It was five years ago today that Rick Santelli set off shock waves through the political universe with his call to action live from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade on CNBC. The culprit at the time was a federal program to bailout home loans coming off the housing market collapse.

After five years, the Tea Party has seen ups and downs in the political world. Report from Roll Call:

The Rick Santelli rant heard ’round the world five years ago is credited with starting the tea party, and if you ask Republicans in Congress, the conservative movement has a mixed legacy.

But five years in, the political movement is not easy to evaluate. Among the sentiments we heard from Republican lawmakers as we assessed the tea party over the past week were that it’s been successful, that it’s pushed legislative change on spending issues, that it’s still experiencing growing pains, and even that it’s “dangerous.”

There’s not much of a central organization inside the Congress. (Bachmann’s Tea Party Caucus website hasn’t been updated since June.) Newer lawmakers, like Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, have taken over much of the tea party spotlight.

Still, many of the tea party’s goals have been thwarted — Obamacare still stands largely untouched and the president is moving forward with a vast regulatory agenda. But the one area where the tea party’s impact has been lasting and deep is in reversing the stimulus spending policies of the president and enacting the deepest discretionary spending cuts in memory.

“The tea party’s legacy is to really expose the spending that’s out of control in Washington,” said RSC Chairman Steve Scalise of Louisiana.

“We were elected as a restraining order,” said Michael C. Burgess of Texas.

And they gave Republicans what may be an enduring House majority.

Has the Tea Party helped or hurt American politics? Do you identify with the general causes of limited government and fiscal responsibility? Will the Tea Party wave of 2010 be replicated in 2014?


  1. The Tea Party in 2010 was the “AMERICAN SPRING”.

    We are quickly approaching “Gleichschaltung” and you can always tell the revolutionaries from the tyrants by seeing who issues frantic bullitins about the danger of extremism and who tells the government to go to hell…………and that scares the establishment republicans.


  2. The tea party itself has not hurt American politics. They are a radical base that will effect the future of politics similar to the radical base of the liberals from the 60’s. Only the liberals from the 60’s were communists and socialists who hated the ‘establishment’ and the wealthy so much that they were easily willing to resort to violence…Weather Underground anyone? It was such a cultural norm for the times that even one of the Dirty Harry movies was about his encounter with one of those radical groups. Those groups realized violence would not get their way, so they joined academia, the press, and the Democratic party. The hatred and disrespect for human life has not change (anyone hear about the rapes in the ’99’ camps?)

    The tea party on the other hand, while radical, has no history of violence. They are radical simply because they are vocal and not willing to compromise ideologically. Violence has never been the way, its always been through protest and the electoral process.

    What’s unfortunate for the tea party is that the residual radicalism of the 60’s is what is now determining the narrative on what America is told about group, and what ultimately will go into the history books. The liberals are the ones currently in charge of the narrative and the ideology of *true* freedom, equality, limited government are an abomination to them.

    The tea party has not hurt American politics..the liberals have. We’ve just lived with the crap they’ve been serving up for so long our taste buds have changed.

    Yes, i identify with the cause of limited government and fiscal responsibility…my nephew just got $4000 *back* in taxes because he has 4 kids, but was unemployed for the majority of 2013 and may not have even made $4000 for the year. I know too many people personally (friends) who get 1000’s *back* in taxes beyond what they ever paid in. Its been going on so long people don’t realize that when you get more *back* than you paid in…you’re getting other people’s money. And that’s just tax returns, who knows how many other unwarranted programs are out there.

    Yes, the tea party wave will be replicated in the 2014 mid terms. It was also seen in the 2012 election. While Obama was re-elected, there was also a 100% re-election of the House, which *stayed* republican. The tea party will be strong for years to come because they know they have impact.

      • @ Josh: “Only the liberals from the 60’s were communists and socialists who hated the ‘establishment’ and the wealthy so much that they were easily willing to resort to violence…Weather Underground anyone? It was such a cultural norm for the times that even one of the Dirty Harry movies was about his encounter with one of those radical groups. Those groups realized violence would not get their way, so they joined academia, the press, and the Democratic party. The hatred and disrespect for human life has not change (anyone hear about the rapes in the ’99’ camps?)”

        Josh, I was in the middle of the political changes of the 60’s and you couldn’t be more wrong about it. I t was at heart a PEACE movement with activists sticking flowers in gun barrels. It was all about the civil rights movement, the Vietnam anti-war movement, the new environmental movement and rethinking the conventional wisdom of the 50’s, all of which have been basically “won” by us. Now we have gone mainstream and most of us still share the values of the original movement.

        • Godfrey: The difference between the 60s and now is that at that time, we all agreed on the facts, and disagreed on interpretation. Now, everybody has their own “facts.”

          • Goethe:

            Please be more specific !
            I don’t remember the 60’s as everyone agreeing. On what topic we’re you talking about?

            • Bob: I was talking about facts. Who was where, when, and what they did. There was a lot of disagreement on WHY people were doing things, and projected outcome, but there was agreement that we were fighting a proxy war with China and the USSR. If it happened today, we wouldn’t even get agreement on that.

    • Josh: I compared the Tea Party to the radicals of the 60s and 70s on another thread. I noted that the movement scared the Democrats, so they squelched them, and in doing so, they lost the energy of the movement.

      I noted that the Tea Party has similar energy, and if the Republican Party succeeds in squelching them, the GOP will, likewise, lose TP power and focus.

      Regarding their peacefulness, the difference is that the 60s radicals were mostly young and “had nothing to lose.” They were quasi-anarchists, because they did not have a stake in the government or capitalist establishment.

      By contrast, Tea Party members are mostly well established, well-to-do, and are above all interested in holding on to what they have.

      —“The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.”

      —“and, despite their push for smaller government, they think that Social Security and Medicare are worth the cost to taxpayers.”

      • kooky g. — “The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.” — liberal nonsense, and you should be ashamed for quoting it!

        When Ron Paul visited Universities to speak — there was standing room only, and nearly all were YOUNG Americans! And they gave him standing ovations!

        It is America’s youth that will make the difference to save us from A Dictatorial Big Brother — not liberal kooks like you!

        • Oblivious: I was just quoting a source.

          As usual (a) you cite no source, and (b) you’re just plain wrong. When Ron Paul speaks, people go to see Ron Paul speak. That has nothing at all to do with the Tea Party, as a separate movement.

  3. The problem with “conservatives” is that they are not any more consistent with supporting the US Constitution than the liberals. They both have their “pet” projects. No one is willing to say (except Rick Perry) that Social Security is a ponzi scheme. Who among the conservatives are calling for impeachment of the President and members of the Supreme Court that defy the Constitution. Who is trying to relinquish the power seized by the Federal Government and give it back to the states. In 1919 the Federal Government recognized that it took an amendment to the Constitution to make a drug illegal (alcohol). Now we have a whole Federal department called the FDA who regulates food and drugs and decides if they are legal with congress looking the other way. Why do we let the Federal Government take money from California and give it to Louisiana when there is a hurricane. This is a responsibility for the states. And people who see others in need will rise to the occasion to help. Let the people keep the income they earn and let them use it as they will.

    • James;

      I have had the same feelings about government agencies being able to make laws for quite a while now. Where as the Constitution specifies that “Only Congress shall make laws” I’m sure you are aware the FDA isn’t the only government agency which does this. These laws reach out and control all aspects of commerce from trade to employment to taxing.

      I’ve got your back on this issue!

    • James: I don’t believe it is possible to impeach a Supreme Court justice for his or her opinion. It’s their job to DECIDE the meaning of the Constitution. And how can you PROVE that their interpretation was criminally wrong??

      The House could conceivably vote to do so, but the Senate would need a 2/3 vote to uphold it. Talk about a Constitutional crisis!

      • kooky g. — you missed the main point — That Obama needs to be Impeached!

        also, on your idiotic statement: “I don’t believe it is possible to impeach a Supreme Court justice for his or her Opinion.”

        No judge can have an “opinion” — only a valid conclusion on a particular case!

        When you post such nonsense…do your parents know where you are, kid?

        • Oblivious:

          First of all, I did NOT “miss” the point about the call for presidential impeachment. I only respond to thoughts I consider interesting and new. That’s why I replied to the unorthodox idea of impeaching a Supreme Court Justice, and why I recently replied to a call for repeal of the 17th Amendment. Those were new ideas. Impeachment of Presidents Bush and Obama have come up every year, and as I noted elsewhere, we could have impeached EVERY president, for one reason or other, since Washington.

          As for your idiotic interpretation of the word “opinion,” you’re just showing your ignorance. See here:

    • The 10th Amendment provided that powers not given to the federal government remain with the states or the people. Although the Tenth Amendment does not specify what these “powers” may be, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that laws affecting family relations (such as marriage, divorce, and adoption), commerce that occurs within a state’s own borders, and local law enforcement activities, are among those specifically reserved to the states or the people. The Constitution grants rights to both the states and the people, and the only protection the people have from being trampled by the states is the federal government. Sometimes the states get it wrong. In fact, four of the fifteen post-Civil War constitutional amendments have dealt with clearing up the matter of states overstepping their rights of who is allowed to vote, women, naturalized citizens, those over the age of 18, race and payment of tax.

      Federal Agencies cannot make laws. The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 (H.R. 2751) passed by Congress in 2011. This law grants the FDA a number of new powers, including mandatory recall authority and it will regulate the way foods are grown, harvested and processed but the FDA cannot make up it’s own rules.

      Why do we let the Federal Government take money from California and give it to Louisiana when there is a hurricane?
      For the same reason that the Federal Government will take money from Louisiana and give it to California to help with the floods and mud slides that are making people homeless and in need.right now. It is a beautiful thought that citizens from everywhere would mobilize and rush to the immediate aid of others in distress. It just doesn’t work that way.

  4. Goethe – you drive me crazy with your left-leaning quotes and URL’s from the NYTimes.

    The composition of TeaParty membership about 50/50 men and women and have about as many Millennium as early BabyBoomers and young women in the Party are the biggest drivers. I’ve never studied the race distribution but I’m guessing it is representative of the Republican and Libertarian parties. As a matter of fact the TeaParty pretty much gave knowledge to the INFORMED public of Libertarianism.

    It would behoove the Republican Party to return to Party roots and platform and coalesce with the TeaParty.

    Goethe – think about why SSA and Medicare is supported – it is because we as FICA and Medicare and Employers of, have been paying it forward >75 years & 60 years respectively. I’m still good on the money i put in till age 93 – and that is the money that pays for those artificially imposed government programs and the example of single payer that no one intelligent business-wise wants. And the yearly excess is borrowed by the government general budget and theoretically put into worthless treasury bonds. So when you say taxpayer be careful – you could have paid taxes but had a cop-out with unions or some other exception and not been saddled with 15.4% FICA and 3.3% Medicare for your working lifetime!

    I’m proud to say I’m a member and contributor to both the TeaParty and Libertarian parties and share those values and platforms.

    I’ve listed the TeaParty platform before but instead of all the opine bullshit trying going there and roll around the pages. There may be only 40,000 members but the is a huge greater number that share the values and platform: 🙂 🙂

    • Sam:

      “you drive me crazy. . .”

      –Cool. That’s what I’m here for!!

      You noted Bob’s and my going back and forth. At the same time, Godfrey and I were going back and forth, with my poking at his liberal stances. It was real whiplash going from one to the other!

      Anyway, I did look for links about the Tea Party, but most of them had no statistics. I hesitated using the NYT link, since I figured someone would freak out about that.

      The point was that the 60s radicals were anarchists, compared with the Tea Party, which is older and richer. And I think that explains why they don’t want to tear the place down–cuz it’s THEIR place!!

      However, I checked the link, and it’s old. Bukt while the age and race may have changed somewhat since then, I’m sure the TP is still composed of people “with something to lose,” which was my point.

  5. The Tea Party is the only salvation Real Americans have to bring us back from Unconstitutional Mandates, and return OUR FREEDOMS BACK to us, We The People, from the EVER ENCROACHING Dictatorial Big Gov that we have now, that KEEPS GROWING ALL THE TIME…in its zeal to take away MORE, AND MORE LIBERTIES FROM US (Obama Care is prime example of being TOLD by the Gov WHAT YOUR ONLY OPTIONS ARE as a Subject of the State (not a Free Citizen)… or else!)

    Therefore, the GOP Elite (the Rinos) like their partners in crime — the Dems — will do their best to destroy it (since the Tea Party wants to return a limited Gov to The People, while the CRIMINALS IN POWER IN DC want the OPPOSITE, and they have the Mainstream Media in their pockets, to help them do it!

    2014 elections will determine if we are on the Road to Salvation (by Tea Party wins across the land), or on the road to destruction (by RNC under Chairman Reince Priebus who HATES the Tea Party and made sure he send a message that if you are One Of Them, we won’t help you get elected — REMEMBER VIRGINIA)!

    Remember Reince Priebus — the one who OK-ed to give all RNC funds to Mitt Romney’s campaign (while Ron Paul was still in the running), which was AGAINST RNC Rules. And when an Arizona Republican Rep asked for his resignation over this fiasco, Reince Priebus just said it was not the will of ‘the people” and refused to have a vote on it.

    This is the same Reince Priebus — Chairman of the RNC — that made sure Ron Paul would not be allowed to speak at the RNC Convention in Florida!

    in conclusion:

    As long as such anti-American scumbags — like Reince Priebus, John McCain and Rino Co.— are allowed to hold their positions, EXPECT them do their worst against the only True Americans Left in the USA trying to save our Nation: The Tea Party and Libertarian candidates!

    And this is also, apodictic!

  6. James brought up impeachment. That made me wonder about process.

    The impeachment process is unusual, since it is a “judicial” process performed by the legislature–but the Supreme Court has the final say in judicial matters.

    An impeachment is based on the Legislature’s INTERPRETATION of what it considers a “high crime” or “misdemeanor.”

    I realize that the Chief Justice presides over the impeachment trial in the Senate, but opinions of the Supreme Court are decided by majority vote. So he or she does not speak for the whole court, except to announce a majority opinion.

    THEREFORE, it seems to me, an impeached president could APPEAL to the whole Supreme Court to reverse the impeachment, if the Supreme Court majority did not agree that (a) the president committed the act, or that (b) the act constituted a crime.

    I know that this option is not specifically in the Constitution, but as the “Supreme” Court, wouldn’t that be implicit?

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