The Origins of the Tea Party
July 03, 2013
RUSH: Here is Bill in Gainesville, Florida. Bill, I'm glad you waited. It's great to have you on the program today, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, I'm honored. I think this is a great segue, I hope. I'm grateful for Mr. O'Keefe. I'm 53 years old and single. I'm self-employed. I've got a big footprint. I've got six kids that I've raised here in Gainesville, Florida, and the only ability that I feel like I have is my vote, and I wanted to ask you about the birth of the Tea Party.
CALLER: I think it was before Obama. I think because of John McCain's attack on the First Amendment with McCain-Feingold and Senator Grahamnesty, you know? I voted for Ronald Reagan first time and --
RUSH: Well. Now, this is an interesting point. Clearly the Tea Party just didn't arise overnight. It was slowly building, and I think you're right. I think the Tea Party's roots actually can be traced to the Republican Party's open abandonment of conservatism. But my only point about Obamacare is Obamacare and Obama and the debt and the spending is what brought them out of their homes to start attending town hall meetings and getting organized as a political movement to the extent that they did. There's no question the sentiment that propelled them was in their hearts long before they started showing up anywhere.
CALLER: I was able to watch my adult children greet George W. Bush at the airport with enthusiasm, and since then they've kind of turned me on to Ron Paul. Last time I wrote him in, and before that I voted for Chuck Baldwin, and I don't say that, you know, without, you know... My father came home on a hospital ship in World War II, there are a lot of sacrifices made for us.
RUSH: I understand that. You know, Ron Paul's got some supporters out there, but he was never gonna win the presidency. It was splitting votes.
RUSH: You know, it's interesting to try to pinpoint exactly when the Tea Party began. Now, the modern incarnation of the Tea Party as we understand it is a television phenomenon, and that was Obamacare. Obamacare and the stimulus, the debt and the spending, is what motivated people who were already thinking in a different way. Some people might think that the Tea Party's origins really could be traced back to Clinton.
There was a group back in the 1990s -- and they still exist. There was a group in the 1990s that were malcontents, renegades, and off the mainstream plantation of conservatism as articulated by the party. Those were the people that were the early participants in the website Free Republic. They were known as Freepers. They were... I say all this in a positive sense. I don't want any negative connotation.But they were one of the first visible groups of people off the reservation. And by that I mean abandoning the Republican Party's confined definitions of conservatism. They were one of the first modern era groups of people to openly express dissatisfaction with the Republican Party the large. I think Clinton inspired a lot of that. It went somewhat dormant during the Bush years.
But even then these people were very distressed at what they were seeing on the spending side. They were really, really troubled because of what it was going to mean to their kids and their grandkids, all this debt. It was going to impede the creation of wealth as the government grew bigger and became more and more in debt, the government swallowed more and more of the private sector.
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