- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Boston Tea Party-inspired protests have randomly cropped up across the country in opposition to the federal government’s spending increases, and now plans are under way for a coordinated national tea party, reminiscent of 1773’s dumping of tea by Colonists into Boston Harbor in response to taxes levied by Great Britain’s King George III.

“People are finally starting to feel the result of years and years of irresponsibility and out-of-control government,” said Eric Odom, one of the organizers.

The event is planned for Wednesday — appropriately enough, April 15 tax day — at an expected 700 locations.

Many conservative outlets, including Michelle Malkins highly trafficked blog, Americans for Limited Government and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrichs nonprofit, American Solutions, have promoted the anti-tax tea parties.

Mr. Gingrich recorded a video that was posted on YouTube and e-mailed to activists inviting them to attend a protest. American Solutions also distributed the video invitation, along with a talking-points toolbox of 12 ideas American Solutions thinks would help the economy, such as reducing the business-tax rate.

The National Federation of Republican Women delivered empy tea bags to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office a few weeks ago to “symbolize the fact that tea will become more and more difficult to afford, along with everything else, as the economy continues to spiral downward.”

Although many of the protesters are members of the Republican Party, tea party planners will not permit Republican officeholders to speak at the events. Mr. Odom wrote an e-mail to the Republican National Committee that said, “RNC officials are welcome to participate in the rally itself, but we prefer to limit stage time to those who are not elected officials, both in government as well as political parties. This is an opportunity for Americans to speak, and elected officials to listen, not the other way around.”

Mr. Odom said he expects the number of people attending the events to run well into six figures, noting a protest organized by two stay-at-home mothers in Orlando, Fla., last month attracted more than 4,000 people.

To prepare, he has conducted twice-weekly conference calls with tea party activists and posted materials at www.taxdayteaparty.com. Several activists have created their own city-based tea party sites to organize locally.

Organizers say they have gathered numerous e-mails from supporters who could be mobilized for future purposes.

The tea party is the latest example of conservative groups objecting to the Obama administration’s spending and tax plans. The American Issues Project created an ad to tap into public anger regarding taxpayer-funded bonuses for executives at American International Group Inc. The ad, which is running nationally on cable television, is one of several that have focused on fiscal matters, including the housing bailout and Mr. Obamas economic stimulus bill.

“I have not seen so much interest and anger” in budgetary matters, said American Issues President Ed Martin.