The Tea Party movement is a populist United States protest movement focused on fiscal conservatism. The movement, originating in anti-tax protests, emerged in early 2009, partially in response to the 2009 stimulus package as well as the 2008 bailouts and later in revelations about bonuses paid to AIG executives.
Composition of the movement
According to political correspondent Liz Sidoti of the Associated Press, the Tea Party movement "an ideological mix of libertarianism and conservativism with the common denominator being lower spending and smaller government." Tea Partiers often claim "Government is too big. Spending is out of control. Individual freedom is at risk. And President Barack Obama's policies are making it all worse." But that's where the consensus ends among the diverse groups of frustrated Americans who count themselves part of this fledgling coalition.
The tea party movement also includes several more formal entities, with slightly different approaches to their advocacy:
* The Tea Party Patriots are a national organization that claims to have over 1000 local chapters, run with the help of Freedomworks, a conservative nonprofit led by former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey.
* The Tea Party Express is a national bus tour run by Our Country Deserves Better PAC, a conservative Political Action Committee created by Sacramento-based GOP consulting firm Russo, Marsh, and Associates.
* Tea Party Nation held a National Convention February 4"6, 2010. The event featured Sarah Palin as keynote speaker, but was criticized for charging $549 per ticket, as well as the fact that Palin was apparently paid $100,000 USD for her appearance. In the face of criticism by Tea Party activists, Palin has said she plans to donate the fee to unspecified conservative causes. Former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo at the Tea Party convention in Nashville stated to applause, "People who could not even spell the word 'vote' or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House..his name is Barack Hussein Obama."
The Tea Party movement has also attracted some followers of fringe organizations such as the LaRouche Movement, the white separatist Council of Conservative Citizens, and the John Birch Society. In a February 19, 2010 column in the Wall Street Journal, Republican strategist Karl Rove suggested that, to improve its effect on policy, the Tea Party movement dissociate itself from the militia movement, 'birthers', 9/11 deniers, cranks and conspiracy nuts.
I asked General Peron:
"Have I kept the promise I made to you when I returned from Europe, when I offered to help you so that the Christianity of your doctrine should be carried out in works of social welfare?"
His reply was more than generous:
"Without your help I could have done nothing. You have taught us to build with love."