The Tea Party and its impending dilemma

It’s inevitable. A new party is forming.

It initially grew organically, with little money and near zero media coverage. Inspired by the iconic Boston event that led to the American Revolution, this reincarnation started humbly, with small rallies sprinkled all across the country. With an American drummer boy dressed in colonial garb leading the way, and Don’t Tread On Me flags in tow, these activists took to the streets on a symbolic tax day with chants of liberty, a constitutionalism mantra, and a goal of taking back their country. From this one day of rallies it would grow to become one of the most powerful and disruptive movements in modern American politics. There hasn’t been anything like it in over 150 years. And contrary to popular thought, Fox News and the Republican establishment entirely missed its beginning.

It is called the Tea Party movement and it was started on December 16, 2007…by Ron Paul supporters.

Widely unrecognized in Republican enclaves as the founding event of the movement, the Ron Paul candidacy is inarguably the precursor to the current Tea Party species. Following the trail of its origin provides a fascinating illustration of how a movement, and hence culture, evolves. And it is within these roots that one can find the promise, and impending dilemma, of this young movement as it grows and changes the political landscape.

* * *

It was the wake of the 2008 presidential campaign and the Republican Party, licking its wounds after losing the White House and seats in both houses of Congress, was searching for new leadership and a novel path forward. The party’s National Committee Chairman hopefuls all met for a debate in early January 2009 to discuss their vision for the future of the GOP, and from their words, one could see that the establishment recognized a potential movement. As Michael Steele saw it, “Ron Paul certainly brought a whole new generation of voters and I think it’s important going forward that we recognize the strengths and the attributes of these individuals who are out there actively building the party and building a movement, a consensus if you will, on certain issues.”

And he wasn’t the only one that expressed that sentiment. Katon Dawson, another candidate for the chairmanship, said, “I want people involved in my party that will hang off bridges and paint on their cars and make up T-shirts. There was a passion that I saw of those people for [Ron Paul] and his ideas.” And Chip Saltsman, a former campaign manager of the Huckabee campaign, also gave praise. “Dr. Paul…he is a wonderful man with wonderful ideas.”

The consensus of the future Republican establishment appeared to be that the Paul campaign brought what was absent in the party — new voters and passion. But until that point, the former OB/GYN and his followers were collectively the human pincushions of the GOP elite — a fact evident early in the 2008 campaign cycle.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tania-Gail/1143771073 Tania Gail

    Actually the seeds of the teaparty were sown in 2005 with an organization called ‘Protest Warrior’. They organized counter rallies around anti war demonstrations. One such counter rally occurred in March 2005 in Central Park, NYC and the Gadsen Flag was on display against the hordes attending an anti war rally.




  • Cromwell

    After todays farce with DADT and START with 7 to 9 RINOS jumping ship we need to get this third party under way today if not yesterday. The GOP has sold out the Tea Party in the Lame duck session, Obama looks like a winner and the GOP made him look that way.

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  • ringbell

    I went to the Tea Party event in DC on 9/12/09. My wifw would not go because she was afraid someone would see her and she’d lose her state job(and you thought this was a free country). I drove into DC and did not see any cars on the road so I thought I was only going to see a handful of people when I got there. However when I walked around the corner to Freedom Square and I was blown away by the size of the crowd that extended all the way to the Capital. I never me a nicer bunch of people in my life, from all over the country. Everyone was friendly and well behaved. There were a lot of funny and creative signs.

    There was no media coverae at all none. Well I don’t count CNN as media. Anyway I did not see them because the were so many people there. The point is this there are more of us than we think. The challange is emense because of the power brokers in this country are dead set against this coundtry returning to a democracy.There is big bucks in big government.

    The fight will be long and hard but we need to remain diligent regarding who ascends to the leadership roles. They will be trying to infultrate and destroy. What I like about the movement is the lack of career politicians. But I am afraid they will try to come in. And please don’t think that Fox News is going to be on our side. O’Reilly initially blew off he event by saying only 75,000 people attended. They call Fox a conservative news network with only 2 real conservatives on the payroll. Just think if they had three.