Oklahoma Tea Party
Homemade message signs on cardboard kept the crowd entertained, which began assembling over an hour before the event's official noon starting time. Signs observed at the rally included Stop the Pirates in D.C., B. Henry is Obama Junior, It's the Constitution Stupid, I'll Keep My Guns, Freedom, and money! You can keep the change, DC Spending Has No Ending, Don't Tread on Me, and Obama, Keep your hands out of my pockets.
No politicians were allowed to speak at the rally, accenting the grass-roots nature of the event, one of many in Oklahoma. Those addressing the rally included Oklahoma City KTOK radio talk show host Mark Shannon who promoted the event on his program, and local organizers Alan Webb and Julie Henry.
While the main support for the runaway spending in the Congress is generated from the White House and its Democrat allies in the Congress, the rally was clearly a bipartisan in opposition to the oppressive taxation and spending from Washington. One sign at the front of the rally listed the Oklahoma members of the Congress who voted for the initial $700 billion bailout last fall: Republicans included Senator Tom Coburn; Cong. Mary Fallin; Cong. Tom Cole; and Cong. John Sullivan; Oklahoma's lone Democrat also voted for the bailout (Cong. Dan Boren). The only two members of the Oklahoma congressional delegation who courageously voted no to the notorious bailout were Sen. Jim Inhofe, and Cong. Frank Lucas, both Republicans.
The person credited with sparking the national Tea Party movement is CNBC cable television financial analyst Rick Santelli. Speaking from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in February, Santelli responded to President Obama's proposed $275 billion homeowner bailout plan and other massive spending measures with a call for a new "Tea Party." The video clip of Santelli's three-minute rant has been viewed on YouTube more than a million times. His outburst drew approving hoots from nearby traders on the floor of the exchange as he charged that the Obama administration's promotion of bad behavior must be causing the founding fathers to roll over in their graves. "Cuba used to have mansions and a relatively decent economy. They moved from the individual to the collective, now they're driving '54 Chevys, maybe the last great car to come out of Detroit." Responding to one of the anchors back in the CNBC studios, Santelli said, "I'll tell you what, if you read our founding fathers, people like Benjamin Franklin and Jefferson, what we're doing in this country now is making them roll over in their graves."
Many compared Santelli's rant to the scene in the movie "Network" in which character Howard Beale stands up in the middle of his newscast and declares, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"Santelli ended his comments with a declaration, "We're thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July. All you capitalists who want to show up at Lake Michigan, I'm going to start organizing." Many took that idea and began organizing for the approaching "Tax Day" on April 15. A new round of even bigger rallies is expected for Independence Day on July 4.