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. Change In America

    These are nothing but racist people who belong to the conservatives party

    February 27, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. iawai

    Umm, Ron Paul supporters had a Tea Party – complete with dumping tea into the harbor – in December of 2007. Thanks for completely ignoring truth in reporting, CNN, I've come to expect nothing less

    February 27, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  3. Hannah

    Other than forming a group that is well known across the nation,demonstrating loudly @times ,disrupting procedures(town hall health care meetings)-what else have they done? Occasionally someone from the movement has an intelligent message but on the whole all I hear is much chatter with dislike for minorities,homeless, & democrats!

    February 27, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  4. duckunder

    I think the Tea Party had some good ideas when they started out. It appears they've been taken over by the lunatic fringe ie: birthers, racists, bigots, and other assorted nuts. I won't have anything to do with that.

    February 27, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  5. carlos

    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."

    and the beener will be voted out of office.....the sooner the better.....and he is dreaming of becoming the speaker...maybe of the unpatriotic movement.

    February 27, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. johnnie w

    Where are the PEOPLE of COLOR, ?, where are the PEOPLE of DIGNITY, where are the People of UNITY, in this TEA BAG PARTY? I tell you WHERE, no WHERE, this SO CALLED MOVEMENT, is nothing more than the GOP, RNC, Republican Party, just with a STUPID NAME, tea party ,this is an INSULT to AMERICAN. All i see is BUNCH of CLOWNS, al those RACIST SIGNS and POSTERS, about President Obama , being like Hitler, a VODOO DOCTOR, not born in AMERICA, with that MORON BIRTHER NONSENSE, and HATEFULL remarks ,about the President, and the WORD for the BAGGERS is called IDIOTS. Gov .Arnold ,said last week ,the Tea Bag Party is FINISHED, this will be their ONLY ANNIVERSARY. This so called THING ,does not REPRESENT AMERICA, only LIMBASH, Hannity, Beck FOOL, and the other MORONS. CNN has sunken to an all TIME LOW, even putting this in your TICKER. This FAKE PARTY is NOTHING

    February 27, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  7. Truth Teller

    That's one year too many.

    February 27, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  8. CBH29

    Funny thing. A lot of these TEA party idiots have jobs because of the stimulus. Just like the GOP their excuses are a phony as their movement. So to you TEA party idiots I say Just Come Out and Admit It. All of you are angry at the fact that we have an African American President.

    February 27, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  9. John

    So the Tea Party idiots want to put back in power the same Republican Party that caused our crash. Boehner, Cantor and the rest of the NO brainers talk as if they had nothing to do with the current crises in our economy and have little suggestion to solve it other than "Crash and Burn you poor Americans without entitlements"

    Yes it is the American people that run this country and it is us Moderates that swing the vote toward the party of better ideas. Vote NO for this Tea Bag Party group who are preaching anarchy and disruption in our great Republic.

    February 27, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. shooter

    Tax payers, Lay off all the Senators now. Let them be unemployed so they learn the hardship in life. Provide no unemployment insurance, no health care insurance and no entitlement payment.

    February 27, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. Mike in NYC

    To the inevitable "why are they all white, they must be racist" posters:

    Whites pay the lion's share of taxes in this country, greatly out of proportion to their numbers. Non-whites (not including Asians) pay less than their share, but consume entitlements and other government outlays out of proportion to their numbers.

    (Note: there are more blacks on welfare than whites, despite there being five times as many whites as blacks. Google USA Today's article on welfare reform, "How Welfare Reform Changed America," for the numbers.)

    With that in mind, why would non-Asian non-whites want lower taxes and smaller government, when they are net beneficiaries of the current setup?

    "Mystery" solved.

    February 27, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  12. nathan

    No country for old (white) men. Get out.

    February 27, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  13. Peter E

    These Tea Partiers are hypocrites. They enjoyed the economic prosperity given to them by their fathers and grandfathers who got it through massive deficits and tax cuts. But they don't want to pay back what they owe. No. They want more tax cuts. AND they want it for their kids too. They want their cake and eat it too. They want government to reducedeficit, BUT they also want to keep the money their fathers borrowed. Somebody will have to pay it back! And if it won't be you, it will be your children! You owe your job, your house, your livelihood to all that deficit investment! It's time to pay up!

    February 27, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Let's not pretend that this Tea Party movement is any kind of third party. It is just a propaganda tool that was organized by Foxnews and all their republican zombies! They are liars and hypocrites! If they put half the energy into earning money that they put into these rallies and giving funds to politicians they would be waaay ahead, even if their taxes were raised by that laughable 3%. (which only affects the very rich anyway and STILL hasn't been reinstated by Obama, so they're crying about nothing!)

    February 27, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. leonardofru

    Obama lies and thousands die.

    February 27, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  16. Donkey Party

    The Teabaggers are not a "grass-roots" movement. They are bought and paid for by the GOP, and represent nothing but hate, fear, racism, and to see the failure of America.

    February 27, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  17. Mike in MN

    I hope the Tea Party movement plays a strong part in removing our lier in chief from office in 2012.
    Today in his weekly address Obama told as bold a lie as I have ever heard him say. He said there was no agreement on protecting people from being denied the help they need from insurance companines or excessive rate increases.
    Both are not true. The Republican plan would prohibit insurance companies from terminating coverage when people get sick, would prohibit annual and lifetime caps on benefits and would require insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions. It was clearly acknowledge several times during the summit by Democrats that there was ageement with Repuiblicans on all of these points. But today Obama lies and says there was not.
    Republicans, as am I, are opposed to a new federal agency to review and block excessive insurance rate increases because all the states already do just that. A new federal agence would just be a waste of more borrowed tax payers dollars.
    Obama tells bold faced lies for political gain. Time for everyone to wake up to that fact.

    February 27, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. SM

    Hey Repubs, I really laugh when I hear let start over again on Health Care Reform.
    For those who drives, can you imagine you are on your way to a certain destination, you get lost on your way and someone who knows where you are driving to, tells you go back to where you came from and start afresh. What a ridiculous and unintelligent advice to give!!!
    And what will you think about this person!!!!

    February 27, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  19. America Has Shrugged

    Tea Party movement is false bravado. They didn't give a carp when GOP were spending us into oblivion and now that we have our first African American Democratic President who has to get us out of this mess, they start a movement? More like a bowel movement. I hope they run candidates, I really do. They haven't a clue about economics or politics, just what goes on in their little world. Bring on Sarah Palin.. LOL Want small government? Take a look at Haiti. Better yet, go live there and see how wonderful it is to have a small uncaring government. The Government is suppose to represent all of us, yes, all of us..Not the minority party that can't get over the fact that they lost the last two elections big time. WE ALL DESERVE representation, not just you self serving, self rightous regressives. 1950 isn't ever coming back.

    February 27, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. Lynn

    February 27, 2009, only took a month after President Obama was sworn into office to organize their little tea parties. What a coincidence. Certainly couldn't have anything to do with racism or the political party in the White House could it? And if or when the Republicans ever take back the White House, how fast will they fade back into their tea pots?

    February 27, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. Monster Zero

    Gee, I don't see any nasty signs or gun toting nazi racist's in the crowd, oh I think I even see a, dare I say it, a black man? Could it be that this movement is about getting rid of the corrupt network in DC, downsizing Federal Government, exercising State's rights and getting back to the basic fundamentals of our Constitution? Hurry up libtard progressives, better start your smear campaign to sell it to that small and shrinking base you represent. I don't think anyone else is buying it anymore and you progressive liberals are gonna get that message very soon, like in November 2010!

    February 27, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  22. Marv

    These tea party crowards are nothing but right wing racist unintelligent nuts donot know what socialism is social security medicare and medicade are socialist type programs..It is all because we have a black president. Most have not read the constitution. Mostly upset because most college sports teams plus pro teams are black.
    Get over it or start another civil war.States that want to secede leave.

    February 27, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. gr

    Where were these so called Tea Party in the last 8 years? The are a bunch of racist nuts that hate our president becasue he is BLACK! There movement is base on hate and racist.

    February 27, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  24. Dva

    If it is limited government the TEA BAGGERS want then why did they support so much spending on Blackwater (Cheney) and the war in Iraq that the Bush Administration so willingly put our country in debt. (and for an un-necessary war waged on lies) and worse the loss of American lives. Perhaps these "MALE" UPSCALE protesters should refuse all government run programs altogether. I would imagine these men are of retirement age (how else would they be able to attend all of these tea parties and protests if they had a job and if they do have a job, I would like their benefits, ie time off for rallies etc. If they are "UPSCALE" men then they should not need Social Security, health care through Medicare. Just think of how much money the government could save without all of these upscale men receiving these benefits. Also give up tax paid armed servicemen/women for our country's protection from terroists, and why have so many of these conservatives and their leaders been so willing to accept money from the stimulus? Each has their own agenda and fear of losing an election. I don't believe the Republican party truly cares about the people in this country at all and they certainly do not speak for all of us who are Americans.

    February 27, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. gr

    "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 movement should have taked place in 2001 not 2009 if they really want to be relevant. Bush was in office since 2001 and he have created more dept then any President, but the Tea Party didn't mind Bush spending our tax money like crazy because he look LIKE THEM, BUT now that there is a BLACK MAN in the White House the Tea Party are ALL ABOUT LIMITED GOVERNMENT!

    February 27, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
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