March 3rd, 2010
01:05 PM ET
4 years ago

What is the Coffee Party?

 Annabel Park used her Facebook page to call for a Coffee Party.
Annabel Park used her Facebook page to call for a Coffee Party.

Washington (CNN) – The founder of the new Coffee Party movement says "we need to wake up and work hard to get our government to represent us."

Angry at what she perceived as media overexposure of the conservative Tea Party movement, Annabel Park, a 41-year-old Washington-area area documentary filmmaker, used her Facebook page to call for a Coffee Party.

Friends started replying, and replying and replying. Park then set up a fan page called "Join the Coffee Party Movement." A flood ensued and now Park has approximately 68,000 fans, most of them coming in the last five days following articles about the Coffee Party in the Washington Post and New York Times.

So what's her goal?

"Just like in the American Revolution, we are looking for real representation right now. We don't feel represented by our government right now and we don't really feel represented well by the media either," Park said Wednesday on CNN's American Morning. "It's kind of a simple call to action for people to wake up and take control over their future and demand representation. And it requires people standing up and speaking up."

Sound familiar? Tea Party activists use much of the same language in describing their year-old anti-big government movement.

So is the Coffee Party a progressive response to the Tea Party?

"It's a response to how they are trying to change our government," Park tells CNN. "It's their methodology that we are against. We may want some of the same things, but their journey is so alienating to us."

Park, who worked as a volunteer for Barack Obama's presidential campaign and Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia's 2006 campaign. says the Coffee Party is not "aligned" with any party and calls the two-party system out of date.

"It encourages people to think of politics as a kind of game, like a football game, in which there are two sides, and it's a zero sum situation. If one person wins, the other person loses. That's really not a healthy way to conduct collective decision making. That's not a democracy."

Park told American Morning that the bitter battle over health care is an example of how government is not working.

"We feel like the health care debate showed not only that we are a very divided country, but there's something really wrong with our political process. We kind of got to see the innards of the political process and realize there's something very broken. I think that's what we're responding to."

So what does the Tea Party movement think of this new sensation?

"This Coffee Party looks like a weak attempt at satire or a manufactured response to a legitimate widespread grassroots movement," says Brendan Steinhauser (no relation to this reporter), director of federal and state campaigns for FreedomWorks, a nonprofit conservative organization that helps train volunteer activists and has provided much of the organizational heft behind the Tea Party movement.

Coffee Party gatherings have taken place from coast to coast the past five weeks, and Park says they are growing in number and size.

So what's next for this fledgling movement? Park says national house parties are planned for Saturday, March 13.

soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Brian

    They should have a summit with the Tea Party and hold it at Starbucks.

    March 3, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  2. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    The Tea parties were started as a Libertarian movement in 2007 by Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty party. On 09/12/08 it was hijacked by Glenn Beck to serve his self interests in gaining a multi million dollar contract with Fox news, and then it was hijacked from Glenn by the extreme conservative movement of PACS like Freedom Works and the Club for Growth. I say many of those independent people will be leaving this group once they begin to understand this. We all ready know the pitfall of the far liberal extremists, going to the other extreme is not going to be any more productive.
    It's interesting that conservatives only notice "big government" when it's something their political enemies want. When conservatives want it, apparently it doesn't count.
    • If a conservative wants a trillion-dollar foreign war, that doesn't count.
    • If a conservative wants a 700-billion-dollar bank bailout, that doesn't count.
    • If a conservative wants to spend billions fighting a needless and destructive War on Drugs, that doesn't count.
    • If a conservative wants to spend billions building border fences, that doesn't count.
    • If a conservative wants to "protect" the huge, unjust, and terribly inefficient Social Security and Medicare programs, that doesn't count.
    • If a conservative wants billions in farm subsidies, that doesn't count.

    It's truly amazing how many things "don't count."
    Libertarians are the closest thing to the centralist policies that this nation desperately needs right now.
    Google us sometime give the party platform a read through, you will see we are the 3rd largest party in the USA and getting very popular everyday.

    March 3, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  3. 808onacoli

    what's next....capuccino, cafe latte, milk chocolate party?

    March 3, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. Fed Up

    Media overexposure for the Tea Party. Hmmm. How about the media overexposure when Obama was running, along with the anointing of the "chosen one", "the Messiah", etc that we heard during the campaign from the media. Obviously this woman does not know the history of the US. That is why the movement is called the "Tea Party".
    But then, "Coffee Party" definitely has a place in our politics, along with the 3 martini lunch party.

    March 3, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  5. thatstheticket

    Whoever comes up with the Margarita Party will get my attendance and support.

    March 3, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. Enough

    Coffee party.........stupid, just join the Tea party movement and be done with it. We need to band together against the BIG government takeover.

    March 3, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. Stallion

    Wasn't there a book called "Coffee, Tea or Me"? I guess the Me Party is next? Or maybe they are already in the White House? Lol.

    March 3, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  8. T'SAH from Virginia

    Well – it opened my eyes!!! If this party represents those who are really on the opposite side of what the Tea-BAGGERS believe, then I am DOWN for it and I bet you any amount of money, there are MORE of US than them!!!

    I will visit the site and if it is to my liking – I AM JOINING THE COFFEE PARY – especially since the name alone means there are "people of COLOR" involved!!! THINK ABOUT IT:

    How many tea drinkers put MILK in their TEA – Huh, and I am a tea drinker????

    On the other hand – how many people put MILK or CREAM in their COFFEE??? Transparency and Diversity – CASE and POINT!!!

    March 3, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. John

    Hey Steinhauser – Like the Tea Party is as much Astroturf as grass rooots...

    March 3, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  10. GOP = "I hoe he fails"

    More than twice as many people attended the Star Trek convention in Tulsa Oklahoma as attended the "Tea Party Convension" in Nashville.

    And the Star Trek people were allot less wierd

    March 3, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  11. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Wonderful!! I will join! The media has always been condemned by the Conservatives for not covering them, not giving them enough attention. However, the Tea Party has been given more coverage than necessary considering that at their first convention....... 600....... showed up! We have more people attending Mass on Sunday at my church!

    BRAVO for Annabel Park!

    March 3, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. JJ in Citrus Springs, FL

    I joined the Coffee Party several days ago! I know this sounds like a contradiction– but it's like a 'battle cry' for the RATIONAL. While I'm a liberal, I can understand some of the conservative arguments for smaller government and more fiscal responsibility. I disagree with those arguments, but they have every right to voice them... in rational discourse.

    While not every Tea Party member is a racist or 'wing nut,' the fact that the crazies in that movement are not being quieted disassociated with is troubling to me. There is some rational argument (which I happen to disagree with) underlying some of the 'mainstream' Tea Partiers' agenda, but until they call out the crazies in their movement... yeah.

    I think the Coffee Party was a GREAT idea!!! And, I'm all for rational discourse. Everything has been hyper politicized, and there are a lot of very angry people on the far left and on the far right. I'm not advocating a "centrist" agenda in DC– we DID win the election, you know!–, but rather I'm advocating that both sides simmer down, and fine peaceful (not hateful!) ways to get their points across.

    We're ALL Americans. Let's act like it, and disagree civilly!!!

    March 3, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  13. key

    Neither of these groups represent me and never will. Wow this is true madness.

    March 3, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  14. Kevin in Ohio

    We've been dealing with the Coffee Party for decades.... its not a new idea. It is Communism and Socialism, cloaked in the guise of "social justice". Big Government is the last thing we need.... unless you want the Naziism or Fascism of the Left.

    March 3, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  15. American Patriot

    Uh-oh, a new movement, and it's not dominated by angry white males.

    Must not be "real Americans."

    Yeah, that's it.

    March 3, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  16. Wanda

    She like so many others want attention and the media gave it to her. Congratualtions! Wheat happened to the real news?

    March 3, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. apolitical idealist

    No one should put the words coffee, party, and movement together..just sayin'

    March 3, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. Brian

    Great idea. It is about time that people that understand and are not just "the real Americans" have a voice. Just because you label yourself as "conservative" does not make you better than the rest of us, which to me is the biggest problem with the tea baggers.

    Government has issues but it also has its purpose. We all want an efficient and right sized government but we also need it to have the power to reign in corporation that pollute and create products that harm people and ensure planes being flown are safe.

    March 3, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  19. Splat!~

    Beer Party?~ Anyone?~

    March 3, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. Clay

    Now this sounds like a movement with some thought and intelligence behind it. Sign me up for a cup of Joe!

    March 3, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  21. Mike

    sounds like the coffee party,and the Tea party sound exactly the same.

    March 3, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. Al-NY,NY

    Awww....the tea baggers now have a competitor for the "outsider" movement and they don't like it....TOO BAD

    March 3, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  23. Charlie in Maine

    Two creams no sugar.

    March 3, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  24. James Ronald Gaddy

    The Coffee Party is an appropriate name for this group. Liberal young people who like to spend money on expensive coffee will identify with this. People with the "I want it now" mindset that has been so pervasive in our society the last decade and a half have not yet learned how the world works in the long run. The liberals in the Democratic party are playing on this ignorance by telling them yes! you can have it all. All this may well come back to haunt the Democratic party just like it did in the 70s and 80s after the last liberal binge that took us years to overcome.

    March 3, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  25. Bed time for Raygun

    Good,now we can have a nice meeting at the pitchers mound for a good old fashioned bench clearing.Baseball anyone?

    March 3, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
1 2 3