Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tea Party moves from margins to mainstream in US politics

With banners, flags and T-shirts denouncing Barack Obama's fiscal stimulus and health reforms, Tea Party movement protesters are turning out against him everywhere he goes.

Last week he was in Florida to sell the "jobs, jobs, jobs" message of his State of the Union address and unveil plans for a new high-speed bullet train from Tampa to Orlando to help kick-start the economy.

In a packed college sports hall, the Mr Obama received a tumultuous welcome, reminiscent of the heady days of the 2008 campaign when he electrified the country with his White House run.

But for many Americans, the anti-establishment sentiment is now represented by those who gathered for the rival rally outside the University of Tampa. The immediate ire of protestors such as Tom Gaitens, a Florida commodities trader, was what they saw as another example of wasteful government spending.

Less than a year after the tea party movement was born out of conservative discontent at soaring spending and budget deficits, it is migrating from the margins to the mainstream of US politics.