Today in more than 500 locations in all 50 states, American taxpayers will hold ‘Tea Party’ rallies to protest exploding government spending and the inevitable higher taxes that will be needed to pay for it. We wish we could direct you to one website that had a comprehensive list of all the events and a clear mission statement for the movement, but none exists. The defenders of big government desperately want to dismiss today’s rallies as a top down corporate funded campaign, but they can’t even get their conspiracy theories straight. The Center for American Progress says former Majority Leader Dick Armey is to blame for the whole thing while Paul Krugman tries to blame Tom DeLay and Rush Limbaugh.

The truth is the tea parties are a completely grassroots movement with no specific leader or origin. Some point to CNBC analyst Rick Santelli’s February 16 on-air criticism of President Barack Obama’s housing bailout plan as the start but Presidential candidate Ron Paul has been raising money with Tea Party rhetoric since 2007. There are many established conservative groups that are supportive of the movement’s limited government message, including the Heritage Foundation, but no one is taking orders from Newt Gingrich’s American Solutions, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, or even Armey’s Freedom Works.

Instead the movement has been growing and coordinating through online upstarts like Tax Day Tea Party, TCOT Report, Smart Girl Politics, and Tea Party Revolution … just to name a few. More importantly the movement is not partisan. A Chicago tea party group reportedly denied RNC chair Michael Steel’s request to speak at their event and the Knoxville tea party organizers said no “professional politicians” were going to be allowed to speak at their event. Now this does not mean that no Republicans will be speaking at any events: As Instapundit explains, “there are no national rules and organizers of each protest are doing things the way they want.

What does unite the protesting taxpayers is the unprecedented expansion of federal government power and spending that has taken place over the last 14 months. Starting with President Bush’s $168 billion economic stimulus, through the 2008 housing bailout, TARP I, TARP II, President Obama’s trillion dollar stimulus, the auto bailout, etc. Americans have grown more and more wary of the ever expanding size and scope of the federal government.

The front page of the USA Today has a headline “Most Americans OK with Big Government, at least for now” and reports that even though many Americans are supportive of what President Obama has done so far “by 55% to 32% Americans still say they worry more about Big Government.” Lee Heffner of Temple, PA, who supported Obama’s bailout of the auto industry, told USA Today: “it seems we’re on the trend of nationalization for a lot of things. Once the government gets into something, it’s very seldom they back out of it.” Unless things change in Washington soon, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Lee at the next Tea Party protest.

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