What is the Tea Party Movement?
The Tea Party is a grass-roots movement started by ordinary Americans concerned with the direction of their local and national government and the politicians running the government.
As a populist movement, the Tea Party movement strives to effect political change with the primary goal being to provide a direct benefit to the American people through the ideals of fiscal conservatism and less government interference in the lives of citizens, creating an efficient government that lives within its means and does not pass a burden of debt onto future generations.
Tea Party is Not a Political Party
As of the beginning of 2011 the Tea Party or Tea Party Movement was not a registered national political party.
While the Tea Party movement in general has already had a strong presence and effect in political arenas, its role has been to support/sponsor specific candidates who so far have all been Republican candidates who have espoused and stood by the Tea Party ideals.
In some cases these Tea Party backed candidates were existing politicians/candidates and in other cases they are candidates who are completely new to the political process.
Public Embraces New Faces with Strong Tea Party Ideals
For example in the Super Tuesday GOP primary of the 2010 midterm elections - Randal “Rand” Paul - who was backed by the Tea Party but had never held office before, garnered sixty percent of the vote and staunchly defeated Trey Grayson who was an established politician backed by the Republican party.
After the victory Rand Paul stated that the goal of the Tea Party movement was to save the United States from “a mountain of debt.” He went on to win in the general election and become a U.S. Senator from Kentucky. Paul is just one example of the Tea Party movement’s growing influence as demonstrated strongly in recent local and national elections.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” --Benjamin Franklin
Tea Party Movement Reshaping Established Politicians
Some existing politicians/candidates have indeed listened to the voice of the Tea Party movement and aligned their political behaviors to respond to what they hear.
In other words, even though the Tea Party or Tea Party Movement is not a political party, it is effecting a message through the existing political system. How this will continue to play out in the future is undetermined at this point.
“Where sense is wanting, everything is wanting.” --Benjamin Franklin
An Overview of the Tea Party Movement
The Tea Party movement does not have any dominant central leadership. That is not to say there is no leadership at all as various groups/websites have arisen to try to coordinate the many local Tea Party groups and in particular to organize Tea Party demonstrations, Tea Party protests, and other events to support the movement and often to protest specific legislation, taxes, etc.
That said, the lack of a central leadership (determined governing body, certifying organization, etc.) is one of the strong points of the Tea Party movement ensuring its grass-roots nature that is built from the bottom up by regular citizens becoming civically involved in maintaining their quality of life in a fair and equitable manner free from overly oppressive government interference.
In the Spirit of the Boston Tea Party of 1773
Like the colonists of the Boston Tea Party in 1773 whose rallying cry was “No taxation without representation,” the modern Tea Party movement also has a cause fundamentally rooted in fairness.
Just as the colonists rebelled against an arbitrary tax on their cup of tea by throwing tea into the Boston harbor, so too are the modern day Tea Partiers rebelling against the excessive taxes and bloated bureaucracies that are spending money like there is no tomorrow, taxing the populace to pay for it, and still falling short.
This has created huge debts and deficits that threaten the very stability of the United States as far as its ability to compete on a world level and provide a sound economy for the next generation to thrive and prosper.
The Tea Party movement wishes to preserve the United States as the greatest country on Earth, a country with a Constitution that guides its people in a spirit of fairness set forth long ago by the founding fathers and their desire to create a more perfect Union while preserving liberty and justice for all.
“There is no kind of dishonesty into which otherwise good people more easily and frequently fall than that of defrauding the government.” --Benjamin Franklin
No Taxation Without Representation - A Timeless Principal
The rallying cry against excessive taxation persists in today’s modern Tea Party movement in which the people are insisting upon being represented and displaying forcefully their lack of tolerance for candidates that continue to tax and spend with little regard for the message that has already been clearly sent to them.
The thousands of local Tea Party groups, which are not beholden to any larger organization or association, thus each set their own agenda and decide upon their own platform and priorities.
Many of these local groups do have loose affiliations with other local Tea Party groups as well as with national efforts of leadership in the Tea Party movement. In this way the grassroots nature of the Tea Party movement, its cornerstone, is preserved while its message becomes ever more important to all sitting politicians who wish to stay in office.
However, due to the often blunt nature of politics and the entrenched power of the established politicians, lobbyists and special interest groups, some level of organization of the thousands of local Tea Party movement organizations is essential to a more effective effort to ensure that Tea Party ideals are upheld in the legislative arena and that Tea Party approved candidates are able to navigate the election process so that the people have a clear choice.
“If you know how to spend less than you get, you have the philosopher’s stone.” --Benjamin Franklin
Tea Party Movement Offers a Clear Choice
The Tea Party movement is very confident that when the people are given a clear choice free of obfuscation of the issues and candidates themselves then they will choose the Tea Party by a large margin.
This was demonstrated in the 2010 midterm elections across the board with many shining examples of Tea Party candidates (e.g., candidates that received either general Tea Party support or specific sponsorship) emerging victorious over well-established politicians with substantial backing by the major parties.
“The liberties of our Country, the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending at all hazards.”
--Samuel Adams, 1771
The Impetus for the Modern Tea Party Movement
There is general agreement that the grassroots public uprising now known as the Tea Party movement was given its first major impetus by the bank bailouts instituted by President George W. Bush toward the end of his presidency and then continued by the Obama administration.
Massive increases in government spending and taxes, at both the local and national level, along with increasing deficits were alarming and despite the widespread displeasure of the people their protests were not being heard.
Something more had to be done to get the politicians to actually sit up and listen to what the people were saying and stop the runaway train that was bankrupting the nation and jeopardizing the quality of life for America’s next generation.
And thus the Tea Party movement was born through a series of events that eventually coalesced into what we know today as the modern Tea Party movement. For a more in-depth history of the modern Tea Party movement see www.what-is-the-tea-party.com
“The U.S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.”
More Details About Specific Goals of the Tea Party Movement
The goals of the Tea Party movement were stated most succinctly above. Of course many of the issues are complex in nature and so throughout this site will provide increasing levels of specificity regarding the modern Tea Party movement platform and priorities.
Ultimately this website has the goal of echoing the voices of Tea Partiers across the nation. If we wanted to try to impress you with fancy words perhaps we would say that our goal is to codify and promulgate the Tea Party movement message, but the Tea Party tries to simplify the message not complicated it.
We use plain talk and give the clear Tea Party movement message and to clearly state what is expected from all who hold political office so they may either heed the message or ignore at their own peril.
Thus the message of the Tea Party movement is here for all to see without any hidden agenda, subtle meanings or double talk meant to screen the true intent.
The Tea Party movement message is the direct voice of the people asking, nay telling their politicians that the people - the ordinary people and hard-working citizens of the United States - have had enough of “business as usual” in the back rooms of City Hall and the halls of Washington D.C.
Politicians who ignore the Tea Party movement message risk being voted out of office and replaced with those who carry forward the principles of reducing the size and scope of government, reducing government spending, and lowering taxes.
“Important principles may, and must, be inflexible.” --Abraham Lincoln
The Tea Party is a Populist Grass Roots American Movement
Populist by its very nature, the Tea Party movement is fiscally conservative and favors a decrease in taxes and government spending, the elimination of budget deficits and the national debt, and significant decrease in the presence of government in the affairs of the lives of ordinary law-abiding American citizens who are free to enjoy “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as provided for in the Declaration of Independence and guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.
“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.” --Patrick Henry
The Basic Tea Party Principles
Reduce Government Spending
Reduce Excessive Levels of Government Taxation
Reduce the Size, Scope and Reach of Government
Reducing and Eventually Eliminate the Federal Budget Deficit
Reducing and Eventually Eliminate the U.S. National Debt
Ensure Government Adheres to the U.S. Constitution
“You may delay, but time will not.” --Benjamin Franklin
Tea Party Bring New Faces into Politics
Many people involved in the Tea Party movement never attended a rally before and were not involved in politics but have taken an interest due to their fundamental beliefs in what is right for their families and their country and they feel strongly the need to have their voice be heard.
This is especially true when they realize that so many others are expressing the same concerns and that together, collectively, their voices will be heard and the message will be heeded by political candidates who will see clearly the importance of adhering strictly to the Tea Party movement principals because their constituency is deeply involved and ready to either support or reject that candidate based directly upon their political actions and whether they abide by the tenets of the Tea Party ideals including - once again stated clearly and directly - the fiscally responsible practice of decreasing taxes, spending and deficits at the local and national levels and including both the annual federal deficit and the national debt.
Seen by the Tea Party in a highly positive light are any political actions that serve to decrease the size of government and its excessive involvement -including excessive taxes - in the lives of ordinary citizens.
“We base all our experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government.” --James Madison
The first big, well-organized “Tea Party” protest took place on February 27, 2009 in direct response to the bailout bill known as the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) and the stimulus bill known as American Recovery and Investment Act (ARRA).
TARP was signed by President George W. Bush in 2008 and ARRA was signed by President Barack Obama just ten days before the Tea Party protest occurred.
“A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.” --Thomas Jefferson
The April 15, 2009 Tea Party Rallies on Tax Day
Less than three weeks after the February Tea Party protests an estimated 1,200 people gathered for a “Tea Party” protest in Seattle.
The next two major Tea Party protests took place in 2009 on the Fourth of July and on September 11 commemorating the terrorist attacks on the United States.
“I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way.”
--John Paul Jones, 1778