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. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    As Pelosi, Reid and Obozo get ready to ram Obozocare down the throats of hard working taxpaying Americans, followed shortly by the bogus cap & trade bill that lying Al Gore foisted on us, the TEA party can only grow and grow.

    February 27, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. Mr. Rusty

    From one of the Silent Majority

    The drums of oppression and tyranny have begun to sound in our country and in our government. Because of this HISTORY COURSE 101 has again becomes mandatory.

    To those people who work in or for our government.

    The US Citizens freedoms and birthright are declared and defined in the US DECLARATION of INDEPENDENCE, the US CONSTITUTION and the UNITED STATED PEOPLES BILL OF RIGHTS.

    These documents are the line that is drawn in the sand. They are the source of the UNITED STATES CITIZENS DREAMS, HOPE AND FREEDOM.

    No government employee who took the oath to defend from without and within, the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, The US CONSTITUTION and the US PEOPLES BILL OF RIGHTS shall ever cross this line by making or passing laws that violate the meaning or the requirements of theses documents.

    To those who cross this line and attempt to reduce the US citizens freedoms through the act of socialism or social engineering or by passing laws that violate the meaning or the requirements of the above documents than their actions will lead or amount to oppression and tyranny. Their actions will be interpreted as that of a gang of traitors who are acting against the US citizens will or wishes and will lead to a citizen revolt.

    This course 101 is required for the leadership of the house and senate and those who call themselves democrats or republicans who have put their party, their incumbency and/or special interest above the grater good of the citizens of these United States.

    The US citizens who are the silent majority and a sleeping giant have begun to awake. When awake they will do something good for our country they will vote into office new drummers who believe in and march to the drums of liberty and freedom.

    So we say to you mister OBAMA and you congressmen and senators do not pass any laws that amounts to oppression or tyranny against any UNITED STATES CITIZEN OR GROUP OF CITIZENS. Pass any laws that are in violation of the above documents. If you do than you have become traitors to your oath of office and thus, all the citizens of these United States. In time traitors will be held individually accountable for their actions.

    So say the silent majority

    February 27, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  3. rich

    Mr. Reporter, please change your name Monday morning so you won't have to be "associated" with the name of the tea party spokesman!!

    February 27, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. Dem from AZ

    I thought I Tea party was in protest of high taxes. Am I missing the point. Taxes are at the lowest in a long time. Could it be somthing else these tea baggers are protesting?

    February 27, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. gary a proud canadian

    All your RETARDS getting together at one time, what a joke. Glad to be a Canadian.Tea Party + GOP = MORONS.

    February 27, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  6. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Why do you keep giving these idiots publicity?

    February 27, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  7. Larry

    Boner said "The Tea Party movement has reminded us who's really in charge of this country". Namely "The White Annoying Teabaggers". Also affectionately referred to by their acronym.

    February 27, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. Capt. Snarky

    Funny, all you liberals said the "teabaggers" wouldn't last. One year later and still relevant. That's gotta taste good.......

    February 27, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  9. Keith

    I'm still baffled by all of this Tea Party nonsense.

    February 27, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  10. Jim

    Still waiting for the Tea Party folks to give solutions to the economic issues? And what they would have done different last year to avoid a depression.

    February 27, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  11. Bill from CA

    "A massive social movement"? More like "fringe group of extremist nutjobs." Didn't these clowns only manage to get a few hundred people at their 'big' convention last month?

    February 27, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  12. H-Town

    The real "Crazies".

    Neo-con Zombies.


    February 27, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. Mark

    Tea parties are nothing but obstructionist propaganda. The Republicans lost in 2008, but they instead of trying to work with the current administration they have tried to destroy it from the start. It's nothing short of treason to the American people. Instead of trying to convince the American public to see their views, they assault them with talk radio and intimidation.
    The American public aren't convinced by the republican arguement they are afraid to go against what is being falsely presented to them as the overwhelming desire of the masses. This is exactly how the Nazis took control.
    Soon people are going to be fired from their jobs and blacklisted for being "liberal" Even though most Republicans couldn't tell you what a liberal is except maybe anyone who opposes any actions by the ultra conservative Republicans.

    Their actions make us look like total idiots to the rest of the world. And they will start to isolate us as we progress down this road. They won't have any choice. But, don't worry, your neo-con warriors will tell you we still have a huge nuclear advantage and we will be able to bend the world to do whatever we want.

    February 27, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  14. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    I am getting tired of the conservative scum accusing the president of lying, after we lived through 8 years of lies, deceit, attacks on the constitution, unnecessary wars, and the endless attacks on the middle class. How does anyone tell a stupid conservative that Bush created a new level of socialism with his unfunded drug program, and the big bank bailout? Are all conservatives socialists like George W. Bush?

    February 27, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  15. airborne

    Just a bunch of racists. Proud to be Obama supporter

    February 27, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. jon

    Get your facts straight. Santelli was ranting against the Homeowner Bailout, not the Wall Street Bailout. He and the brokers on trading floor that morning, who were the mocking the "losers" who needed government assistance, did not object to the Wall Street Bailout.

    This is a clear, objective and significant mistake in your reporting. You should correct it.

    February 27, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  17. MikH

    It was actually the coming together of a few thousand overtly racist right-wingers who found a convenient red herring to mask their racist anger that a true African-American was elected president.

    The financial collapse and bailouts were from the Bush administration, yet none of these ignorant fool-fests ever mentioned him, they all spewed froth-flecked invective at Obama.

    February 27, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  18. An 8 year old ELEPHANT dung heap, does not transform into compost in just 1 year!

    While the CPAC tea baggers were busy stirring up the the knuckle draggers and advocating more violence against "big government" by that moronic Pawlenty, and celebrating the fact that someone was fed up with the IRS and "no taxation without representation" and had taken action, well, here ya go CPAC.

    I now have 3 new heroes, they are the ones who have burned down 11 meeting places of the "christian cabal" centered in East Texas.

    Of course, no one has been killed by my "heroes" but then I am not a con that advocates guns, killing abortion doctors or IRS employees.

    February 27, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. Sue Dubya

    Tea parties are for little girls with imaginary friends, not for defining public policy!

    February 27, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. Squigman

    One year, and most of the people associated with this movement, act as if they too are one year old. Anti this, anti that, and many of the same are collecting from one social program or the other. I've gotten so sickof listening to these people that I've made a commitment to myself. Never again will I give to any charity that helps people. I never know when I'll offend one of them, if they happen to be republican, or tea partier, who believes that they and all they shout to should go it alone. Rugged individualism. You preach it, now live it.

    February 27, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. jules sand-perkins

    Bully for these patriotic activists!
    They're doing everything THEY CAN to stop President Obama from completely destroying America.

    February 27, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. Slider

    The Tea Party must understand one thing: To a Socialist, the only thing that matters is government control. They are not interested in hearing the people.The people are what they wish to control. The people are merely a device to attain their ends through elections, which they view as an impediment to their designs, and would rather name these offices after their comrades, such as "Kennedy's seat".

    The president has already signalled what he will do at the end of that summit in which he, nor his entire side had no answers for the Republican's concerns regarding that sham of legislation. He, along with the rest of his comrades are willing to lose elections. If you have any questions about that read my first paragraph.

    Republicans have a fatal flaw: they think tactically, while Socialists think strategically. Socialists want legislation that cannot be repealed because of dependencies on said legislation. Republicans are going to have to reduce government in much the same way that Socialists have expanded it.

    It will be painful, but much like substance abuse addicts in lockup going through withdrawals, it is necessary.

    The cycle of generational dependency must be broken.

    It will be the only reason to vote Republicans into office. It will be the only promise worth making, and keeping.

    February 27, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  23. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    How about the rallying cry of the right wingnuts (borrowed from George H.W. Bush), ". . .read my lips, no new taxes?" Except on the middle class, of course.

    February 27, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  24. andrewstl

    if i was a dentist or solf flannel shirtsi could make a killing at this teabag your neighbor movement.

    wow i would like to see the teabag anniversary have a spelling bee that would be great tv

    February 27, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  25. The Tea Baggers stood calmly by for 8 years while the shrub raped and pillaged America, so, why would we listen to you now?

    With 87% of tea baggers voting for Reds, given a two party system, that definitely shoots down the "independent" label.

    With the movement being completely silent while the shrub ran two wars off the books, AND gave tax cuts at the same time shoots down the "we want smaller" government" mantra.

    That only leaves one thing that I can see. Since the demographics of this group is WHITE, rural, college educated and upper middle class, there is not much difference between tea baggers and a regular Red, other than tea baggers are more honest and angry about a black man in the White House governing "their country"!

    February 27, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
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