February 27th, 2010
11:50 AM ET
8 years ago

Tea Party activists to mark one year anniversary


Thousands marched on Washington during a large Tea Party movement rally last September. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)

Washington (CNN) - Tea Party activists across the country are expected Saturday to mark the one year anniversary of their movement.

Tea Party organizers say hundreds of events, ranging from protests, rallies, candidate forums, grassroots training seminars, and even movie screenings of a Tea Party documentary, are expected to be held nationwide.

Tea Party activists trace the birth of their movement to a couple of anti-stimulus protests across the country in mid-February of last year. Those small demonstrations were followed days later by business news correspondent Rick Santelli’s televised rant on February 19, 2009 about the federal government’s Wall Street bailout. Santelli's outburst inspired anti-big government activists to hold Tea Party protests across the country 8 days later.

"On February 27, 2009 a national movement for limited government was born. What started as a few thousand people taking to the streets to protest bailouts and wasteful spending grew to become a massive social movement," says Brendan Steinhauser, director of federal and state campaigns for FreedomWorks, a non-profit conservative organization that helps train volunteer activists and has provided much of the organizational heft behind the Tea Party movement.

"This weekend we want to reinvigorate the movement with hundreds of events around the country, many of them hosted by brand new community organizations. We expect all of this energy to form a tidal wave of electoral power in the November 2010 elections," adds Steinhauser (no relation to this reporter).

Most activists in the grassroots movement call for less federal taxes and spending; a curtailment of some federal powers in the areas they believe are the sovereign domain of state and local governments; opposition to large federal programs such as the $862 billion economic stimulus bill and the $700 billion Wall Street bailout (also known as “TARP”); and opposition to comprehensive heath care reform legislation and cap-and-trade energy legislation supported by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats.

As the movement has grown, tensions have been rising among various Tea Party groups. Rival factions are battling over who will carry the movement’s banner, and others worry that powerful groups are "astroturfing" what they think should remain a grassroots group. There was some pushback against Tea Party Nation when it held what was billed as the first national Tea Party convention, earlier this month in Nashville, Tennessee.

Activists in the Tea Party movement tend to be male, rural, upscale, and overwhelmingly conservative, according to a recent national poll. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey conducted two weeks ago also indicates that the movement’s activists would vote overwhelmingly Republican in a two-party race for Congress. Tea Partiers GOP leanings, the poll suggests, may pose a problem for the Tea Party movement if it tries to turn itself into a third party to compete with the two major parties in this year's general election.

"If the Tea Party runs its own candidates for U.S. House, virtually every vote the Tea Party candidate gets would be siphoned from the GOP candidate, potentially allowing the Democrats to win in districts that they might have otherwise lost," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "While the concept of an independent third party is extremely popular, most Americans, including most Tea Party supporters, don't favor a third party that would result in a winner who disagrees with them on most major issues."
According to the survey, roughly 11 percent of all Americans say they have actively supported the Tea Party movement, either by donating money, attending a rally, or taking some other active step to support the movement.

House Minority Leader John Boehner Saturday praised the movement. In a statement the Republican from Ohio said "The Tea Party movement has reminded us who's really in charge of this country, and that's the American people."

Filed under: Popular Posts • Tea Party movement
soundoff (168 Responses)
  1. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    Maybe they can shoot off all that ammo they have been hoarding.

    February 27, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. I voted for Obama and proud of it in Oregon

    THE KKK is the real name for this actual small group of hateful republican purist whities only group . makes me sick to think how many racist peopl ewe actually have in this great country . . put them all in a boat with a broken rudder let the wind blow them far far away so we can get back to shoring up our econemy from the Bush Cheney Rove mess . Obama is doing a wonderful job keep moving forward
    change is here and we are ready to support you 🙂

    February 27, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. Larry

    If the Tea Party wants to trace it's birth, I feel quite confident INBREEDING would be part of their definition

    What a JOKE

    Just a new version of the old Republican right, the KKK, and every other racist self serving group one might think of

    The TEA PARTY .... laugh out freakin loud !!!

    February 27, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. rob

    The Tea Party should run their own candidates. I've got a special Tea Bag that I'd like to share with them to help them celebrate the occassion. They would go nuts over it.

    February 27, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  5. LisaSig

    Trust me racist have been around longer than a year!Congrats..

    February 27, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  6. Jackalope

    How appropriate... it's their first birthday. Given the infantile behavior they've exhibited so far, I can only imagine what they may do once they enter their "terrible twos."

    I expect the mob tantrums we've witnessed at the town hall meetings and other events are just the warm-up act. Perhaps the actions of previous teabagger types such as Timothy McVeigh, Joe Stack, Eric Rudolph, and Scott Roeder provide clues.

    February 27, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Their movement was highjacked by the NeoCon-Artists and the modern day fascist movement and they dont even know.Grover Norquist and the brownshirts will have them all in prison camps as soon as hes done taking over.hahaha

    February 27, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. Emma

    A coalition such as the tea party surely will not become a majority group
    unless it has effective solutions for addressing America's ills and international diplomacy.

    February 27, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. Tom in Va

    I find it exceedingly interesting (and humurous) that the Tea Party wants less government in their lives yet loudly supports government intevention into our most PERSONAL lives by restricting women's reproductive rights and a person's sexual orientation. How could a governement be anymore intrusive?

    Do they not see their own hypocrisy?

    February 27, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    Less government is what George Bush ran on, and look at what he did to our deficit!!

    February 27, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. denny

    Teabaggers: go live in Hondoras for a year to see what small government (dominated by corporations), low taxes, and more freedom (to live in poverty), you know, your dream come true, is really like. Then return to planet Earth.

    February 27, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. JLM

    These right- wing nuts are protesting what the last administration started, they are the ones who brought this Country to its Knees.

    February 27, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  13. Ed P.

    FYI – the TP movement loses all credibility when "big gov" speakers like Palin and the like speak. Also, with a large amount of wealthy CEO types, it is also humorous as these CEO's are the people responsible for the growth of blind consumerism. Very contradictory to libertarian values and fiscal responsibility.

    That said, I like the concept but have to wonder how such a concept could be implemented with America's service heavy infrastructure. You will have a peasant revolt if you take away Medicare, public education, low income services and make people use their consumer "fun" money to pay for the things that actually matter. And a peasant revolt is a heck of alot worse than a golf cart revolt.

    Remember the Russian Revolution of 1917 – that is what we'd all be faced with? And the result could be even worse – China could slip right in and conquer us or perhaps the government could finally become that which we've all feared for generations – totalitarian. Think with your heads and never turn a blind eye to history.

    February 27, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  14. Concerned Canadian

    These fools want the best standard of living in the world without having to actually pay for it.

    February 27, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. MatthewDetroit

    So the US senate requested that AL GORE come in and answer

    questions about Global Warming.

    It seems Al is NOT returning and calls and wont show up...

    Wants wrong AL... Stuck in the snow and cant dig out...

    Lies all Lies....and the suckers out there bought it.

    Now Al is One Rich Dude... Good scam Al.. sorry I did not think of it.

    February 27, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. Hey Big Spender

    The Republicans are trying to sign onto this movement and the Democrats don't know what the hell to do about it.

    There are corrupt Republicans and Democrats currently in government. The first step is to vote those people out and then follow the constitution. Simple as that!

    February 27, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  17. NVa Native

    I'm getting really tired of all the anti-American pro-fascist trash, what an ugly bunch of selfish arrogant and ignorant people led around by the clowns of Fox media.

    February 27, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  18. GI Joe

    Attend one of these and you'll see the repercussions of all the mental institutions being closed years ago.

    Nothing but pure hate, fear, misinformation. And a few of the leaders make big $$$$ charging money or maybe even doing their deeds on TV and radio.

    Shame shame shame.

    February 27, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  19. Scott, Tucson

    The Tea Party folks represents everything opposite that of your typical liberals which includes your urban welfare moms pumping out babies for more free entitlements at our expense.

    February 27, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  20. raphrank

    The CNN. network is breaking America by engaging in alarmist coverage of events in America and around the world. It is an indication that they are making business with the political situation in our country. The level of hypocricy and double standard in the CNN is unprecedented. I can't believe that "intelligent Americans" can't stand on their own and discover what is up in the country.

    Please go to Canada or the UK and understand the real meaning of journalism that is positive, constructive and non partisan.
    The world is tired of you

    February 27, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  21. MatthewDetroit

    IT is amazing how Arrogant Barack Obama is.

    The American people have told him time and time again that they DO NOT WANT his health care bill.

    He "the benelovent dictator" will help all you stupid Americans.

    He will Force you to accept his bill.

    He had the arrogance to say you can voice your opinions in November at the next election. What a dirty scoundrel he is.

    America does NOT want the Barack Obama health care bill.
    We are not Socialists... at least not yet.

    February 27, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. Darrell

    Who cares...the same clowns who are mad about big govt; yet, they support the Republicans who brought them big govt. with budget deficit spending under GWB. The same clowns who received a tax reduction under the Stimulas bill are crying about high taxes. The same clowns who are talking about the lost of manufacturing jobs, which is due to large coporations shipping the jobs to low cost wage countries, are blaming illegal immigration as the cause. The same clowns who are afraid to hear Prs. Obama encourage kids to study hard and stay in shool. A movement worth being proud of...Happy Birthday...Send in the Clowns!

    February 27, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  23. Sgt. USMC

    Is this about improving America or some political agenda started by a right wing nut who knew that the republican party could not challenge the Democrats head on? To me it seems as though tea people are former republicans who grew frustrated by the bush administration. Have your little parties, who cares. I've said it time and time again, the MAJORITY voted in 2008. If the MAJORITY decides it's time to replace Democrats in the Capitol than so be it. Until then quit acting like we are in the middle of a revolution! You don't have it that bad.

    February 27, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    So they are saying this is the anniversary of their movement- interesting.
    That means their complaints have nothing to do with the Obama administration that had been in office for 27 day at the time.
    The hypocracy of these disgruntled conservatives is laughable!
    their complaint is they didn't get thier guy in- too bad!
    the Republicnas and conservative thinking got us in this mess- let someone else have a chance to get us out

    February 27, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. FedUp2

    Are they going to fire up more home grown terrorists to crash into IRS buildings?

    February 27, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
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