By Adam Bitely -
The Tea Party is the “Person of the Year for 2010” and it isn’t even close.
No single grassroots movement in modern politics has so rapidly developed while simultaneously influencing the U.S. political system as widely and deeply as the Tea Party Movement. The beginning of this movement can be traced back to late 2008 and early 2009, spawning out of the aftermath of the infamous bailouts and Obama’s “stimulus” plan.
The movement quickly spread nationwide. On April 15, 2009, the movement took to the streets in peaceful Tea Party rallies across the nation. Hundreds of thousands of Tea Party activists gathered and began to show their organizational strength.
Later that year, the Tea Party again showed its strength during the now-famous 2009 August recess of Congress. Throughout the month of August, Tea Party activists attended Town Hall meetings where they grilled their Congressmen and women on ObamaCare.
But the most important actions of the Tea Party Movement to date came in 2010—the year of the Tea Party.
As the 2010 midterm election cycle began, many wondered what strength the Tea Party Movement would have when it came to influencing the nomination process for GOP candidates for both House and Senate races. The Tea Party Movement was extremely successful in sending the message that they knew how to organize outside of rallies and brought down much of the GOP establishment in the process.
In Kentucky, the Tea Party Movement helped propel Rand Paul to the Senate after defeating the Senate Minority Leader’s chosen candidate Trey Grayson. In Florida, where the NRSC had prematurely endorsed Charlie Crist in the GOP primary, the Tea Party Movement helped Marco Rubio easily defeat Crist in the November elections after Crist bolted from the party before he could lose to Rubio in the primary.
The Tea Party Movement also ousted three-term moderate Republican Senator Bob Bennett during the nomination process in Utah. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska was also defeated in the GOP primary by Tea Party-supported candidate Joe Miller. Although Murkowski eventually came back and defeated Miller in the November election, the primary success is not to be overlooked.
On the House side of the aisle, the Tea Party movement wrought devastation to moderate Republican House members throughout the primary, and then to the Blue Dog Democrats in the general elections. Among House Democrats, the Tea Party played a big role in ousting Rep. Rick Boucher after being in Congress for 14 terms, Rep. Ike Skelton after 17 terms, Rep. John Spratt after 14 terms, and Rep. James Oberstar after 18 terms. And this isn’t even counting the Democrats that went into retirement voluntarily after seeing the organizational strength against them such as Rep. David Obey or Sen. Chris Dodd.
The Tea Party Movement sent a strong and clear message to the political establishment on both sides of the aisle in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 2, 2010. They played a most prominent role in the Midterm Elections that resulted in Obama losing the House of Representatives. The Tea Party Movement nearly destroyed Harry Reid in his re-election in Nevada, and “fired” Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
When considering whom the person of the year should be in 2010, it was obvious that no one person or group influenced the direction of the country more than the Tea Party Movement. Without the Tea Party Movement, the Obama agenda would continue to go unchecked through the bowels of government, and the Republican Party would still be a dormant minority without any way to influence the political sphere.
In short, the Tea Party Movement has quickly matured into a political machine that is both powerful and driven by grassroots supporters. Tea Party activists have proven to be as good at influencing the electoral process as Obama’s supporters were in 2008. We are certain that Obama is quaking in his boots heading towards 2012 as he contemplates facing the movement himself, knowing the damage that this organization has already wrought on his party.
Adam Bitely is the Editor-in-Chief of NetRightDaily.com.