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Rick Santelli’s Rant And The Founding Of The Tea Party Movement

Rick Santelli

In the aftermath of the disaster of John McCain’s content-free 2008 presidential campaign the Republican establishment spent the time between Election Day 2008 and Inauguration Day 2009 blubbering about how they hoped newly elected President Obama would “succeed.”

Few commentators except Rush Limbaugh and ConservativeHQ Chairman Richard A. Viguerie had the guts to say what millions of grassroots limited government constitutional conservative voters were thinking: “We don’t want Obama to ‘succeed’ because that means his radical left agenda will succeed and liberty will recede.”

Enter CNBC correspondent Rick Santelli and his February 19, 2009, “Rant Heard ‘Round The World.”

Santelli went on air from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and called for a “Chicago Tea Party” and urged a revolt against the new Obama Administration’s mortgage bailout plan. 

The video immediately “went viral” and was seen by millions of people who shared Santelli’s view that those who had paid their mortgages on time, and scrimped, and saved, and did without to meet their obligations should not be forced to bailout those who had overextended themselves, or in many cases engaged in outright fraud, to purchase an extravagant lifestyle.

Rick Santelli was right, and unlike the establishment Republicans who spent the first months after their 2008 defeat mealy-mouthing about how they wanted President Obama to succeed, principled conservatives outside of the Capitol Hill Republican establishment understood that millions of grassroots conservatives did not want Obama’s socialist agenda to succeed. 

The attitude of these millions of grassroots conservatives outside-the-Beltway was perhaps best summed-up by Rush Limbaugh in remarks he made at CPAC in February 2009.

Limbaugh spoke for millions when he asked the audience at CPAC: “What is so strange about being honest about saying I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation? Why would I want that to succeed?”

Less than a month after Barack Obama took the oath of office and began the “transformation” of America, the “TEA Party,” or Taxed Enough Already, movement was catalyzed by Rick Santelli, Viguerie and Limbaugh.

The viral response to Rick Santelli’s “we need a “Chicago Tea Party” monologue was not lost on grassroots limited government and constitutional conservative activists around the country.

While many chroniclers of the rise of the Tea Party movement have focused on Santelli’s broadcast as the catalyst that sparked the Tea Party rebellion few have identified who the Tea Party was actually rebelling against.

And it wasn’t Obama and his liberal agenda; it was the ineffective and inarticulate “leaders” of the Republican Party’s Capitol Hill establishment.

Why? Because the Republican establishment, while often talking a good game, had been complicit in the deficit and debt spending and in the creation of all of those Big Government programs that drive it.

The Republican Party’s Capitol Hill leaders never seem to learn that going along with Big Government policies is exactly what gets Republicans thrown out of office and relegated to the status of the powerless minority they were for the better part of the fifty years from the beginning of the New Deal until the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Tea Partiers set out to change that, and they’ve been working on that goal ever since.

One can’t understand the Tea Party movement unless one understands that it is as much a rebellion against the Big Government Republican establishment and the entrenched leadership of the Republican Party as it is driven by opposition to specific liberal policies of President Obama, such as Obamacare or the growth of spending, the deficit, and the federal debt.

Within twenty-four hours of Rick Santelli’s broadcast there was a conference call of about fifty or so mostly young grassroots limited government constitutional conservative activist leaders to discuss how to organize the opposition to Obama’s liberal agenda. 

Through the efforts of Michael Patrick Leahy, Jenny Beth Martin, Mark Meckler, Amy Kremer, Eric Odom, Stacy Mott, Christina Botteri, Lorie Medina, and dozens of others the first “Nationwide Chicago Tea Party” was organized and the Tea Party movement was born just five years ago this week.

To view Rick Santelli’s rant and have your energy for the fight against Big Government renewed click this link

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That's not where the "Tea Party" came from

The real genesis of the Tea Party was the "Tea Party Money Bomb", during which Ron Paul shattered all previous records of 1-day political fundraising, December 16th 2007, on the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. It's pretty common knowledge... That was my "introduction" to the Tea Party, and if you read the comments in the article I cited, I'm not alone.