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The biggest item in the news tomorrow will be the Tea Party anti-tax protests which have been scheduled it seems for nearly every municipality in

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Previewing Tea Parties

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The biggest item in the news tomorrow will be the Tea Party anti-tax protests which have been scheduled it seems for nearly every municipality in the country. Here in Washington, thirty official Tea Parties are being held in the state, anywhere from Colville to Gray's Harbor and Port Angeles to Walla Walla.

The two largest local rallies will likely be the noon Olympia protest sponsored by the Evergreen Freedom Foundation on the Capitol steps and the 5:30 p.m. Westlake rally in Seattle.

EFF rally organizer Amber Gunn said she is expecting a minimum of 500 people with numbers that could go as high as a couple thousand. A Facebook site for the Seattle rally has nearly 300 people saying they'll attend. However, since the Seattle rally is much later than most of the other protests tomorrow, that number will almost certainly be much higher as protestors who begin the day at satellite rallies will converge later in the day, downtown.

"Our message is one of reminding people that the government works for us and not the other way around," said Gunn, speaking of the Olympia rally.

Although EFF is being listed as the biggest Tea Party in the state, in actuality the demonstration pre-dates the movement and the think tank is labeling its event a "Push Back, No Tax" rally.

Permits were acquired months before the Tea Party movement gained traction and rather than pointing out the iniquities of federal bailouts, the rally is focused on state spending.

The Tea Party at Westlake Park has the hallmarks of the classic definition. Co-organized by Keli Carender, a Seattle-area teacher, the event fits the mold of a spontaneous grassroots demonstration that is being held independent of political organizations.

Carender expressed outrage over the spending and exponential growth of the federal government.

"Elected officials at the federal level also do not seem to understand what their role is, as outlined by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights," Carender added.

She is expecting counter-demonstrators to be on hand, and with an impish grin, thanked them for helping to make the event look even bigger.

The whole Tea Party movement can trace its beginnings, in part, to Carender who, blogging as Liberty Belle, held a "Porkulus" demonstration in February protesting the Stimulus Package passed by Congress. News of the protest was picked up by conservative radio hosts and bloggers including syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin, inspiring copy-cat rallies. The notion that conservatives should be holding a regular series of political rallies then snowballed into the National Tea Party movement.

No Love For The GOP

Last week, we wrote about the rebuke suffered by RNC Chair Michael Steele, being publicly NOT invited to speak by organizers of the Chicago Tea Party rally. The same rules seem to apply for EFF's Olympia rally.

Several elected Republican had asked the think tank for time to speak at the rally.

"EFF turned down all Republican legislators that wanted to speak. We invite legislators to come and mingle with the crowd. But this is a time for them to listen," Gunn said, adding that the rally was non-partisan.

The one GOP legislator who is speaking is Sen. Janea Holmquist. State Auditor Brian Sonntag, a Democrat, will speak about performance audits and no doubt against the legislature's attempts to cut them. Radio talk show host Kirby Wilbur and Schrammie Award winning initiative pusher Tim Eyman are also scheduled.

There has been a disgruntled attitude directed at the GOP establishment by grassroots Tea Party organizers for attempting to co-opt and take over the movement. This is particularly so since the party has been very late in game in terms of its support. It was only after the talk of 500,000 people nationwide attending these events with all the accompanying television, print and radio coverage, that Republican leadership decided to get on board.

"A lot of Republicans would like to claim the title, their image is very tarnished.

But it doesn't belong to them," Gunn said.

The Republican National Committee has put together a website, Teaparty.gop.com where you can send an e-mail postcard of a teabag to President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Harry Reid or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Teabagging Pelosi, huh? That'll learn her. Way to help out, GOP.

Huh, huh. You said Tea Bag.

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There have been rumors of counter-protests scheduled. But just as the Tea Parties themselves seem to be very decentralized, any left-wing demonstrations are probably going to be left up to the initiative of local organizers.

In fact most of the opposition seems to be confined to mocking the movement's name on blogs and on celebrity talk shows. Rachel Maddow has probably the most talked about diatribe, belittling the movement.

The debate isn't about supporting President Obama's deficit spending and the trillions of dollars of bailout money being used to line the pockets of financiers but rather belittling the notion of "teabagging".

You get it? Teabag! It's a homonym you know. A slang term describing a particular sex act. Urban Dictionary has the definition if you gotsta know.

Guess it's a good thing that Tea Party organizers didn't go with some of their original ideas of having a Cleveland Steamer Protest, Filthy Sanchez Rally or German Boot-licker Demonstration...

 
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