Friday, several thousand Americans gathered to protest the spending and tax policies of President Barack Obama in over forty cities across the United States in what has come to be known as the New American Tea Party.
The tea party protests were inspired b a televised rant by CNBC commentator Rick Santelli who suggested holding a tea party to protest President Obama’s scheme to bail out mortgage holders. The grievances felt by the attendees of the tea parties have expanded to include spending and tax increases being proposed in President Obama’s budget for FY2010. The notion of a “tea party” as a mode of protest is inspired by the original Boston Tea Party held in 1773 by a patriot group known as the Sons of Liberty to protest the British Tea Act by tossing crates of tea into Boston Harbor.
News and information about the tea party protests have been spread by Internet tools such as twitter, YouTube, social media such as Facebook, and bloggers like Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds, who has been providing pictures and updates sent in by his readers. The tea party protests are a demonstration of how the new media, in the hands of ordinary people, can help to catalyze a political movement.
Another reason that the New American Tea Party movement seems to have arisen spontaneously, is the enormity of what President Barack Obama is trying to do. Obama is proposing massive tax increases, not just on the so called wealthy, but on everyone when one considers his carbon “cap and trade” scheme. Barack Obama’s spending plans, which include everything from national health care to a massive alternative energy program, are mind numbing in its scale and ambition. Barack Obama proposes nothing less that to undo all of the small government reforms enacted by Ronald Reagan and his successors, and replace them with every government based initiative on the liberal wish list that has existed for the past thirty years.
It is not wonder that some Americans would want to push back against this idea. While the Friday tea party protests attracted just a few hundred people in each city, Instapundit reader Robert Mayer suggested that the New American Tea Party movement has the potential to grow enormously.
“What we are seeing now is truly huge POTENTIAL for massive civil unrest against the American government gone lunatic with spending. Realistically, 400-1000 people at a protest, even at a dozen protests across the country, will do nothing to change the minds of our idiot leaders.
“However, it creates the POTENTIAL that each protest could have a million. The Orange Revolution in Ukraine did not start out with two million people camping in tents in downtown Kiev. It started with only a few hundred diehard activists.”
That is a nightmare that President Obama and his supporters have not yet considered. A protest movement on that scale, especially if it motivates voters to go to the polls, would be a force that would sweep away not only Barack Obama and his policy proposals, but much else besides that the Left holds dear.
Sources: Anti-stimulus tea parties light up Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and social media, David Sarno, LA Times, February 27th, 2009
New American Tea Party Brewing, Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, February 24th, 2009
Rick Santelli’s Anti-Obama “Rant Heard Around the World”, Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, February 19th, 2009
Obama to Raise Taxes, Cut Military Spending, Cut Deficit, Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, February 22nd, 2009
Tea Party Update #3, Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit, February 27th, 2009
Tea Party Update #2, Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit, February 27th, 2009
Tea Party Update #1, Glenn Reynolds, Instapunidt, February 27th, 2009