National News

Protesters criticize government spending at tax day tea parties

Posted April 15, 2009
Updated April 15, 2011

— Thousands of protesters across North Carolina and nationwide are using tax day to show their distaste for government spending and federal bailouts since President Barack Obama took office.

From Charlotte to Edenton, more than two dozen towns and cities saw protesters holding "tea parties" on Wednesday. They were joined by tens of thousands of people holding similar rallies across the country.

Cary resident Mark Isaacs attended a protest in Raleigh holding a sign that showed a taxpayer pulling a cart advertising a free ride. The 50-year-old chemical supplier echoed other protesters' concerns when he said the government must stop spending money it doesn't have. He said his daughters will shoulder the debt.

The City of Raleigh tea party was held outside the state capitol.Organizers got a permit for 300 people but based on initial estimates from state Capitol Police, the number of anti-tax demonstrators hovered near 1,500.

People were waving signs like “Stop taxing my kids and grandkids now,” and “Stop the insanity of bailouts.”

Tea party at Southern Pines 04-15-09 Tea party at Southern Pines

“Stop stealing our money with these unnecessary programs, bloating government,” protester Denise Joyner said.

“I don’t think we’re headed for socialism and I don’t think we have a corrupt tax policy,” said John Deans, who opposed the demonstration.

In Atlanta, thousands of people were to gather on the steps of the Georgia Capitol, where Fox News Channel conservative pundit Sean Hannity was set to broadcast his show Wednesday night.

In Boston, a few hundred protesters gathered on the Boston Common – a short distance from the original Tea Party – some dressed in Revolutionary garb and carrying signs that said "Barney Frank, Bernie Madoff: And the Difference Is?" and "D.C.: District of Communism."

The tea parties were promoted by FreedomWorks, a conservative nonprofit advocacy group based in Washington and led by former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas, a lobbyist whose corporate clients including Verizon, Raytheon, liquor maker Diageo, CarMax and drug company Sanofi Pasteur.

The group's federal tax returns show its educational and charitable arms received more than $6 million in donations in 2007, the most recent year for which returns are available.

Organizers said the movement developed organically through online social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and through exposure on Fox News.

And while they insisted it was a nonpartisan effort, it has been seized on by many prominent Republicans who view it as a promising way for the party to reclaim its momentum.

"It is a nonpartisan mass organizing effort comprised of people unhappy with the size of government. All you have to be is a mildly awake Republican candidate for office to get in front of that parade," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

The movement has also attracted some Republicans considering a 2012 presidential bid.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich planned to address a tea party in a New York City park Wednesday night. His advocacy group,, has partnered with tea party organizers to get word to the group's members.

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, another likely 2012 GOP presidential hopeful, planned to attend tea parties in Columbia and Charleston. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal sent an e-mail to his supporters, letting them know about tea parties taking place throughout the state.

There were several small counter-protests, including one in at Fountain Square in Cincinnati, where about a dozen people protested the protesters, one carrying a sign that read, "Where were you when Bush was spending billions a month 'liberating' Iraq?" The anti-tax demonstration, meanwhile, drew about 4,000 people.

In Lansing, Mich., outside the state Capitol, another 4,000 people waved signs exclaiming "Stop the Fiscal Madness," "Read My Lipstick! No More Bailouts" and "The Pirates Are in D.C." Children held makeshift signs complaining about the rising debt.

"I'm really opposed to spending the way out of our problem," said Deborah Mourray, 56, a business administrator from the Detroit suburb of Troy. "How I run my home is I don't spend more money so my situation improves. Save and conserve."

In Connecticut, police estimated 3,000 people showed up at the state Capitol in Hartford and another 1,000 at a rally in New Haven. Many carried makeshift pitchforks and signs with messages aimed at the Democrats who control Congress and the White House.

In Montgomery, Ala., Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It" blared from loud speakers as more than 1,000 people gathered at the Alabama Statehouse.

Greg Budell, a radio talk show host, said the tea parties could have the same impact as when Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of a Montgomery bus during segregation in 1955.

"If one woman could change the world by refusing to move to the back of the bus, we ought to be able to change it by saying we are not going to let our government throw us under the bus and our children and our grandchildren," he said.

In Frankfort, about 250 people gathered at the Capitol, where just a few months earlier Kentucky bourbon producers emptied whiskey bottles on the steps to protest alcohol taxes.

David Ransdell, a 66-year-old retired Baptist missionary from Lawrenceburg, donned an empty tea box as a hat and dangled tea bags around the sides.

"The future does not look real good for our country," Ransdell said. "People are afraid that they're going to be out on the street."


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  • rc4nc Apr 17, 2009

    Living beyond ones means doesn't work for very long, It doesn't work for individuals, families or governments.

    Quote by Abraham Lincoln:
    How then shall we perform it?--At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?-- Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!--All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

    At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

  • Mobile Geek Apr 17, 2009

    Go Green - "Just because YOU can't understand what he wrote doesn't mean intelligent folks can't."

    Well GoGreen. I believe my credentials can speak for themselves, as I have a Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Computer Science and Engineering, as well as a minor in economics and music. I will soon finishing up an MBA. I can very much understand Einstein, as I, in physics, have actually done the math to derive the very equations he is famous for. What about you?

    As for Einstein, his teachers did think he was border lined retarded. It was only when went to another school that stressed creative thinking and hands on learning, that he began to excel. Being one who had dyslexia myself, these facts were drilled into our heads in college, by DS. Or are you saying the university is mistaken? That you know better than they?

    Once again, you liberal go green, save the planet fools typecast people who disagree with your viewpoint as stupid. You are the Kool Aid drinkers. You are pathetic.

  • tmedlin Apr 16, 2009

    over 3000 signed the term limits petition...nuff said!

  • gammasandi Apr 16, 2009

    I am appalled at how the mainstream media,yes, you too WRAL, refused to utter a word about Americans standing up to too big government, too much government wasteful spending, DHS targeting conservatives as possible "right-wing" extremists, etc,by staying mum on the TEA PARTIES. Trust me, the pot has begun to boil and your lack of coverage will not turn down the heat!

  • batcave Apr 16, 2009

    Both the democratic and republican parties now want you to believe the only opposition is each other. Fewer opponents, fewer obstacles.

    This is so true. One side doesn't really worry when they loose , cuz eventually they know they will win again, that being the Party wins---not the people, untill we get other Partys ....same ole same ole. This is being played out. I have never seen a Pres nose dive as quickly as Obama is doing. To bad really.

  • TheStranger Apr 16, 2009

    The "tyranny" we are living under is our close-minded belief that there are only two people (two parties) to choose between for elections. I.E. a self-imposed tyranny. By falling into these beliefs we are "choosing the lesser of two evils" as opposed to "the person we feel best represents our views."

    I'm personally sick of hearing people complaining about THEIR OWN PARTY. If you have anything other than extremely minor issues with your parties platform, you should be looking for a different party, because unless you manage to pull together a lot of influence in the party (not going to happen for the average person in the Republican/Democratic parties) it won't change. If there are no parties/candidates you feel represent your beliefs satisfactorily, start your own party or run for a position yourself.

    THIS is the basis of our government.

    Both the democratic and republican parties now want you to believe the only opposition is each other. Fewer opponents, fewer obstacles.

  • ThisIsMyName Apr 16, 2009

    What was foolish was to have voted McCain.

  • Bellesdad24 Apr 16, 2009

    And the will of the people (majority) elected Barack Hussein Obama to lead this nation-Lyle

    And this so-called "majority" will find out soon enough how foolish they were this election period. Some already have.

    I just hope this "majority" isnt the same bunch of "ahem" voters to put it nicely that put people like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in their positions of power. Are people really that clueless?

    Some may want to blindly follow these so-called leaders off a cliff, its called the "Custer effect". Thats their choice, but I prefer not to have those drag the rest of us off with them.

  • Lyle Apr 16, 2009

    All the talk of tyranny posted below.......and the will of the people, etc. Please illustrate for us lesser minds what tyranny we are now living under in the USA? We defeated tyrannical British rule. And the will of the people (majority) elected Barack Hussein Obama to lead this nation. It's pretty clear to me. I think he is doing a marvelous job. Can anyone post your plans that would be preferrable to his? I'll vote for you in 2012. Thanks.

  • ckblackm Apr 16, 2009

    What one person thinks is unnecessary would be considered very necessary by someone else. Who gets to decide?