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. Emilee

    Just light a candle and say a prayer.....nitwits solution to everything.

    February 27, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  2. Common Sence

    The mindless drones are at it again.

    February 27, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    I live with hope in my heart that all people will see better days.

    I live in fear when I think there's a possibility the hate and misery will return to all (or even get worse with more wars and higher Insurance premiums) if we ever put Republicans back in charge of us.

    Especially the tea-bag Republicans. Moderate Republicans like Eisenhower might be OK, but not the radicals like we see about to run for public office.

    February 27, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. Chris

    The Tea Party formed after Obama had been in office for only a month after inheriting the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. These same people now shouting about the importance of fiscal responsibility were deathly silent all through the previous 8 years when Bush and the Republicans spent like drunken sailors. In fact, during the Bush years, if anyone was to so much as question the President, this group would be the first to rise up in righteous anger to denounce that person as unpatriotic and unAmerican. Now that same group is carrying pictures of Obama as as Hitler and saying how great it would be if the President was assassinated.

    They say they represent the American People. But they are 99.99% white. They say there are not racists. But they proudly carry around pictures of the President as a savage witch doctor and make remarks about blacks being a bunch of lazy, shiftless welfare queens. They say are made up of the downtrodden, common man. But they hold a $500 steak & lobster dinner. They say they have no political affiliations. But all there speakers are from the far Right. They say they bring an enlightened, common sense approach to modern politics. But then make remarks about the "government keeping its hands off of my Medicare" and label anything they don't like with labels like "Socialist Royalist".

    The Tea Partiers are not the American people. They are a fringe group of angry, old white people upset about not being in charge anymore.

    February 27, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. Mark Rogers

    Where were these yokels back in 2002 and beyond when govt. spending started going out of control?? Fake group only angry that a black democrat took office. Lame.

    February 27, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. Jilli

    Ah, the million moron march. It's a sad display of the ugliness still prevalent among a shinking (thankfully) portion of our population. Rage without reason or logic – it's all emotion with a healthy dose of intellectual laziness.

    February 27, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. Micah

    "Activists in the Tea Party movement tend to be male, rural, upscale, and overwhelmingly conservative, "

    You forgot WHITE and gun carrying. These people are racist, and not even smart enough to admit that their taxes have gone DOWN under Obama, not that we could afford that cut. And 11 percent of Americans is hardly close to making any kind of impact on an election locally, let alone nationally. So keep having your little rallies with your bully signs, and your racist depictions of our elected President, and we'll just not watch. You can have your Palins and your Tancredos and your Cheneys and their bitter view of America and her leaders. I prefer to be optimistic, to respect this President, and to praise him for his efforts to turn around the economy and make peace. I certainly do not agree with every plan, but I do believe we need single payer healthcare, and we need to stop being the world's bully. How people can be so adamant about not aborting one child, and so cavalier about the thousands of soldiers and civilians killed in our name for the past eight years boggle the mind. If you're pro-life, shouldn't you be pro-everyone's life?

    February 27, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. ike

    The Klan without sheets! How come everyone at these rallies are white? The Civil Rights movement had just as many whites as it did blacks.

    February 27, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  9. Sue

    Did you hear that the UK is now starting a Tea Party movement???

    The kick off of their Tea Party movement begins today!!!

    The British organizer of the Tea Party movement was interviewed by Beck and Neal Cavuto yesterday (I "believe" that the interviews were yesterday).

    February 27, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  10. I am Newt Limebaugh

    The epitome of hypocrisy....the Tea Party....where was all this outrage when Bush was running up the tab.....you must think people are just plain stupid. This is nothing but a bunch of GOP folks who want Obama out at any cost.........when I say hypocrite...I mean hypocrite....Bush runs up debt for 8 years....yes ..8 years and when Obama gets into office less than six months...all of a sudden we have a Tea party....what a load of crap

    February 27, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. How To Tell A Dem Is Lying-Lips Are Moving

    The Tea Party has the dumocraps in a turmoil,I have not seen a group as worried as the dums,guess they realize their time is up,can not fool all the people all the time.Bye Bye Dums,November and the DOOR.

    February 27, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  12. Obama & Michael Jackson

    2 showmen 1 dances &sings ,the other talks Both are Hollywood material Both put on a good show Then it stops ,the show is over and Obama is done.A good show,talk & promises,then THE END.

    February 27, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  13. J

    One year anniversary of complaining two months after the President got into office. The Tea Party is nothing more than a bunch of sore losers.

    February 27, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  14. Mitch

    A whole year of screaming and shouting "nothing!" and offering no solutions to the problems they face. Apparantly, when you have a whole TV network at your disposal you can herd as many sheep as you like.

    February 27, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  15. Andy

    The Dumocraps could learn from the Tea Party if they would try;but,as usual,they are too busy smoking/spinning/and blaming their failure on someone else to learn.Come Nov. the dums are history,1 and done.Bye Bye Morons

    February 27, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. John

    Please, please, please "Tea Party" activists: Run a candidate in every election you can enter.

    Please, please, please split and weaken the conservative vote.

    February 27, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  17. A Democrat - Another Day Another Lie

    OK Morons what is the LIE of the day??What are you idiots going to blame on Bush today?? What is todays reason you have done NOTHING in a year??Your Mezziah has done nothing in a year because____??OK same old same old "change we CAN NOT believe in"

    February 27, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  18. Candi

    Look over your back Tea Party-the Dumocraps are taking notes on HOW TO RUN A PARTY.They idolize you,that is why they are always talking about you.

    February 27, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  19. Elliott Carlin

    Here's hoping both Dims and Rinos underestimate the Tea Party

    February 27, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Boehner said, "The Tea Party movement has reminded us who's really in charge of this country, and that's the American people." Yup, and they elected a Democrat to be President and get X, Y and Z done and all you Republicans do is say, "No!." I guess you're saying "No!" to the American peoples' wishes.

    February 27, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  21. Denna

    How charming. It would have been nice if this cabal of bigots had spoken up when this all started under Bush. All of a sudden NOW they care. Two unfunded wars are the cause of this mess and you can't blame President Obama no matter how hard you try. Instead of dancing around like mad dervishes, why don't they demand that their Rethug masters work with President Obama to undo this mess?

    February 27, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    if the so-called Tea Party folks had really done the right thing, then they would be celebrating a 2 or 3 year anniversary instead of just one since all the stuff they are complaining about started under President Bush and not President Obama. But they chose to wait until a Democrat took office to come out and take a stand against goverment.
    Plus you add the intolerant, bigoted, right wing element to the mix that has seemed to filtered into the party and it starts to look more like a Klan movement than one in hopes of bettering the country. Patheitc!

    February 27, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  23. Conservative equals illiterate ignorance

    A bunch of racist bigoted right wing nutjobs celebrate one year of illiterate ignorance, Big Deal!

    February 27, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. Gregory

    So, what are they going to protest? The improving economy? The military successes in Afghanistan? The health reform bill that will make it against the law to refuse health insurance for people with prior health issues? The improving house market? The fact that most of the TARP money has been paid back? That stimulus money is paying for new roads and bridges in their states? The fact that Congress wants to extend unemployment insurance to the unemployed? These teabaggers need to get a hobby. Do something constructive with their misplaced energy. They may be loud and in the news but they don't speak for many Americans, not the hard-working, compassionate ones I know.

    February 27, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  25. Onn

    Good for them, making the government responsible for the money they spend. Obama will have to live up to the trillion dollar deficits, just as the Republicans did in 2008. Something's got to give, we just don't have money to continue on this current course. If the Tea Partiers win out more power to them.

    February 27, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
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