If you are not familiar with how this all started, the On Air Editor for CNBC, Rick Santelli, seemingly captured the mood of many in the country and called for an impromptu Tea Party in Chicago to protest the Obama stimulus package. After that, Tea Parties started popping up across the country and started getting organized.
Personally I think the concept of organizing a grassroots movement against the crazed government spending that America has been subjected to, by Obama and Bush, is a fantastic idea. Nevertheless, I am always skeptical about the agenda of an activist movement, even it happens to match my own philosophy.
While digging into this I came up with three websites that seem to be the tip of the spear for this movement; Tax Day Tea Party, The Tea Party Revolution, and The Reteaparty.
The Tax Day Tea Party
The Tax Day Tea Party is organized by Smart Girl Politics, Top Conservatives on Twitter, the DontGo Movement . Being familiar with SGP and Top Conservatives on Twitter, it suffices to say this organized effort has strong roots in conservatism. Conversely, there is no mention of the GOP or any support provided by Republican members of government in their mission statement.
Eric Odom, owner of Don'tGoMovement.com actually has a post concerning this issue and he sums it up nicely.
Why do we use “Silent Majority” as our national brand?
Because the vast majority of those involved in the Tea Party effort are people who have sat at home yelling at their TV’s for the past few years. This is a group of folks who have gone on with their lives in attempt at the American dream, only to be shell shocked by a sudden and bold surge towards full scale socialism… and we’ve had enough?!
Most of those involved in the Tea Party Movement do not wish to see something with RNC or DNC involvement. We do not want the failed two party structure injecting itself into this movement for political gain.
That’s not to say that there aren’t Republicans or Democrats involved, because we have people identify themselves as both involved all across the country.
But there is certainly no evidence whatsoever that the Tea Party Movement is some kind of orchestrated GOP effort disguising itself as non-partisan. In fact, the evidence suggests quite the opposite.
Take Chicago, for example. A hand full of local young Republicans have been trolling and following me all over the web in an attempt to attack me at every opportunity. They hunt me down on Twitter and Facebook, lashing out at me because I refused to promote their REPUBLICAN sponsored event happening later in the day on April 15th.
Indeed, the FUNDED organizations and media outlets of the left are swinging at this movement from all angles, attempting to paint this as a GOP backed effort. But the reality is that thousands of free-market minded Americans don’t see it that way.
The DontGo Movement was attacked last year by these same groups who claimed that we were taking oil money (still waiting on those magical checks, BTW), and now they claim we’re under the spell of the Republican Party.
What part of “we’re just Americans and we’re mad as hell” do they not understand?
Are they a fringe movement? If you explore the comments section on the about page, the most radical idea being proposed is not paying your taxes on April 15th (I can live with that.) and opposing the Obama administration on its spending habits. Not exactly a dangerous domestic militia movement some are trying to portray them as. I think the only ones who have anything to fear from these people are Senators and Congresssmen in 2010, when it's time to vote.
The Tea Party and Revolution
The next one is the Tea Party and Revolution, this site gives a little more information on their stances and concerns. The second line of their mission statement is the one that jumped out at me.
We are citizens who see a fundamental disconnect between our government and its citizens.How true.
TP & R goes on to to say they do not support any particular candidate or political party and are trying to assist America's citizenry in becoming informed and engaged. Concerning their resource page, the furthest right publication they provide is the Weekly Standard and the furthest left is NewsWeek. I guess if you are one of those who think people that support the Constitution are fringe, then this site isn't for you.
The ReTea Party
This site was organized by PEAC (The Political Exploration and Awareness Committee) which claims to have to have no connections to a particular political party, candidate, or candidates committee. However, they do call for the drafting of three candidates for various offices, they are, Rand Paul, Andrew “The Judge” Napolitano, and Peter Schiff.
I was particularly impressed by the end of their mission statement.
Our team is a small group of young individuals who see the future as an opportunity to reinvigorate our faith in voluntary action, non-partisanship, and free thought. We recognize that many of our chosen leaders have good intentions. There are good Republicans. There are wise Democrats. Libertarians and third parties deserve more respect; but, the independent mind should always be championed. Re-Declare Your Independence.
I am gathering that this movement was created by some Ron Paul supporters and seems to have strong Libertarian ties. Not necessarily a bad thing and hardly constitutes a "fringe element."
All of these grassroots organizations are undeniably conservative in their nature. However, not one of these sites is calling for anything more than grassroots participation by average Americans against overreaching spending by the federal government, I saw nothing advocating violence. Quite to the contrary, they were supporting political engagement and becoming more informed about the political goings on in the Beltway.
Opposition from Left-leaning activists should be expected. Dating back to the 60's they have owned the protest movement and now they are being challenged by a somewhat effective and successful counterpart from the Right. Propaganda such as tying them to militia movements, claims that they advocate violence and overthrow of the government, and the classics, they are racists and homophobes should be expected. No one wants to give up territory they have fought for forty years to gain.
The main difference I see between the Tea Parties and left wing organizations such as Moveon.org,aside from agendas, is the organizers of the Tea Parties have actually reached out to Democrats and Independents. To put it more succinctly, they have reached out to Americans. These responses and their development over the next few years will be interesting to watch.
Fox News-With Tea Parties, Members of Congress Watch From the Sidelines