Five years ago today, tea party protesters rose up and took to the streets in more than 30 cities around the nation — and in remembrance, the grassroots is kicking off a big birthday bash in downtown Washington, D.C.
The big question on the plate: Will tea partyers see as much success in the 2014 midterm elections as in years past — or is the movement dying a slow death?
“I think that one of the greatest things that the tea party has done is we have seen how Washington operates and across the country, citizens are more informed about the games that politicians play,” said Jenny Beth Martin, the president and co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, the group sponsoring the birthday bash, in a CBS News report. “We expect that we will have a debt-free future. It may take us a bit longer to get to that future than we would like, but we are going to make sure that we leave a debt-free future to our children.”
In early 2009, during the first movement protest against the stimulus package, The Associated Press described one city’s upstart campaign this way: “Call it the St. Louis tea party. Hundreds of opponents of President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan gathered near the Gateway Arch … and tossed tea into the Mississippi River. The gathering was organized by St. Louis-area conservatives. They took tea from the bags and tossed the loose leaves into the river but not the paper.”
Meanwhile, in Texas that same day, tea party rallies were dotted with signs that read, “Obama bin’ Lyin” and “No more bailouts,” The Washington Post reported.
The movement then turned to Obamacare and helped propel Sen. Rand Paul’s political career into stardom status. In his victory speech, Mr. Paul said: “I have a message, a message from the tea party, a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words. We have come to take our government back,” The Washington Post reported.
Then came Rep. Michele Bachmann, with the first tea party rebuttal to the State of the Union in 2011, and Sen. Marco Rubio — who turned down membership in the Senate Tea Party Caucus, that was founded by his fellow Senate colleague, Mr. Paul, The Washington Post reported.
Other tea party highlights: Sarah Palin seized the stage of the first tea party convention, sponsored by the Tea Party Nation in 2010, and Massachusetts’ Scott Brown won his Senate bid for deceased Democrat Ted Kennedy’s seat — a major upset in a liberal stronghold land that was fueled in part by tea party support. Then came Herman Cain and Ted Cruz — and numerous congressional upsets for establishment Republican and stronghold Democrat seats.
The Tea Party Patriots are hosting the fifth anniversary party at the Hyatt Regency on New Jersey Avenue Northwest in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.
From the group’s ad: “From the bailouts and stimulus of 2008 to the government takeover of health care, a spark was ignited that grew into a vibrant movement of liberty-loving Americans determined to protect their freedoms from an every growing federal government. Since early 2009, the modern Tea Party movement has been on a path to educate Americans about the importance of having a constitutionally limited, fiscally responsible government that preserves an environment for free markets to thrive.”