Image 01 Image 03

5 years since Rick Santelli called for a Chicago Tea Party

5 years since Rick Santelli called for a Chicago Tea Party

February 19, 2009, is the date credited as the start of the Tea Party movement, although some activists would differ and say they already were laying the groundwork.

But there’s no doubt that Rick Santelli’s call for a Chicago Tea Party on CNBC was the moment that sparked the movement:

There’s a lot that could be written about victories and losses.

On a personal level, it’s been a meaningful experience.  I’ve met some of the finest people you could hope to know.

Politically, it’s been a more mixed experience.  Yes, we changed the narrative and the focus of the debate.  We took back the House. We did not cause the loss of the Senate or the failure to regain it.  The list of establishment Republican Senate failures is far longer than the list of Tea Party Senate failures.

But at the same time, D.C. never changes.  It just keeps consuming more of our money, our time and our spirit.

I’ve thought about my motivation now as compared to 2010. Not even close.

And 2012.  Closer but not close.

The disappointments within the Republican Party itself have turned me to other pursuits with what time I have for the blog.

Oh, sure, there will be an Operation Counterweight 2014. It’s just going to be harder to get motivated without pretending to be motivated.

Maybe something will shake me out of it.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.



Professor, you aren’t alone in your moments of disillusionment. However, it is precisely when the chips are down, that the mettle of one’s own conscience prick us the most.

We truly are in a fight for the direction that this nation will head into the next century. If we want to give our posterity the same chances at liberty that we ourselves enjoyed during our heyday, then we must realize that the road ahead will be lined with potholes and naysayers, and doom and gloom. But, as John Adams said in a letter to his wife, Abigail,

“I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will triumph in that Days Transaction, even although We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not. ”

We haven’t even sacrificed nearly the amount of Toil and Treasure that our Founding Fathers have, so we should take solace that we can still accomplish much to keep their dream alive.

Disillusionment is hard to avoid when those who are supposed to be on our side, and who are supposed to oppose those who are destroying our country, demonstrate that they are part of the problem.
Ted Cruz appears to be the most likely leader to change this dynamic, if it can be changed.

The ObamaCare supreme court decision and the Obama re-election took the wind out of my sails.

In a PJ Media Symposium ostensibly about Ted Cruz being a plus or minus in the midterms, David Steinberg pointed out something useful about the first bit of apostasy anyone can remember from Thomas Sowell. First the first bit of the Sowell quote, which I myself found a bit shocking when I read it:

The basic, brutal reality is that the federal government can do whatever it wants to do, if nobody stops it. The Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision shows that we cannot depend on it to protect our freedom. Nor will Congress, as long as the Democrats control the Senate.

And the most relevant parts of Mr. Steinberg’s comments:

Neglecting the remainder of the passage for the moment, note that Sowell’s first sentence above is factually correct, and is also the pivotal information required for this debate. The sentence is not Sowell’s opinion, but a truth about men governing men: no document and no legislature can ever function as a fail-safe defense of the individual’s rights….

[ Big snip on how he thinks the establishment Republicans are losing. ]

They are a lose-lose, and that’s before taking a measure of the opponent. Eric Holder has on more than one occasion instructed state attorneys general to ignore the law. The president has unilaterally changed Obamacare eighteen times. When the adversary is lawless, a GOP-controlled Senate of the calculating or the less-adhered to the Constitution is just another bump in the road….

Indeed. What’s the point of a Mitch McConnell led Senate majority? How much, or rather, how little will it slow our hurdling into the abyss? Would they go to the mat to prevent a change in the balance of the Supreme Court? Do anything that would materially deter this perhaps most lawless of American Presidents?

The Left is consolidating its victory by stamping out the speech of its opponents, an old Obama tactic. The establishment GOP doesn’t really object to this for reasons we all know. And we’re supposed to be enthusiastic about giving them more power, after what they’ve (not) done since 2010?

    Lina Inverse in reply to Lina Inverse. | February 27, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention my tripwire for completely giving up on the national GOP: assuming there is a Republican President elected in the next few elections, there must be substantial prosecutions of the many lower level lawbreakers during the Obama Administration. We dare not go after Obama, that would end the Republic, but without this sort of feedback applied to the system, it’s over … well, until the free ice cream runs out.

David R. Graham | February 28, 2014 at 12:43 am

We need a second party.

On Fox News today, all the promotions were “celebrating the 5th anniversary of Tea Party Patriots.”

TPP, of course, is but a single organization which was formed by a small private group after the Tea Party rallies began. There are many such groups, also Freedom Works, Tea Party Express, Tea Party America, and others.

While all of these embrace the basic original Tea Party message against spending, subsidies, bailouts, and later the ObamaCare mandates, none of them were elected by TP attendees and all of them have undertaken actions and staked out positions on issues which were never part of the Tea Party movement.

I think this accounts for the drastic decline in Tea Party approval in public polls, along with the constant criticism by Democrats which at the least silenced the many Democrats who initially supported and participated in Tea Party rallies.

I recall seeing a spokeswoman for FW on Fox Business a couple of years ago, invited to represent the Tea Party on some issue, probably budget or debt ceiling, I can’t recall which. But she was so woefully ignorant of the subject as to embarrass herself and her organization. This pattern has been repeated with others.

Sometimes these self-appointed “Tea Party representatives” give a good account of themselves, but often they come over as just dumb, too. There’s a big part of the problem.

Then when Jim DeMint left to work at Heritage, his Senate Victory Fund became ever more strident, aiming more at Republicans than Democrats, and claiming the Tea Party mantle as well.

Krauthammer and others have portrayed the divide as an argument about tactics, which is true but only to an extent. Too many of the self-anointed have decided their mission is more to purify the GOP than to defeat liberal Democrats. They, like many here, have smeared our elected leadership in very nasty terms.

Then, when leadership has had enough of the insults and decides to fight back, it’s viewed as betrayal. Really? It seems the insurgents don’t mind dishing it out but at the first sign of return fire, they squeal like stuck pigs.

I will never support a circular firing squad. I’ve been a conservative since Goldwater and rang my first doorbells for the Party in 1968. I’ve held the debate against the left for decades. Our case was logical, based on sound economics and political philosophy. Ignorant demagogues who are more interested in arousing populist angst do not represent me, and I will never support them.

Had the Tea Party stuck to the simple themes and grassroots action that inspired it, it would be a potent force for right and good in politics. If it is to be co-opted by one side in an internal power struggle in the GOP, it cannot.

    platypus in reply to Estragon. | February 28, 2014 at 10:45 am

    You can’t be serious. The tea party movement, whatever it is, started out as a direct result of dissatisfaction with GOP. As one of the original movers and shakers in WA state, we evicted LaRouchies with their posters of BHO with a Hitler-style mustache. Even then we despised the jugeared jackazz but we were determined to stick to the message which was big spending by the Rockefellar Republicans. You know, the Bushies.

    It wasn’t until much later, January 2011, when we decided that we had better stand up to the GOP. Remember the 2010 lame duck? Repeal DADT, and more? Yeah, the donkey party exploited their swan song period but where was the GOP? Going along. No impassioned speeches, no filibusters, not procedural roadblock efforts. Nothing.

    And then when the Weeper of the House was chosen, Jenny Beth Martin and Mark Meckler (Tea Party Patriots) visited the new speaker. He asked them what he could do for them. So they told him.

    He leaned back in his big chair and laughed out loud right in their faces. Literally. And told them that what they want isn’t going to happen.

    So you can fool yourself into believing what you wrote if you want but it isn’t what’s happening on the ground. Tea party members have been quietly infiltrating the GOP structure since 2011 and they’ve been working with libertarians and other disgruntled types along the way. It does no good to defeat donkeys in elections if the GOP is just a slower version.

    We will take this country back to where it belongs. The only questions are how long it will take and how much damage will be done in the interim. In the process, the current version of the GOP will die.

    As Smith told Neo, that’s the sound of inevitability.

      “The tea party movement, whatever it is, started out as a direct result of dissatisfaction with GOP.”

      So why call it Tea Party since the target of the 1773 Sons of Liberty were the loyalists? Or are there no allies and everyone is a loyalist?

      TPs don’t elect candidates nor are they Republican operatives. They protest. They raise awareness of the tyranny of taxation.

      It’s precisely your version of the TP and the Check-out-my-clever-Hitler-style-mustache-posters tactic that many original tea partiers like me are ditching the label and opting for a better label like “just a freedom loving American”.

    Your comment should be an article so that it can be widely circulated among pro-liberty grassroots organizers.

    I’ve put away my Tea Party protest signs in 2011 when it:

    1. Started entertaining notions of being an actual “Party”

    2. Became the required seal of ideological purity (whatever that means)of candidates running as Republicans.

    3. Created more confusion than clarity by taking on secondary social issues.

    4. Done nothing to increase public awareness on the historical and present threat to individual freedom and economic liberty…despite claiming the Boston namesake of 1773.

    5. Dreaming of knights-in-shining armor and venerating political celebrities than supporting local individual grassroot activists and coming up with actionable voter outreach plans.

    6. Became more enamored of the word “Tea Party” and assumed that it’s intuitive to a modern audience whose reference to America’s ideological founding is Macy’s 4th of July fireworks.

    That said, I’ve come to embrace the realization that the contest against tyranny is an eternal one. There will be no rest for the wicked as long as the righteous do not give themselves rest.

      platypus in reply to Aucturian. | February 28, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      Everything youhave stated is wrong. More accurately, it may be true from your limited experience but it is not true across the country in the wide spectrum of tea parties, 9/12 groups, and other liberty groups.

      I hope you find your place. And I’m not being snarky.

“Calm yourself, Doctor Huxtable. We have, in fact, advanced some way”.
—Sherlock Holmes

Calm yourself, Dr. Jacobson. We have, in fact, advanced some way.

Not enough, certainly. But some way. The mere fact there are so many Americans who know the “arch of history” is bent in a diseased way is huge.

The TEA party idea was not a solution. I was merely an urge.

We are still working, still learning, still advancing in the way people do…

by fits and starts.

“although some activists would differ and say they already were laying the groundwork.”


This must be Eeyore day or something.

“Were you folks doubting my sincerity when I said I have given up on this country? Truly, I have.”

My takeaway from all of this is that our civilization is in a state of deep decline, from which it probably cannot recover.

Both over the 9th Circus ruling on kids wearing Old Glory clothing.

The ramifications of the tea party “call to arms” may still be playing out.

The left has had to take extreme measures, perhaps measured in the degree of their hate and audaciousness of their lies. The executive has acted alone, with Harry Reid hijacking the Senate to be Obama’s handmaiden. The IRS has been exposed, Holder held in contempt, Benghazi lies exposed, and the filibuster flushed.

Maybe the Tea Party gets some credit for drawing out the extremist left, and exposing their criminal behavior. That SHOULD play out with Republicans taking the Senate and presidency in ’14 and ’16. But if the left’s blitzkrieg has exposed their flanks, we still must win the battles in the more moderate states where Democrat senators have been left exposed.

But perhaps the depressing side is how media and Hollywood have turned so vicious and hateful toward brave Americans that stand up and tell government that “it has forgotten its place”. Indeed standing up today means risking audits or investigation from the armies of Lois Lerner or other leftist controlled agencies. Denying Lord Obama his “rightful worship” labels one a racist, bigot, birther … clinging to one’s religion and guns, as far as media is concerned.

The radical lib wing of the Democrat Party coalesced in the 1960s and took over 40 years to place one of their own in the White House. The Tea Party is 5 years old and is moving forward at ten times the speed.

Politics, like sports and war, depends on teamwork. When your legs grow weary let teammates pick up the slack, rest up, and jump back in.

I’ll bet I’m not the only commenter around here who, once a year or so, simply cannot take another minute of it and just quits reading blogs, pauses in local political activities, stops watching the news to tune out and rest up for a week or three. And we’re just commenters.

I’m a big time NHL fan and there’s a reason players play one 45 second shift for every 2-3 shifts spent resting on the bench.