Tea Party Rally Washington DC 2009

Early last year, the Tea Party movement was dismissed as a flash in the pan by both leading politicians and pundits.  The movement, however, continued to gain momentum and is now entering 2010 with strength, amazing influence, and a growing following of supporters disaffected with both political parties.  In fact, the tea party organization has become a to-be-reckoned-with force made up of a growing chorus of basically angry voters who are ready and anxious for a leader.

“The tea party movement has the potential to drive public opinion and electoral support in ways that are hard to fully appreciate right now. The American people are angry at both parties, and the tea party movement fills an important void that neither party currently addresses,” said Democratic strategist and Fox News contributor Doug Schoen.

Fox News reported that just this week, many credited the tea party movement for the resignation of Jim Greer, chairman of the Republican Party of Florida whose stances clashed with the movement.

Republican political consultant Matthew Dowd told ABC News he thinks people are making a mistake by trying to downplay the movement, “I think Republicans definitely dismiss this at their peril. I also think Democrats, by trying to marginalize it, underestimate the anger out there.”

The first National Tea Party Convention takes place from Feb. 4 to 6 in Nashville, Tenn. The headline speaker is Sarah Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., a lawmaker who has taken part in previous tea party rallies, also is expected to speak.

According to Fox News, a 20-day, 42-city road trip that is scheduled to start in March – a cross-country caravan tour called the “Tea Party Express III.”  Organizers are encouraging supporters to get in buses and join them at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s hometown of Searchlight, Nev., on March 27.

The movement’s Web site states that they hope to “bring activism against Obama’s healthcare plan as well as continued opposition against out-of-control spending, higher taxes, bailouts and the ‘Cap & Trade’ global warming fiasco.”

In 2010, Tea Party activists are ticked off and are teeing up for action. It promises to be a most interesting year.

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