Anti-Tax 'Tea Parties' Protest President Obama's Tax and Spending Policies

Texas Gov. Rick Perry fires up flag-waving audience; One shouts, "Secede!"

ByABC News
April 14, 2009, 5:28 PM

April 15, 2009— -- They sang the National Anthem in Fayetteville, N.C., marched through the streets in Eustis, Fla., and wore colonial outfits on Boston Common, not far from the original Boston Tea Party.

In Montgomery, Ala., more than 1,000 marched on the State House. Some carried signs warning the country was on the path to socialism. In Cincinnati an estimated 4,000 people delivered a petition demanding officials reject federal stimulus money.

In Washington today, a crowd of protesters forced a temporary shutdown of the White House when they hurled tea bags onto the executive mansion's lawn.

It's all part of a nationwide series of demonstrations to protest tax hikes and massive government spending in the wake of the U.S. recession.

Chandler Ramelle, an organizer of the otherwise peaceful D.C. protests told ABC News Radio Network, "we're not rioting, nobody wants to do that, we just want to be heard and want you to know that we're concerned."

Today's nationwide "tea parties" -- massive anti-tax and anti-spending demonstrations timed for tax day -- are developing into a nationwide test of online organizing among fiscal conservatives.

"Without Facebook and Twitter and the blogs that have been so active in this, there's no way that this kind of event could have been organized in the size and the scope that it has been," said Smart Girl Politics' Katie Favazza today on "Top Line." Favazza helped bring people together today for the Washington, D.C. event across from the White House.

More than 750 events across all 50 states were planned for today, with organizers in several larger cities predicting attendance in the tens of thousands to protest high taxes and rising government spending.

The events have come together in less than two months' time, after a CNBC personality suggested that angry citizens protest the Obama administration's approach to the economic crisis by channeling the spirit of protest that sparked the Boston Tea Party.

If crowds approach their predicted levels, it will be an impressive display of grassroots activism -- on a scale rarely, if ever, demonstrated by conservatives.

Although there's been little advertising and no real top-down direction from party leaders, they've made extensive use of social networking sites to bring activists together.

"This could be the beginning of conservative online grassroots politics," said David All, a Republican Internet strategist. "It has real potential. The interesting thing will be to see how it pivots, and whether it pivots. The real question is what happens after April 15."

The explosion of interest has left some conservative strategists wondering whether the Republican Party might have stumbled across the makings of its own version of the liberal -- a powerful organization with the ability to shape national politics.

Others caution not to overestimate the tea parties' impact.

Air America national correspondent Ana Marie Cox said today on "Top Line" that while it's good that the rallies are bringing people together, "I just think that we should not confuse, like, this outpouring with something that is a huge movement."

And while the Boston Tea Party in 1773 was about taxation without representation, some point out that today's protesters did get to vote. They just lost.

"The thing is, the Progressives won," Cox said. "I mean, there's not a lot of like counter protest to these tea parties because the stimulus bill passed, you know."