Before 'drain the swamp' there was the tea party push

Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Chad Groening, Billy Davis (

Tea Party lady2019 marks the 10th anniversary of a grassroots movement that scolded Democrats and Republicans alike for spiraling debt and wasteful spending, drawing the inevitable ire of king makers and deal breakers.

2009 was a dark time for conservatives, beginning with the first full year of the Obama era and the not-so-subtle promise by the Chicago-trained socialist to "fundamentally transform" the United States.

There was already a movement under way to protest the spending habits of Washington, D.C. But it didn't quite have a name until the now-famous rant from CNBC analyst Rick Santelli. Visibly frustrated over a controversial plan by the then-new Obama administration to rescue homeowners from foreclosure, he ranted on live TV (see video below) from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

"President Obama, are you listening?!" Santelli said as the traders around him hooted and clapped.

Obama SOTU 2016 speechHe went to vow a "Chicago tea party" and invited "capitalists" to show up at Lake Michigan.

Tom Zawistowski, executive director of the Portage County Tea Party, one of the largest tea party organizations in Ohio, tells OneNewsNow the  movement was birthed by Americans who opposed Obama's policies, not the color of his skin.

"What the left would want you to believe is that we were a bunch of racists, that we were upset because a black man was elected president," he recalls. "Nothing could be further from the truth. There was never any hints of racism in the tea party movement."

Zawitowski says what he remembers driving the tea party at the time was Democrats pushing for Obamacare, which became law in 2010.  

With the first black president in the White House, the left-wing media predictably didn't report the movement that way: MSNBC warned viewers about "racial overtones" behind the movement, and anger over a black person in the White House. One example was a protester who showed up outside an Obama speech carrying an AR-15 "assault rifle" on his shoulder.

"Here you have a man of color in the presidency," a MSNBC host reported, "and white people showing up with guns strapped to their waist."

"I'm not gonna be surprised if we see somebody get a chance and take a chance and really try to hurt him," a second analyst said, referring to right-wing "anger" over Obama's presence in the White House. 

But there was just one problem: the racist, gun-toring protester was black and the cable news channel had cropped the footage to hide his skin color from viewers.

Zawistowski tells OneNewsNow the 10-year-old tea party movement now faces a fired-up Democratic Party, fueled by a hatred of Donald Trump.  

"They are in full battle mode today," he warns.

But it's not just Democrats who went to war against the tea party 10 years ago, either.

"I think we are going to crush them everywhere," Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell predicted in 2014, when tea party candidates were challenging GOP incumbents.

Trump and Mitch McConnellMcConnell, then the Minority Leader, went on to crush challenger Matt Bevin 60-35 in the primary, leaving Bevin's inexperienced campaign bloodied and bruised after experiencing the political trickery and raw power of the veteran senator.  

Bevin is now the state's governor thanks in large part to McConnell.

Now-deceased Sen. John McCain was no fan of the tea party movement, which was no fan of him in his home state of Arizona.

When the incumbent senator was publicly reprimanded by the Arizona Republican Party for criticizing conservatives while cooperating with Democrats, he later returned the favor by greenlighting a plan to oust those GOP leaders and replace them with loyalists across the state.

Just a year ago, a Washington Times op-ed  by tea party leader Judson Phillips described how a top McCain staff member met with top government officials in 2013 to discuss non-profit organizations.

Those federal officials represented the IRS, Phillips wrote, citing the investigative work of watchdog group Judicial Watch.

The non-profits they discussed were tea party groups, and the suggestion was made to use the power of the IRS to ruin them for good.

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