"I remember just screaming at the TV," said Tanya Bachand, 35, a trial lawyer and Connecticut state coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots. "I was frustrated long before Obama came along because of how much the government grew under Bush. To me Obama was like Bush, only much worse."
The moment that launched the Tea Party came a shortly after Obama took office. On cable business channel CNBC, on February 19, host Rick Santelli launched into an impromptu tirade from his regular slot at the Chicago Board of Trade against plans to help struggling homeowners. Santelli proposed a tea party in Chicago in July to protest government bailouts.
This was a reference to the Boston Tea Party, an act of protest against the British government over taxation in 1773, a moment that has resonated throughout American history.
"The Rant," as Santelli's monologue has become known, struck a chord with conservatives.
"If we hadn't had all of those bailouts the economy would be back on track by now," said Tina Dupont, a founding member of the Tea Party of West Michigan. "The jobs would be back, companies would be coming back. If they'd let the banks and others collapse, we would have had a short, sharp downturn."