The first Tea Party event in Tampa took place on April 15, 2009, and featured former Hillsborough County Commissioner Brian Blair, among its notables. That's when they were just a small fringe, with nobody thinking at the time that they could possibly have a major impact on the political dialogue.
Flash forward to 2011, and the Tampa Tea Partiers are moving on up: No more failed local candidates for them. No, this time they'll have freshman GOP U.S. Senator Marco Rubio headlining in the north parking lot at Raymond James Stadium. Another bold face name is Ralph Reed, the former baby faced executive director of the Christian Coalition, who turns 50 later this summer. He's now with the Faith and Freedom Coalition. There will also be a few less than household names who will be addressing the masses.
But even though tea partiers may be pumped that one of their own, Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann seems to be getting more excited by the day of running for President, a recent CNN poll showed that the tea party has hit a nadir in their popularity, and last week conservative analyst Michael Barone wrote "has the wind gone out of the sails of the smaller-government movement?"
Among the topics that will be discussed this April 15 (from 4 to 8 p.m.) according to their website, will be heath care, urban sprawl, the future of grassroots organization, the constitution and the future of Tea Party.
Meanwhile, John Heilmann in the current New York magazine presents the situation that House Speaker John Boehner is in right now, just days before a possible government shut down beckons. Boehner's dilemna is accepting the Democrats offer of cutting $33 billion from the 2011 budget - something that months ago the GOP would have been ecstatic about it - but he's getting serious push back from the tea partiers that they want to hold out for more cutting - much more- like $61 billion.
You've heard for weeks Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid bash the tea party, saying they're holding up the Republican Party from making a deal.
But now we hear there might be yet another continuing resolution, meaning a short term extension before deciding on a final budget figure for the rest of 2011.
Whether the tea party's numbers are going up or down, they are absolutely having major influence on our domestic policy issues right now.