Tea Partiers Get Facelift

I’m currently working on a story about the Tea Party movement, one of the biggest grassroots movements in recent history in the U.S. I spent all day Thursday at the Liberty Summit, the morning rallies and the evening protest on the National Mall talking to a variety of people about what they want changed. There were a few crazies in the bunch, but what I found was that overall, they were older people who didn’t want tax increases, wanted the government to spend less, and opposed the health care bill. There were a fair number of young people there too who leaned towards the fiscal responsibility and debt arguments. I was there as an undecided observer..one who wanted to get to the truth about them beyond the “teabagging” name-calling from the left and exaggerated influence/numbers from the right.

It differed greatly from the protest I covered on 9/12 for a number of reasons. The 9/12 protest was much more energetic with a larger and much louder crowd. People seemed more determined and angry at that one, but there was also a lot more crazy people in that bunch (crazy as in racist, homophobic, radical religious, etc). This time, I think the Tea Party was more unified under the banner of “smaller government” and made a more conscious effort to weed out the radicals who show up on the news. The face of the party has changed as far as I can tell, and it’s changing its goals too.

In the coming weeks I’ll post the story I write and the multimedia that goes along with it. Right now, I’m weeding through a bunch of interviews from April 15 and four longer expert interviews. Stay tuned!


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