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April 15th, 2009
08:30 PM ET

Not your grandmother’s tea party

Barclay Palmer
AC360 Senior Producer

Are the tea party protests today grass roots or astroturf?

Who cares, right? In the Internet age, it seems, there hasn't been a lot of difference.

The more interesting question is - will conservatives organizing them succeed in using President Obama's tools against him? Will they turn out tens of thousands of supporters, and revitalize the movement?

Mr. Obama's campaign for the presidency mobilized voters via email, blogs, videos and no less than 15 social networking sites. Everyone seems to agree that gave him a leg up on Hillary Clinton and the GOP.

Now conservatives are trying some of the same techniques - blogs, videos, a website, not to mention conservative radio shows - and say they have organized more than 300 "tea party protests" across the country, demonstrating against taxes and regulation. "TEA" stands for "Taxed Enough Already.

What's your take - are conservatives succeeding with these digital campaign techniques, and shown they can rally a base frustrated by losses in the last election? And have they caught up to the do Democrats' lead in online recruiting?

soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Graeme

    >>Well———the tea parties are over——-back to reality.

    A trillion dollar deficit. Yep, that's reality. Sort of. Ya know what I mean? It is and it isn't, all at the same time. Sigh.

    April 17, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  2. a2na5th

    I have followed the tea party info. It was made up of democrats and Republicans and Independents, the issue I believe was as a protest to the bailouts and an a huge dept that is building at rates unheard of. They gathered as Americans not political parties. Bush ran up a huge debt for our country and Obama has outdid him. Now everyone get back to work so we can pay off this debt. Sorry, I shouldn't have said everyone..............not everyone is a worker.

    April 16, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  3. Aynes

    no Michael...the tea parties are just getting started.Better get use to them.

    April 16, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  4. Stacy

    Who cares, right? In the Internet age, it seems, there hasn’t been a lot of difference.

    Um, I would imagine a lot of people care. Some of the lobbyists behind the tea parties are the very same lobbyists who worked on behalf of bailout receiving companies like AIG. Kinda an important aspect of the story, don't you think?

    April 16, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  5. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Well---the tea parties are over---back to reality.

    April 16, 2009 at 8:57 am |
  6. Poliwonk

    I was in Sacramento. This was an Anti-Partisan event. People from both parties are angry with bailouts, taxes, and government thinking that they know how to spend our money better than we do.

    April 15, 2009 at 10:10 pm |
  7. Annie Kate

    I haven't noticed them on the net so they haven't done enough to connect people like me. It takes a while to master the Internet and so far they don't seem to have the young techies that could help accelerate that process.

    April 15, 2009 at 10:00 pm |
  8. addy

    These aren't conservatives, they're Republicans. Big difference. Reagan is rolling over in his grave.

    April 15, 2009 at 9:49 pm |
  9. Bill, Ocala. Fl.

    The TEA parties were not about Obama but about the direction this country is headed under the direction of the former and current administrations. Glenn Beck has a great video from the Alamo. Maybe you should watch it and then you might have a better understanding where us conservatives are coming from.

    April 15, 2009 at 9:45 pm |
  10. Barbara Forrest

    I am very upset and depressed at the pure hate I see being displayed by the tea partyers.

    April 15, 2009 at 9:24 pm |
  11. Heidi

    I don't think the social media stuff has helped them at all. They still need to fall back on wing nut talk radio/tv. Good Lord, they mostly didn't know what they were protesting – even given that they were mostly protesting other stuff than "taxation with representation I didn't vote for but the majority did." Not history buffs.

    Until Bush, I was a Republican.

    April 15, 2009 at 9:21 pm |
  12. Lampe

    I got news for all of you. For 8 years Democrats, did nothing but complain about everything GWB did. Now turn about is fair play and you all don't like it . Well to bad. We are not paying extra taxes, for roads or Police, or Firefighters. We are paying higher taxes for Bailouts, and for the Likes of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    April 15, 2009 at 9:20 pm |
  13. Dan Glenn

    The revolution will not be televised – it will be Twittered, blogged, and YouTubed. Who knew?

    April 15, 2009 at 9:17 pm |
  14. Victoria

    Since the conservatives are the Grand Old Party–here "old" being the operative word–I don't think their internet efforts will have the impact that Pres. Obama did with the youth vote. The younger generation rely much more on the web for information that do the older generations and they voted for Obama in far greater numbers. PLUS–the GOP had 8 years of opportunity to prove themselves and all it got us was a bursting deficit that allowed Obama his resounding victory. I think we should give Obama at least 8 months to try to begin the clean-up.

    April 15, 2009 at 9:17 pm |
  15. c,ca

    I would equate these people with the Pro-Lifers that are so worried about unborn babies but have no problem with sending an 18-year old off to war, or animal rights activists who show up wearing leather shoes, then go home and have meat for dinner.

    I assume all of these people used public streets to get to their protests; send their kids to public schools; have ridden on public transportation; feel that they can call the police or fire department in an emergency; enjoyed a public park; want the military to protect them... etc.

    No one likes paying taxes but try living without the services that our taxes support.

    April 15, 2009 at 9:16 pm |
  16. Sandy-Juneau, AK

    Hey CNN, why dont you add up the cost of all the tea bags that were bought and tossed today so we can all see how much money was wasted? Im betting someone could have done alot with that money, such as repare a run down school, etc. Not to mention their time spent protesting, that could have been used to help with labor in a non-profit group. But wait, these people are just spoiled, selfish, out of touch. They think they have it so bad, go to another country or better yet check-out the back-yards of your own country and see what bad really is.

    April 15, 2009 at 9:16 pm |
  17. Rebecca, Louisville, KY

    Whether their methods are effective are not is irrelevant when they've completely lost the plot.

    1. These are Bush's taxes. Please see me again in 2010
    2. $100 billion in tax money sent to shelters in the Cayman's and elsewhere by corporations and that's Obama's fault how? Please to be doing your Bush reading.
    3. Taxes pay for: roads, bridges, emergency services, police, and other essential services. If you do not like it, do not complain when these services go away.
    4. This is not "taxation without representation". You have representation. Perhaps it's not what you voted for, but you have it, you can't complain. The well-off young men who dumped tons of British tea in Boston Harbor were protesting that there was no representative AT ALL in Parliament for them.

    They seemed to have failed ninth grade civics and all sorts of American history classes. So, good for you, you've mastered the internet. Now, you can work on your ignorance of, you know, reality.

    April 15, 2009 at 8:57 pm |
  18. brian

    When will you in the media call today for what it was..a national embarrasment, where a supposed news network pandered to a psuedo-populist outrage to advance its cynical agenda!

    April 15, 2009 at 8:57 pm |
  19. MsMarcella

    If McCain/Palin was doing the same thing how much chatter would you hear?

    April 15, 2009 at 8:56 pm |
  20. Joshua

    Where were all of these conservative tea parties during the past eight years?

    April 15, 2009 at 8:55 pm |
  21. HannaB

    LOL If the conservatives' president hadn't spent so much money on his wars, we wouldn't have to pay as many taxes. Who did they think was going to pay for all of Bush's overspending? They would have been smarter to prevent him from building up the huge deficit rather than closing the barn door after the horse has escaped. Such silliness!

    April 15, 2009 at 8:54 pm |
  22. Wayne Butler

    You did not cover this as you should have
    Fox did a better job

    April 15, 2009 at 8:47 pm |