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. Minnesota gal

    I would love to be there and get all those who want lower government to sign up for that action.

    No more social security
    No more Medicare
    No more protection by the military
    No more protection from tainted food
    No more protection from foreign nations taking us over

    Gee I could go on and on, the dumb butt tea bags are so indoctrated by Fox News they don't know what the government provides and what they don't. Look at the cost of Health Care rising, rising, rising – because it is provided by private companies. What in the world would they have to pay for their social security being taken over by wall street if wall street didn't go bust and the loose all their monies. What would happen if Medicare was handed over to insurance companies. How about a private military. Who only protected you if you paid them to. Or how about all those other government services they now receive and in the future if they weren't government, would they be able to afford them. HECK NO...THE TEA BAGS ARE SO STUPID THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW TO GO TO THE BATHROOM BY THEMSELVES.

    I know, I know, this will never get posted it will wait moderation for ever and ever. It is against a republican organization and that's a no no.

    February 27, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. S Callahan

    Happy Birthday!

    I sit in wonder of 'how big' this is going to grow if the side door politics are used to pass a cost heavy health plan. It must be done in 'pieces' to adjust to the dollar available or it will be dommed to failure and then what.....just thing about it.

    February 27, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. Mike W

    freedom of speech IS a good thing, but these people often look quite silly. mouths gaping, raged faces, stupid signs, hatred.. but hey.. if the KKK can do it then so can this group of wingnuts.

    February 27, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. Kevin in Ohio

    Thank God for this movement! It is amazing to me that the liberal socialist progressives are so quick to condemn this movement when all THEIR movements in the past have grown from similar grass roots concerns. Such hypocrites.

    One more thing...if Obama rams this health care takeover down our throat by simple majority, WE will, and MUST, un-do it with a simple majority come January. The democrats only understand the power of the minority filibuster when it works tyo their advantage.... and, they started the whole mess by filibustering Republican judicial nominees.

    Liberals = ORIGINAL Party of No, and now, the Party of Hate.

    February 27, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. Doris V

    Hopefullly these folks and their movement will soon wither and die. They are entitled to their ideas but if they don't like to help everyone they can go somewhere else.

    February 27, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. RMc

    Fools and hypocrites all. They don't want what's best for America.

    February 27, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  7. Tea K K

    100% Old

    100% White

    100% Bitter

    100% WRONG

    These are the same indviduals that think Obama is Muslim and from Kenya.

    These are the people who preach Gay people should be killed

    These are the people that do not believe in Science. Climate Change, Evolution......we're dealing with the FLAT EARTH SOCIETY.

    This is nothing more than a Klan Rally with no hoods.

    February 27, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. Lori in Texas

    Yea, we know already – they still hate President Obama. Notice how all the protesting started just a few weeks after he took the Oath of office. Not a peep out of any of them before then. Bush wants to put 2 wars and a medicare donut hole on the Chinese Credit Card? That's all fine and dandy. But try to get affordable healthcare for hard working, honest American taxpayers? Hell no! It might work and Americans will learn how Dems can make government work for them. I don't know why the Repubs don't just come out and OWN what they REALLY BELIEVE: Profits Before People and Party Before Country. That's a lot more honest than calling the President names. I wonder if the Teabaggers will refrain from carrying those disgusting racist signs? I doubt it as their hatred is their fuel. May I suggest they try Jesus' fuel – "treat the least of your brothers as you would treat me?"

    February 27, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  9. SCOT

    So they started in Feb 2009. And prior to that they had no problem with "big government"? Only when the Obama administration had been in power for a few weeks? Doesnt this strike anybody as a bit

    February 27, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  10. Craig from LA

    The white face only of this 'movement' is compelling. These poor people resist social progress and cling to an outmoded and failed paradigm – law of the jungle capitalism. We see if differently, health care for all paid for by all and higher education for all paid for by all must occur. These selfish folks need to retreat to their lily white neighborhoods and good riddance. The rest of us are moving forward, evolving as a society to ensure equal justice and equal opportunity for all. Oh, I am white, an ex-Michiganian now residing in LA.

    February 27, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  11. Spirit of America

    hopefully they will give up fascism, at least for Lent.

    February 27, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  12. johnrj08

    Just look at the crowd in that picture. Not a person of color in sight. These are just a bunch of angry bigots with an 8th grade education. If all government programs were cut, these would be the people who scream the loudest. By the way, the sign in the middle that says, "Joe Wilson was right" is wrong. It has been demonstrated for all to see that none of the health care bills that have been proposed gave free health care to illegal immigrants. These people are the hapless victims of a year-long disinformation campaign by the insurance industry and the lies of political opportunists like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Mitch McConnell. They deserve sympathy.

    February 27, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  13. Four and The Door

    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.
    Too bad they were not able to get that one revisited before the Democrats in Washington crammed that down our throats. It will go down in history as one of the most ineffective uses of taxpayer money ever perpetrated on the American taxpayer. The only good out of the Stimulus Bill was the $1 trillion lesson that massive government spending does not turn around a tanking economy.

    February 27, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  14. Conservatism equals illiterate ignorance

    Bigoted racist masses celebrate one year anniversary of illiterate ignorancy, Big Deal!

    February 27, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. Rick

    Nothing but a bunch of rich racists.

    February 27, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. David

    Let see, President Obama came into power one year ago. The Tea Party was formed a month later. Bush was in power for 8 years and there was no Tea Party. Now, it does not take a lawyer to figure out this one. I am a young Republican who is going in dependant and I can put together the logic behind the Tea Party.

    Why now that Obama is president you have these old folks who leaving their medicine behind to engage in such behavior. Do you smell the rat, it is called George Wallace. Their bases for their movement are not about fiscal responsibility or socialism. It is all about this man's race and nothing more.

    The press is not stupid, they understand but they want to be politically correct. The press is not gear to reporting the truth and asking tough questions. There are only a handful of reports who ask these questions. Then they say Washington is broken. The press takes no responsibility only because it is Obama. What a sad time for America

    The press is now tabloid and spin wheeler. Young people like me understand. We will not be fooled by the press or Tea Partiers who has their own goals in mind. We are the generation who will be faced with the problem that you all created. You all talk but have no real solutions but you paycheck from whatever news organization. You put out your pundits, such as Gergan, The guy who advertise for the eye solutions, Gloria B or whatever her name is, Castellanos who has not clues, John King, Jessica Yelling who is totally removed from reality, the Wolf man who sucks up to the Republicans. You talk about next generation future but only have a set old folk like Gergan and others.
    If I were CNN, I would cancel all these programs and only keep the substantive one: Anderson Cooper, Campbell Brown, Rick Sanchez, etc.

    February 27, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  17. one voice

    The teaparty talking points make them look ridiculous. No socialism: do they draw social security, medicare, medicaid, drive on roads paid by government, hope the government run fire department saves their home or life? No regulation: the very thing that brought us too this point by the Bush Administration. Lower taxes: We now have to pay for the failure of the Bush Administration to balance the budget (tax breaks for the rich while fighting 2 wars). What freedoms have you lost under Obama? Remember wire tapping under Bush? These teabaggers are fighting on the wrong side. LOL

    February 27, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  18. mac

    What a horrible bunch of anti-Americans...

    February 27, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  19. Richard L

    The Tea Baggers are the bright ones who use the "Taxation Without Representation" theme to show their opposition to Taxation WITH Representation.

    February 27, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  20. myra

    So what? The members are also overwhelming white. Why did we have a stimulus because the previous administration spent our money to fund wars. Most people received a tax cut under this administration and no one taxes have been raised. You can carry your guns in parks,diners,and trains. There has been no ban of any type,gun sales have skyrocketed. People can say and write every kind of racist remarks under the first admendment. So what's their beef? It's obvious,the president is black. So now they have to take the country back. That is the heart of the matter.

    February 27, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  21. Albert R. K. . L.A., CA

    OK, you are a "big-one-year-old" now, so stop acting like babies.

    February 27, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  22. Ryan

    These idiots never complain about the first big stimulus – because that was penned by Bush and wasted by AIG.

    February 27, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  23. j

    Woohoo! The anniversary of the gathering of the ignorant white racist is upon us. Just what we needed.

    February 27, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  24. B

    These fools don’t even understand that they are shooting themselves in the foot...
    They are being used by the Republicans and are too ignorant to know it !


    February 27, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  25. Ron in California

    While those on the left mock these guys, they should be reminded how many signoficant social and political changes were the result of "disenfranchised" people. Perhaps the Civil rights movement, Women's right to vote to name two. These are game changers. As long as the political aristocrats continue to behave badly they will see more and more strength in these movements.

    February 27, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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