February 27th, 2010
11:50 AM ET
13 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. plainfact

    the new form of RACISM is one year old.
    It is legal, Political, Expressive,
    but it can't stand the times

    Take it from me. It has not been challanged,
    when a countering force comes, tea party will
    not stand. Hate is not a good foundation.

    February 27, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Too bad this group has turned into the Tea Klux Klan instead of a legitimate alternative to the 2-faced phonies led by Boehner.

    February 27, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. plainfact

    You can't direspect the leader of your people without having a price to pay.

    February 27, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  4. Hugo

    Donkey Party February 27th, 2010 11:10 am ET

    I hope all Right-wingers die. It's the only way our country will ever move forward.

    Well, this statement definitely tells us all what part of the Donkey you are, a typical liberal Democrat. And you wonder why people with common sense and decency despise the liberal movements? Move our country forward? I think both sides have moved our country forward, forward as in down and to the left, down and to the left...into the abyss of economic meltdown from a government that over promised and now under delivers! It is going to be quite a wake up call for the left when the government checks, subsidies, and entitlement programs stop. Just remember what happened not too long ago in Russia, Government workers stopped getting paychecks and got bread and cheese coupons at the local government store. Coming soon to an America near you!

    February 27, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    Actually, you could make a pretty good case that the "Tea Party movement" dates from the 1760s when Sam Adams started organising opposition to the abuses of the British government, opposition that eventually resulted in the original "Boston Tea Party."

    One of the rallying cries of colonial Americans of that era was "No taxation without representation!"

    As of a few days ago, only nine percent of the American electorate believe their elected representatives actually represent the interests of the people who elected them–81% believe politicians are more interested in representing their own interests.

    250 years ago, an unresponsive, abusive, government, so enraged those it governed that it resulted in armed rebellion.

    February 27, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  6. plainfact

    These are all the ugly heads of racism being raised again.
    Can America stand it? Don't generate hate among your people.
    Times have changed. It a different day.
    don't disrespect the leaders of your people!!!

    You know what I mean????

    February 27, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. Brian

    Here is a movement of nutcases who will destroy the Republican Party. As one of their founders, Mr. Burns of the Simpsons, would say: "excellent."

    February 27, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Ky Colonel

    The Tea Party folks should be commended. They are the only people that are standing up for the Middle class folks who pay for all the crap big government places on them. So I say to the Tea Party folks, Thank you!!

    February 27, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. plainfact

    The Teaparty and the republicans together can't win the majority.
    These are all the same people who voted the same way in the last election.
    They don't have much new following. If they want to be a heard, why dont they form a new party? Better than to shy away from losing..period

    February 27, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  10. Friendzip

    And our number grow exponentially every day.
    We want our country to be great for our children and our children s children, there is never a time for foolish socialist experiments.
    Our song is clear and It is very simple, you cannot spend your way out of debt.

    February 27, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  11. Chipster

    Yes, indeed, they demand "limited government," as long as their Social Security and Medicare are protected. Of course, they want Interstate highways and National Parks. When their kids leave high school, they expect federal tuition loans to be available. When natural disasters occur, the first question they ask is: why isn't the government doing something?

    They think we don't need welfare of jobs programs, of course, because family and churches should handle those problems. However, family and churches don't handle those problems and struggle to maintain their own food banks and other assistance programs.

    But naturally, they don't expect to pay taxes to pay for all the services that they expect and demand. And therein lies the problem. Of course, they want the programs that benefit them but they don't want to pay for them.

    February 27, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  12. mike

    lets see is it the grass roots movement or the republican party telling
    them what to do who do you think is paying for all this crap if all these
    people are showing up to all the events it makes you stop and wonder
    do they have a job or are they being paid to be there it simple the
    republican party wants of the tea party air heads they do not want them
    to be a third party so they are paying for there events hiring there people
    so they can get the votes they want against republican politician they
    don't want and blame it on the tea party remember they want to purify
    there party but they do not want to be blamed for it

    February 27, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. aware

    Remember :

    Wholeness is available for all humanity!

    God has acted in his son Jesus Christ through the cross and the resurrection. God has fulfilled his covenant to the Israelites and has inaugurated a new covenant – the law written on the human heart.

    The Kingdom of God was inaugurated with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is Lord – the Government is not. The present administration, especially, is attempting to go far beyond their mandate.

    In this age the person of the Holy Spirit is God's presence with us in this world. We can live the "new life" in the Spirit or continue to live the old life of a fallen humanity in a failing cosmos. There is a new age coming with the return of Jesus, the recreation of the Cosmos and the resurrection of God's People. What a gift! 🙂

    February 27, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  14. Keithl

    SO WHAT!!!!!

    February 27, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  15. Shelly

    They shield themselves by the 'limited government' mantra but have truly demonstrated themselves as a group of angry and bigoted know -nothings. Where were they when Bush/Cheney were expanding Medicare, bailing out banks and spending trillions on a false war?
    Where were they when tax cuts were given to the wealthy during war time and added to an already massive deficit.
    Rubbish....it is obvious what the Tea Partyers stand for....and if anyone can't see it they are in need of vision and hearing test.

    February 27, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  16. Todd

    Tea bagger unite and overthrow every republicon you can...

    the earlier actually relevant peice about coeburn shows just how disingenuous the republicons are. At the summit coeburn shared so much common ground with our President that he sounded like a Democrat. He even had a good idea about going after fraud in a different way and a real progrssive idea about using the power of government to change eating habits using school lunches and food stamp incentives. NOW he is back to the same old tired nonsense about n"philosophical difference..." The difference is that republicons think insurance companies will suddenly start acting like Mother Theresa if only they are freed from ever getting sued for killing you child and if they can sell policies across state lines. Absolute nonsense. There is not a philosphical difference. Ever single republicon in that room and every single one of them in governemtn knows there is not a solution to the health care disgrace without serious government intervention. If they don't they are dumber than those tea baggers.

    February 27, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  17. haren

    Nothing but white racist party can not accept that a black president is ruling them.
    Last evening I was watching Mr. Back with his black board( if you hate him next time use green bd.) and one guy talking about using gun first then call 911, look like they don't want govt. at all in their life.
    No police,fire fighter,mailman,railway, FDA,FBI,Health dept.and may be no president and not even congress.
    They want FREEDOM. and Obama is going to take away that right.

    February 27, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. Sgt. Flagg T. McLiberty, Superpatriot

    When I think of the Tea Party I think of:

    -Angry old white people screaming at town halls
    -"Bury Obamacare with Kennedy" signs
    -Mark Williams calling Obama an Indonesian Muslim racist
    -Signs showing cadavers of the Holocaust
    -Dick Armey's money

    This is not a movement that appeals to me on any level.

    February 27, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
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