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Tax Protests and Tea Parties - An American Tradition

Updated on March 17, 2013

It Started With the Boston Tea Party

Tea and taxes became entwined in American culture as a part of our violent birth as a nation when the original thirteen colonies rose in armed rebellion against England's King George III and his tax policies.

Americans were angry with the King and Parliament not only for taxing us without allowing any American representation in Parliament bu also for the army of bureaucrats being sent to administer the taxes and meddle in the internal affairs of the colonies.

The colonists knew that the British government had spent large sums of money helping to defend them in the recent French and Indian War and were willing to help pay for this. They simply did not want the hordes of meddling bureaucrats being sent from London nor the idea that the King and Parliament could tax their money away without the colonists having any say in the process.

This says it all.
This says it all. | Source
People are Upset
People are Upset | Source

Taxes From King George III to The Present

The protests by the our forefathers forced King George III to back off and rescind most of the taxes.

However, like many liberal politicians in Washington today, King George and his allies in Parliament were fighting to retain the principal that the government in distant London had the right to tax and micromanage the lives of the people in the colonies without any external restraints.

This idea of unchecked power in distant London was alien to the colonists who, from the beginning, while being loyal subjects, had from the beginning enjoyed a large degree of local autonomy. This power grab by the government in London threatened to take away the local autonomy and freedom that the colonists cherished.

Instead of respecting the colonists as loyal subjects willing to do their share for the national good while retaining their freedom to live their lives as they saw fit, the King responded by eliminating all but the small tax on tea but retaining the principle of London's unchecked power.

Today the tea party tradition is being revived as a protest against big government and its taxes that have reached magnitudes that make King George III look like a responsible ruler. Having sprung up quickly and spreading like wildfire, the tea parties have taken both conservatives and liberals by surprise and have left pundits on both sides wondering what, if anything, they will lead to.

Liberals, especially the hard left clique that holds the reins of power in the White House and Congress, are hoping that the tea parties are a temporary phenomenon that will quickly disappear. While conservatives are waiting to see if this spontaneous movement will gain traction and produce leaders who will turn it into an effective force that will stop the current administration from continuing on its course leading the nation to socialism.


President Obama is Responsible in More Ways Than One

At the moment no one is making any predictions about this grass roots movement which, thanks to the communication capabilities of the Internet, has sprung up spontaneously in cities and towns all over the nation. The organizers are ordinary citizens as are those attending these events. Not only are the participants in these tea parties ordinary citizens, but they are coming from all parts of the political spectrum. Contrary to the claims of many in government and what is left of the mainstream media, these people are not all drawn from what is commonly believed to be the conservative side of the political spectrum.

Ironically, President Obama himself may be partially responsible for the tea parties in more ways than one. Obviously, the immediate impetus behind the tea parties has been President Obama's policies involving massive spending and the need for higher taxes in the future to pay for this spending.

However, during his campaign for President, Mr. Obama not only made use of some of the same Internet tools to reach out to people and get his message to them as well as bring them out to rallies for him, he also deliberately targeted new voters in an attempt to recruit support from those who had never voted previously. He also made CHANGE the central point of his campaign, and kept repeating the theme that he would CHANGE the way government was run in Washington when he was elected. Finally, he promised to first keep the Bush tax cuts in place until they expired and cut taxes for the middle class (low income people don't pay income taxes).

Given the irresponsible spending of the previous Republican Congressional majority and the failure of the Bush Administration to rein in Federal spending, coupled with the massive growth in the Federal government under the Bush Administration, the Republican party had little credibility when it needed to have people take it seriously as the party of fiscal restraint and small government during the 2008 election.

This left the war in Iraq as the main point of difference between the two major candidates and, even here there was not much difference between the two candidates other than the fact that the Republican President Bush had led us into that war which made then Senator Obama the logical choice for those who had come to oppose that war. For a number of Republican, independent and swing voters, candidate Obama was a fresh face who could be expected to basically maintain the status quo and thus presented either a good alternative to the Republican candidate or a way to express their dissatisfaction with the Republicans by voting for candidate Obama (people casting votes for Obama in this manner were voting against McCain rather than for Obama).

President Obama's Campaign Promises Laid Groundwork for Tea Parties

In promising CHANGE, candidate Obama did just that - he promised CHANGE but was careful to never define what he meant by change and this allowed people to come up with their own ideas of what he meant by CHANGE.

This vagueness alone would have caused President Obama some PR problems upon winning, as any changes he made would have angered some of his supporters whose ideas of what to change differed from his. But the real problem as far as the tea parties go is that one issue that emerged during the campaign was the problem of earmarks which, despite the fact that they constitute only 1% of the Federal budget, the $20,000,000,000 ($20 BILLION) ( see Question of Timing on Bush’s Push on Earmarks, by DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK, New York Times, Jan 29, 2008) spent on them each year is still a large amount of money in the eyes of average taxpaying citizens.

Within a month of becoming President, Mr. Obama, not only did nothing about earmarks but approved a record breaking appropriations bill which was labeled an economic stimulus bill but came loaded with earmarks. Adding insult to injury, President Obama even went so far as to acknowledge and justify the earmarks in it. This, along with his proposed budget and inventory of other huge spending programs that even President Obama admits he can't find the money to fund immediately, has obviously been a major spark in igniting the prairie fire of tea parties that is sweeping the nation.

Role of Non-Voters in Restraining Winning Candidates

In addition to the angering many of his supporters who voted for him, or came out and participated in the political process for the first time because of him, and are now angry and disillusioned, there are also the thousands of those who didn't vote (registered voters who choose not to vote, eligible, but unregistered, voters who saw no need to register and vote and those like youth under 18, non-citizen residents and former felons who have not had their civil rights restored) but still pay taxes and are angry about the huge spending that the President is engaging in.

Voting is an outlet in which people who are dissatisfied with the government can peacefully express their frustration and attempt to change the government by electing those more to their liking. Eligible non-voters (registered or unregistered) are more than likely satisfied with the status quo and don't see any need to vote. The larger the number of these voters the more careful the winner of an election must be as there is always the possibility of losing the next election if he or she angers enough of these eligible non-voters sufficiently to make them come out and vote in the next election.

Finally, there are those who voted for candidates other than President Obama. Their candidate(s) lost and, given this, they would ordinarily have to accept that fact and wait until the next election. However, if sufficient numbers of those who voted for the President along with others who didn't vote are upset enough to take to the streets, the supporters of the losing candidates have the opportunity and incentive to join the fray as well thereby adding more bodies to the movement.

CNBC Commentator Rick Santelli First Proposed Idea of Holding Tea Parties on a February 19th Broadcast

As of this writing (April 19, 2009) the tea parties are still at the spontaneous gathering stage with limited local leadership and no clear direction or organized national leadership. The Obama-Pelosi-Reid crowd in control in Washington along with their supporters in the dying mainstream media are hoping that the tea parties will turn out to be a limited event in which people express a momentary dissatisfaction with the income tax and then move on with their lives.

While the largest outpouring of tea parties to date occurred on April 15th 2009, general credit for the idea currently goes to CNBC financial commentator Rick Santelli who, while giving his regular report from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for CNBC's morning show Squawk Box on February 19, 2009, expressed outrage (and drew cheers from the floor traders around him) at President Obama's proposal to use tax dollars to help people who lied about their income on their mortgage applications (which is a violation of Federal law as stated on the mortgage application) and took out loans for homes that they knew they could not afford. Toward the end of his rant, he made the statement that he would like to invite people to a tea party, by the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago, on July 4th where people could show their outrage at the government's policies.

The clip of the CNBC segment of Santelli's rant became an instant hit on YouTube and spread quickly around the Internet. Within days, tea parties were being organized and held (this was not just an April 15th event as many were held before that date and Santalli's call for a July 4th party is still open) as well as appeals made to mail tea bags to Senators and Congressmen as a form of protest.

Ideas Propelling the Tea Party Movement

What is clear at the moment about the tea parties is that those participating are:

First, and foremost, upset with the way the government is being run in Washington. This, of course, is broad and unfocused frustration.

Second, the vast majority of those participating and supporting the movement are expressing the feeling that the government is too big - again, a very broad position but a little more focused than the first.

Third, and right up there with the first two, is outrage over spending. All participants agree that the level of spending is too high - of course where and what to cut is the big question mark.

Fourth, Taxes and the current tax system are another big issue shared by most attendees and, like size of government and spending, is more specific than the first but again no clear agreement on what to cut or what to replace the system with.

Reading the signs carried at the tea parties one can see other issues such as calls to abolish the Federal Reserve, respect for Second Amendment rights to bear arms, Texas Governor Rick Perry's call for succession if the Administration continues on its current track and various anti-government grievances.

In addition to the American Flag one also sees the famous Revolutionary War banner with its coiled rattlesnake and words Don't Tread on Me. Portraits of Ayn Rand, the famous libertarian author (Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead) who experienced the horrors of big government at the hands of Vladimir Lenin and his Bolsheviks in her homeland in Russia.

Pictures of Tea Parties Taken While Watching Reports on Fox News


President Obama Could Change Direction and Emerge as Leader of Tea Party Movement

Mass movements also need leadership to sustain and guide the fight. At the moment, leadership is small and limited to local areas. One or more recognized national leaders may be needed to keep the movement going and help it to institute real change. While such leadership could emerge from the ranks, there are some established political leaders who may be willing to gamble their political careers and come forward.

First and foremost among possible leaders could be the President himself. While his approval rating continues to fall among the nation as a whole and the feelings of some of the participants in the tea parties toward him border on hate, most of the reports of the April 15th tea parties indicated that much of the anger and frustration of the the attendees was directed toward the President's policies and not him personally. Also, many of the participants admitted that they not only voted for him but still supported him personally.

While highly unlikely, President Obama could do a 180 degree turn politically and try to assume the leadership of this movement. Many elected Democratic Congressmen and Senators are already worried about the 2010 mid-term elections and concerned about the backlash they have encountered from constituents due to the excesses of the current Democratic leadership in Congress. The President could make such a move and not lose the support of a large portion of his party.

At this point the President could still reposition himself by simply firing the hardliners in his administration and shifting the blame for the unpopular policy moves to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid both of whom already have a reputation as hard core leftists. After all, the President did campaign on a platform that included tax cuts and change and now that he sees the change that people want, he could make such a move and still retain his credibility.

On the Republican side, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has gained some fame and credibility with his refusal to accept the government's stimulus money and the chains that go with it.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is another Republican governor who has been making a name for himself as an opponent of big government and reckless spending.

Then there is Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican with strong small government and low tax convictions and who caused a bit of a stir following his speech at the tea party in Austin, Texas on April 15th when, in answer to a reporter's question, he suggested that Texans at some point might get so fed up with the actions of the Federal Government that they would want to succeed. He quickly added that we have a great nation and he didn't foresee any reason to dissolve it but stipulated that Texans were very independent and didn't like the government infringing on their freedoms. While not calling for succession, this saber rattling by the governor went down well with the crowds.

Finally, there is Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. There is no question about her popularity with common people and with the conservative base of the Republican Party. Without her, President Obama's election margin of victory probably would have been even greater. I am sure that there are other Republicans who, like me, see in Sarah Palin another Lady Margaret Thatcher and who voted for her despite the running mate she was paired with.

Anyone doubting her potential should read the article by former Special Advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, John O'Sullivan, entitled Conservative Snobs Are Wrong About Palin - I know Maggie Thatcher. The two women have a lot in common in the Wall Street Journal's December 23, 2008 online Opinion Journal. In it O'Sullivan describes Lady Thatcher's rough edges and missteps, similar to those of Governor Palin in the last election, early in her career and then shows how she grew politically and used her new found skills to lead the UK from near third world economic status back to the top ranks of economically advanced nations. Like Governor Palin, Lady Thatcher had a strong backbone and firm convictions which helped her to stay on course and pursue her goal of freedom.

Photos From Mid-March 2009 Tea Party in Mesa, AZ

The photos below were taken at a mid-March 2009 Tea Party in Mesa, Arizona.  They were apparently sent around the Internet as an email attachment - my sister in New York forwarded a copy of the email and pictures to me - I have cut out and published the sign portion of some of the photos here.  Based upon the signs in the photos the main focus of this particular Tea Party was to mock the stimulus bill.

These Signs Say It All


Possible Impact of Tea Party Movement

The first result of the Tea Party Movement could be a major defeat at the polls for Democratic members of Congress in the 2010 mid-term elections thereby thwarting the President's program and sending him to join the ranks of one term has-beens.

Another could be action at the state level to call for a Constitutional Convention to ratify one or more amendments (separate conventions would probably be needed for each amendment) placing limits on federal spending power, or taxing power, or other federal activities that citizens find abusive and distasteful. Such a convention could also be used to put forward an amendment to repeal the Sixteenth Amendment which allows the Federal Government to levy a tax on incomes. While the convention method has never been used successfully to amend the Constitution, the threat, by grass roots movements, to use it has forced Congress on more than one occasion to make desired reforms.

Among changes brought about by this threat of amending the Constitution via the Convention route was the Twenty-First Amendment which was passed in response to threats by the people to call a Constitutional Convention to repeal the infamous Eighteenth Amendment that gave the Federal Government the power to ban the manufacture, distribution and consumption of alcohol. Precedent has thus been set to not only repeal a misguided early 20th Century Progressive Era Constitutional Amendment (the Eighteenth Amendment was pushed through less than a decade after the Income Tax amendment and by the same big government Progressive crowd who wanted the government to manage every aspect of people's lives) but to use the threat of a Constitutional Convention to to accomplish this.

The Twenty-Second Amendment, which limits a president to two terms in office is another one that Congress quickly put forward under threat by the people to push for a Constitutional Convention. This amendment was quickly passed a mere two years after the death of Franklin Roosevelt in 1945 ended his unprecedented 13 year rule as President and can be seen as another example of the distaste of Americans for big government.

The most recent attempt to amend the Constitution by Convention came less than three decades ago in 1983 when citizens of 32 states had their legislatures to pass resolutions calling for Congress to convene a Convention to pass an amendment limiting government spending. Before two more state legislatures passed such resolutions (thereby bringing the total to 34 or the required 2/3 of the states as per Article V of the Constitution) Congress passed the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act which required Congress to balance the Federal Budget by 1991.

Since tea parties are an exercise of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances which are guaranteed by the First Amendment (the full text of which reads: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.) of the Bill of Rights, the movement could serve as a good civics lesson for the nation. The Bill of Rights, after all, consists of the first ten amendments to the Constitution and was added to the Constitution as the result of a grass roots movement by citizens concerned about protecting American citizens from their government before that government was even established.

Charles Pinckney, a delegate to the 1787 Constitutional Convention proposed a bill of rights for the Constitution during the convention but the members of the convention saw no need and did not include such a listing in the original Constitution.
Once the completed Constitution was presented to the states for ratification, opponents, concerned about preserving and protecting the rights of citizens, began writing and publishing articles urging that the proposed Constitution be rejected (the nation did have a very weak government and weak constitution known as the Articles of Confederation in place at that time).

In response to this opposition Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay undertook to write and publish a series of articles in support o the proposed Constitution. These articles, originally written anonymously, later appeared in book form under the title of The Federalist Papers .

Those writing in opposition to the proposed Constitution became known as the Anti-Federalists. While I have seen references to the Anti-Federalists, it wasn't until the creation of the Web that the writings of the Anti-Federalists became widely and easily available. Despite the fact that the Anti-Federalists lost and the Constitution was approved, their writings did rouse public sentiment to the extent that the first Congress to meet under our present Constitution was forced to adopt a Bill of Rights which was promptly ratified by the states.

While politicians, media and school civics classes tend to focus on the parts of the First Amendment referring to the separation of church and state, freedom of speech and press, and the Fifth Amendment's reference to the right not to be forced to testify against ones self, the entire document, which is very short, makes for good reading as well. The Ninth (The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.) and especially the Tenth (The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. NOTE: the words United States as used here refers to the Federal Government in Washington) will be a surprise to many people, which is not unusual given that these two amendments, especially the Tenth, have been deliberately ignored and forgotten by supporters of big government from civics teachers to Presidents for the past century and a half.

Simply forcing the Federal Government to abide by the Tenth Amendment would drastically shrink the Federal Government and result in a major devolution of power from Washington to the states. While state governments and state and local politicians can be as wasteful and power hungry as any in Washington, it is much easier for people to organize at the state level to oust a governor or majority of the legislature than to do the same at the Federal Level.

A second advantage to transferring power from Washington to the states is that people would have an additional voting option and that is to vote with their feet and move from a high tax state to a low tax one - all without having to give up their American citizenship (as I explained in a previous Hub, Americans cannot escape taxes by moving to another country as the U.S. continues to require them to pay taxes - even renouncing one's American citizenship does not necessarily free one from U.S. taxes and Congress has passed laws requiring people to continue to pay income taxes on their foreign income for up to ten years or face arrest and extradition back to the U.S. for the crime of not paying American taxes).

Tea Party Movement is Just Another Step In America's Long Tradition of Opposing Big Government and High Taxes

Only time will tell as to what will be the ultimate result of the tea party movement. However, when viewed within the context of America's history, the tea party movement becomes, not an isolated event, but a part of America's long tradition of being distrustful of government and zealous guardians of their freedom. Viewed from this perspective, a big and overbearing federal government is more of a mid-twentieth century aberration than a part of our tradition of freedom.

CNBC's Rick Santalli's Feb 19 2009 Tea Party Invite

CNN Reporter Doesn't Know Difference Between Reporting and Editorializing


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    • turnleftthenright profile image


      9 years ago from Kansas City, MO

      Here is where you guys go wrong. The "leaders" you support as part of your cabal do not listen to you...they listen to the next big donor. You can continue to call yourselves the Tea Party when the reality is that you are Pat Robertson are being exposed for who you really are. As long as you support Republicans who take huge donations from lobbyists, big business and the uber wealthy in this will only help to support their efforts against you not with you. Too bad you are too blind to see the truth.

    • profile image

      EL NINO  

      9 years ago

      I Disagree with pretty much everything in this article

    • KFlippin profile image


      10 years ago from Amazon

      Glad to see you address Krugman for the shill that he is. Excellent hub, will come back and read it more closely. Also, term limits on Reps and Senators has long since been needed, I don't think much will change until there are term limits and Congress is no longer full of career politicians.

    • Chuck profile imageAUTHOR

      Chuck Nugent 

      10 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      Ralph - Thanks for the link.

      I read the article a couple of times and each time concluded that the subtitle "Paranoia Strikes Deep" summed it up perfectly. And it is Paul Krugman who is paranoid.

      It is obvious that Paul Krugman is a true believer who worships big government. Now, confronted with the prospect of the masses ignoring and no longer paying attention to the sermons that the New York Times and the rest of the dying mainstream media have spewed forth for the past century, he, like some medieval grand inquisitor, has taken it upon himself to stamp out this growing heresy.

      Fortunately he won't succeed as logic and rationality are alive and well on the right and the Tea Party Movement and others on the right are doing a great job of exposing the myths about big government. Check out this link from the UCLA press office about the work being done by real economists.

      Thanks again for the link.


    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 

      10 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      The GOP is being "Californicated" by the tea baggers and Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Dick Armey, Sean Hannity, et al, and is endangering the nation according to my favorite Nobel Prize economist and political commentator, Paul Krugman.

    • profile image


      11 years ago from USA

      Hi Chuck,

      I just finished writing a post about ideological fractures that are occurring in our society. The link is: Truth be told, I do not think the tea parties are only a matter of dispute over tax dollars, but rather an all out fight to protect our Republic and its free market based capitalistic existence. I like many other Americans find our current political climate to be infuriating. I feel that I MUST step out and become and activist to protect my basic rights and freedoms, Our constitution and our very way of life. This started out with mere ire at an outrageous tax scam that transferred the wealth of average American citizens into the hands of the corrupt. From there, things have only taken a turn for the worse. I just think it is important that people really think about what we are really taking a stand to protect. On a lighter note, I have a simple solution that will solve our deficit and economic woes, return about seven million illegal immigrants to their homeland and rid us of Nancy Pelosi in one transaction. I propose we sell California back to mexico with the stipulation that they MUST keep Nancy.

    • Chuck profile imageAUTHOR

      Chuck Nugent 

      11 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      tomdhum - thank for the compliment. I am glad you liked this Hub.

      As to House Bill 2454 or Cap and Trade, it is nothing more than another big tax and power grab by the socialists in Washington. In addition to saddling the American people with a huge indirect tax, it will also give them more power to limit our freedom and micromanage our lives.

      Despite the financial burden it will place on American citizens and its negative impact on the economy, it will do nothing to reduce the carbon emissions which its backers claim are causing global warming and need to be reduced. Even London's Financial Times, a paper which buys into the junk science myths about carbon emissions causing global warming, has editorialized that the bill will have no effect on reducing carbon emissions until at least 2020.

      In a way cap and trade, if passed by the Senate, will be for the environment what the President's healthcare plan will be for health. Like cap and trade, the health plan will cost a lot of money and if you get sick you will have to wait a dozen years to see a doctor.

    • tomdhum profile image


      11 years ago from memphis tn

      Great Hub Chuck. Like to know what your opinion is on House Bill 2454 The Clean Energy and Security Bill passed by the House and now will go before the Senate. You can post your comments on my Hub know your congressman. Thanks LOL

    • Deltachord profile image


      11 years ago from United States

      Thanks Chuck. More great information.

    • Chuck profile imageAUTHOR

      Chuck Nugent 

      11 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      Deltachord - thanks for your comment.

      I also agree with you on the separation of church and state and have read in more than one place that the motivation for the inclusion of that clause was the fact that six or seven of the original thirteen colonies/states had official, state supported, churches at the time the Constitution was approved. The problem was that different states had different churches and the fear was that if the Federal Government decided to declare an official church it would be a different church than the official church of at least some of the states. The fear was that this would lead to religious conflicts between the Federal government and the states similar to the religious wars that had ravaged Europe a century or so before (and which were still relatively fresh in the minds of many whose recent ancestors had fled to America to escape religious persecution).

      Since the Bill of Rights originally applied only to the Federal Government and not to the states, states were free to recognize an official church and support it with tax dollars. It wasn't until the passage of the 14th amendment following the Civil War that the Bill of Rights was applied to the states and by that time most states had already abandonded recognizing their official churches.

      Thanks again for the comment

    • Deltachord profile image


      11 years ago from United States

      Great article. Basically only disagree with seperation of church and originally and does mean no state church as in for example Church of England. The first books printed in the U.S by the federal government were Bibles.

      It doesn't mean that religion should stay out of the government, but that the government shouldn't prohibit religion.

    • Vladimir Uhri profile image

      Vladimir Uhri 

      11 years ago from HubPages, FB

      Many are misled by polls which are very politically colored. Those 48% agreeing with the taxes do not pay taxes and live from those who pay.

      I lived in socialism/communism. I risked life to escape. We should have an Amendment to outlaw the socialism. If you are communist then you love socialism, because it is the same system with different stages.   

      Very good hub, thanks.


    • maven101 profile image

      Larry Conners 

      11 years ago from Northern Arizona

      We had a Tea Party here in Cottonwood, Arizona that was organized by myself ( conservative ) and 4 others ( all liberal democrats )...where does the media come off with the braying claims that Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, or Hannity, somehow instigated these protests..?

      Ours, and I'm certain all the other Tea parties, were simply average Americans that are fed up with the direction our President and his administration is taking. With a total population ( Cottonwood and Clarkdale ) of around 15,000, we had a turn-out of 700 people. Considering it was a regular day of work, windy and chilly, it was a very impressive protest.

      Having moved here 5 years ago from the SF Bay Area, I now know what the true meaning of " community " is, and it doesn't need community organizers ( Acorn ) to make things happen.

    • Elynjo profile image


      11 years ago from Sin City

      I participated on our Tea Party here in Las Vegas, most of the people I talked to are democrats, who doesn't like Fox News Channel, so I don't see why the media reported that this was the work of the Republicans and Fox News. I was there as an American citizen who have the right to voice out my opinion on our present economy as a whole.

    • djrana0 profile image


      11 years ago from Dhaka,Mirpur-10,Bangladesh

      very good hub

    • Chuck profile imageAUTHOR

      Chuck Nugent 

      11 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      K466 - Thanks for the suggestion about Ron Paul. I probably should update that section of the article and add Congressman Paul to the list.

      Congressman Paul has maintained a high profile since the election and, whether or not he runs for President again, he can and will certainly play a role in reshaping the debate over the role og government.

      Thanks again


    • profile image

      issues veritas 

      11 years ago

      Cut taxes, cut the size of the government workforce.

    • Lisa HW profile image

      Lisa HW 

      11 years ago from Massachusetts

      The real waste of tax dollars is waste that doesn't make its way to the world news; because people in the government aren't looking within for waste and incompetence, and people reporting the news don't even know it goes on.

      Citizens who see even a fraction of what goes on don't need Fox News to "whip them up", whether or not they participated in any Tea Parties. At the same time, the people who are unhappy with the direction in which things are going want the country returned to its original principles - not modeled after other countries that either have their own versions of the same problems, or else their own set of different problems.

    • Ivan the Terrible profile image

      Ivan the Terrible 

      11 years ago from Madrid

      I have to laugh because in our eyes, those of us in Europe, Obama is anything but a far-left Liberal. To us he would be a moderate, pragmatist, unlike the far right and far left. He is also no socialist, at least not to us who live in nations which are definitely more socialist than you in the US could ever imagine.

      As for socialism, well, I pay no medical bills, I pay no more taxes than you so, my gas is more expensive but I can bicycle, catch the metro or train or a bus to get anywhere in the city or countryside. You should cry more about how you taxes are wasted. I remember when I was a US citizen that hammers and other mundane things cost hundreds or thousands of dollars because your free-market capitalists used to get away with charging your government that much for them. The oddest thing was a toilet seat you could have bought (in those days) in Sears for $15 cost uncle sam $1,235.

      Your Haliburton is only one more example of how your political patronage system reeks of favoritism and they can't even build a shower without electrocuting your own soldiers! Wake up America, your tea party should be to replace your arcane, inept and corrupt parties with a new idea where socialism is not a dirty word and your people are taken care of as well as they are here in Europe. While you snoze, you lose.

    • profile image

      issues veritas 

      11 years ago

      It doesn't make sense for the Bill of Rights, to be selectively incorporated into the State Constitutions. The Bill of Rights should apply throughout the States, unchanged..

    • K466 profile image


      11 years ago

      Excellent! (Standing Ovation) The only thing I'm surprised you did not mention was Ron Paul, amoung the list of potential Republican leaders.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      11 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Where were the protests as the US began to hemorage $ for the war, where were the protests when Blackwater sucked back such a huge chunk of taxpayer $ and we were suddenly spending a fortune on mercenaries? Oh, they were there all right, just not reported on.

      A protest that's led by FOX news is not a real grass roots protest but a bunch of baloney slung by a corporate giant. Corporate big wigs are suddenly afraid they will lose their stanglehold on the American people (or should I say the world) so are whipping people up under the guise of being suddenly all politiacal when it's mostly a bunch of idiots. No offence.

    • Lisa HW profile image

      Lisa HW 

      11 years ago from Massachusetts

      Excellent Hub. Long before this recent "tea party" movement, I've often thought about The Boston Party, as I've watched the state in which I reside (Massachusetts) allow its government to get more and more out of control, not just on taxes but on inflicting the beliefs of "any-old-body" who manages to get himself elected as a state rep/state senator (often because people just vote for the most heard-of name) on the rest of the citizens in the Commonwealth.

      It's pretty hard for me to imagine how people who work at the statehouse in BOSTON (which is supposed to "steeped in the nation's history) have strayed so far away from the nation's original principles - and so close a King George III mentality, themselves.

    • Chuck profile imageAUTHOR

      Chuck Nugent 

      11 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      Calebd - thanks for your comments.

      As to large central government, there has always been a tug of war between the strong central government ideological descendants of Alexander Hamilton and the limited central government/states rights ideological descendants of Thomas Jeferson.

      Witness the fights over the First and Second Banks of the U.S. both of which were ultimately defeated by repealing their charters. The Federal Reserve is the third attempt and it has many critics who whould like to get rid of it.

      The Constitution itself was originally drafted by more moderate leaders of the Revolution who sought to strengthen the centeral government for greater efficiency but still sought to limit its powers by dividing it into three branches and making it share power with the states. The convention also rejected many of the ideas put forth by Alexander Hamilton (who was a delegate to the convention) such as his proposal for the executive power to be placed in the hands of a king. The more radical leaders, like Thomas Jefferson, who wern't at the convention then proceeded to first oppose the ratification of the Constitution because they feared it would become too powerful and then forced the backers of the Constitution to include a Bill of Rights protecting the rights of the people and the states by limiting the power of the Federal Government. The Tenth Amendment clearly puts limits (which have been ignored in the past century) the powers of the Federal Government.

      As to taxes, you mention George Washington and the Whiskey Rebellion - that is an example of the people taking up arms against a tax and that was when the Federal Goverment was less than ten years old. Then there was the Civil War which was a result of the Federal Government's high tariffs (which are taxes). The income tax was first enacted by the Lincoln Adminsitration and subsequently declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (hence the need for the Sixteenth Amendment). Finally, there was the rapid enactment of the Twenty-Second Amendment, which limits the President to two terms in office thereby effectively weakening his power and hold on power. This was enacted to prevent a future President from attempting to consolidate power the way Franklin Roosevelt did.

      If you want to see how popular taxes are, just pass a law requiring Congres to limit tax and spending bills to a single program at a time and require them to be pass on a roll call vote. No more omnibus spending and tax bills containing thousands of pages and all kinds of taxes and spending programs buried within them. Having to debate and vote on each program separately with each member of Congress having to go on record with his/her vote would resule in either a drastic reduction in the number of tax and spending programs or would effectively limit Congresmen and Senators to one term in office as most would be dumped in the next election.

      Thanks again for your comments.

    • calebd profile image


      11 years ago from Newark

      I take no issue with protests against taxation. As a left-leaning libertarian, that's fine by me. You've a right to protest. It's healthy. Misrepresentation, however, is not.

      To say this "movement" is libertarian or fuelled by angry Democrats ignores masses of data about the "movement" itself. Considering your claims of how widespread this disaffectation is, I'll let you support how the Democratic President's approval is in the mid-60s, 48% of the country believes they are being taxed fairly (most people got a tax cut, me included) and how given so many hours of essentially free advertising by the media, only around half a million people showed up nationwide. I'm happy enough to reserve judgment for about a year, as is evidently, most of the country. It was no spontaneous event. It'd been documented as having roots with various conservative organizations who co-opted libertarian protests. The irony involved though, that's what's funny to me, folks protesting wasteful spending by...wasteful buying of tea. It's co-opting of a decent libertarian idea/protest by the far right so they can compare Obama to Hitler. If you'll recall, there have been tea parties before, not just this one year where FOX sponsored them.

      Also, socialism, it doesn't mean what you think it means.

      Most importantly, you're misrepresenting American history. The original protests were not anti-tax themselves, but were concerned with sovereignty, not size of government or the principle of taxation as you seem to imply in the rest of your hub. Big and overbearing government is not a recent phenomenon. Have you looked at tax structures in the post-colonial period? Hell, even George Washington himself had to put down an anti-tax protest on his watch. Heard of the Whiskey Rebellion? The roots of that even lay in how the center was consolidating power from the states. The United States is steeped in large government, always has been. To argue otherwise is purposely obtuse.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Another Excellent article. You mentioned that people could vote with their feet and move to a lower tx state, Minnesota just had that point driven home. The Football Team the Vikings lost a much needed receiver they were trying to sign in the free agency draft because of Washington State has no Income Tax, while Minnesota has a very high personal income tax. It is estimated that he will save several millions in taxes over the life of the contract.

    • profile image

      issues veritas 

      11 years ago


      Most of the tax reduction is coming from the fact that if you don't work for the government, you most likely don't have a job.

      No job, no taxes, excellent plan.

    • drpastorcarlotta profile image

      Pastor Dr Carlotta Boles 

      11 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

      GREAT HUB!

    • Chuck profile imageAUTHOR

      Chuck Nugent 

      11 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      jkamper - thanks for your comment. But I have to disagree. Looking at the reports it seems that the Republicans were caught off guard with this just like the Democrats. I doubt that the Libertarians and conservatives could launch such a large movement this early in Obama's administration. I think that the anger behind the movement is coming from Obama supporters and non-voters and that Republicans and conservatives are simply jumping (gleefully) on the bandwagon.

      Michael Steele, the Chairman of the Republican National Comm. asked to speak at the Washington Tea Party and was told that he was welcome to attend but would not be allowed to speak.

      Republicans and conservatives may be in the majority in areas that went for McCain in the last election (hence the anti-Obama tone of the March Tea Party in Mesa) but the main thrust of the other Tea Parties seems to be non-political as they are attracting (and want to attract) people from all over the political spectrum.

      Thanks again for your comment.


    • profile image


      11 years ago

      The participants in Tea parties were there simply to protest anything. With all the financial trouble going on now, frustration more than anything else was the catalyst. The fact that many were protesting an increase in taxes shows just how disconnected and informed many of them are. Obama is reducing taxes for most of us; increases go to the highest 1% of the population. As far as "grass roots" go, Channel 11 news hosts were involved in much of the popularizing of the "movement." As far as politics is concerned, Republicans are the dogs in the manger. Obama could sneeze and some Republican would predict an increase of the flu or blame one on him. They're flailing at anything, just like the tea parties.

    • Isabellas profile image


      11 years ago from Ohio

      I love the tea movement. I just hope it gains enough momentum to stop the so called changes before they come along and end up costing us more than what we can afford.

    • profile image

      issues veritas 

      11 years ago


      I really like TEA, I just wish we had TEA last year.

      But, TEA can work even if it has to steep longer.

      Good hub

    • Chuck profile imageAUTHOR

      Chuck Nugent 

      11 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      issues veritas - I agree that the Tea Party Movement would have been better last year which was an election year.

      However, if the movement continues to gain traction and strength it could put fear of electoral loss into the hearts of enough members of Congress to stop the President's program dead in its tracks and it wouldn't be the first time that the people have forced a President to change his policies.

      Also, while President Bush and the Republican majority in Congress managed to anger many people most of those angered were in the opposition whose candidates lost in the previous elections. The supporters of President Bush and the Republican Congress either remained loyal to the President and his party or were not angered enough to do anything but wait until the next election. And the mass of non-voters remained basically undisturbed.

      I feel that the Tea Parties are a direct result of President Obama's hard swing to the left which has angered not only supporters of the opposition whose candidates lost and they initially accepted the fact that they could do nothing, but also angered many of his own supporters and many in the mass of non-voters and this is what has caused the huge outpouring of opposition.

      If it was only conservatives and Republicans behind the Tea Parties this could be dismissed a sour grapes by the losing side but with the President's own supporters coming out enmass against his policies a mere two months after he took office, I think President Obama has a big problem.

      Thanks again for your comment.

    • maven101 profile image

      Larry Conners 

      11 years ago from Northern Arizona

      Why does the press marginalize a huge, nationwide, conservative protest and maximize a Code Pink outing of perhaps 25 people...?

      Why is a liberal " intellectual " more relevant than say Joe the Plumber..? At least Joe is making something happen, making something work...the liberal " intellectual " contributes nothing but condensation, muttered commentary steeped in egalitarianism, and apologetically unAmerican....

      A timely and relevant Hub...Thanks

    • profile image

      issues veritas 

      11 years ago

      This would have been a better TEA last year before and at the election. Too late now for at least 2 years and maybe even 4 years.


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