On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as the first major legislative "accomplishment" of his presidency. And in doing so, he created the sparkplug for a true groundswell of major opposition to his Administration.
The movement came into being in a series of online interactions and major organization efforts and, on February 27, the first nationwide coordinated Tea Party protests were held.
We could say that the movement turns two years old today. And it's remarkable that in the long years since it came into being, the movement remains a leaderless groundswell of citizen advocacy. The movement tends conservative, but is not beholden to any party or figure. The figureheads don't control what tea party members say and do. Poll consistently show a very wide variety of views held by protesters, loosely arranged around opposition to out-of-control government spending.
Newt Gingrich had a great reflection on the movement today:
Through countless hours, an undying faith in America, and sheer force of will, the Tea Party movement has turned our political system on its head.
In doing so, the movement has built upon the great legacy of our forebears in Boston Harbor, who ignited a revolution of liberty over 237 years ago.
Happy Birthday, Tea Party movement!a