like using them!!!

    GOD BLESS AMERICA and KEEP US SAFE!!

    December 7, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  25. DJ

    I am shocked to see such horrible pictures of our President. These are the same people that defended and questioned anyone who faced Bush and his idiotic policies, which got us in this mess in the first place.

    December 7, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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