Tea Party Expects Big Second-Year Growth

“Obamatross” could be tossed around the necks of Democratic candidates.


Groups associated with the tea-party movement expect to see far more supporters at planned April 15 antitax rallies than they saw at the birth of the movement a year ago. The reasons, say organizers: continued building of the federal deficit and Democratic moves to pass healthcare reform despite public opposition.

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, who heads FreedomWorks, says President Obama's policies will help energize the movement and depress Democratic turnout at the polls later this year. He called the president an "Obamatross" around the necks of Democrats.

As the one-year anniversary of the movement nears, organizers like Eric Odom of Liberty First PAC are predicting that the hundreds of rallies planned for April 15—income tax day—will draw thousands more supporters than were seen last year in 850 cities because people sense progress on their issues. "The movement has been able to slow the rate of government growth, no doubt, but there is a danger lurking that we should be very mindful of. Government is still growing, and Congress is still working to destroy the voice and liberty of the people," he said in an organizing E-mail.

Armey, meanwhile, said the movement is here to stay. He likened it to those he has seen dating all the way back to the conservative revolt when former Sen. Barry Goldwater ran for the presidency in the 1960s. He said there have been four other conservative uprisings between then and now that he considers similar to the tea-party movement: the Reagan revolution, Ross Perot's third party bid in 1992, the 1994 Contract With America, and the 2004–2006 GOP rejection of former President Bush's spending and government expansion. And, he said, "that anger will build" should the Democrats go it alone and OK the president's healthcare reform package.

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