The Tea Party hates President Barack Obama and believes he should be impeached.
That you can easily learn by visiting its website.
But there is a great deal about the Tea Party itself that its foundeers won’t tell you.
Such as the truth that it was created by the tobacco industry and the billionaire Koch brothers.
That’s the conclusion of a study by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Health.
National Cancer Institute
The roots of the Tea Party lie in the early 1980s, when tobacco companies started pouring money into third-party groups.
Their mission was two-fold:
- To fight excise taxes on cigarettes; and
- To combat health studies showing a link between cancer and secondhand smoke.
Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, has been a longtime foe of the tobacco industry.
Dr. Stanton Glantz
In 2012, he authored a study for the peer-reviewed academic journal, Tobacco Control. Writing about the ties between the Tea Party and the tobacco industry, Glantz noted:
“The Tea Party, which gained prominence in the USA in 2009, advocates limited government and low taxes. Tea Party organisations, particularly Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, oppose smoke-free laws and tobacco taxes.
“Rather than being a purely grassroots movement that spontaneously developed in 2009, the Tea Party has developed over time, in part through decades of work by the tobacco industry and other corporate interests.”
Charles and David Koch, the real founders of the Tea Party
Most people believe the Tea Party originated as a 2009 grassroots uprising to protest taxes. But its origins can be traced to 2002.
That was when the Charles and David Koch and tobacco-backed Citizens for a Sound Economy set up the first Tea Party website: www.usteaparty.com.
From the National Cancer Institute’s study of the Tea Party:
- “The Tea Party, a loosely organised network of grassroots coalitions at local and state levels, is a complex social and political movement to the right of the traditional Republican Party that promotes less government regulation and lower taxes.”
- “David Koch was a co-founder of Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) and Americans for Prosperity (AFP) Foundation,” both major allies of the tobacco industry.
- “National organisations funded by corporations, particularly Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and FreedomWorks, played an important role in structuring and supporting the Tea Party in the initial stages. They provided training, communication and materials for the earliest Tea Party activities, including the first ‘Tea Party’ on 27 February 2009.”
- “FreedomWorks organised the nationwide Tea Party tax protests in April 2009, the town hall protests about the proposed healthcare reform in August 2009 and the Taxpayers’ March on Washington the following September 2009.”
- “As of 2012, AFP and FreedomWorks were supporting the tobacco companies’ political agenda by mobilising local Tea Party opposition to tobacco taxes and smoke-free laws.”
- “In many ways, the Tea Party of the late 2000s has become the ‘movement’ envisioned by Tim Hyde, RJR director of national field operations in the 1990s, which was grounded in patriotic values of ‘freedom’ and ‘choice’ to change how people see the role of ‘government’ and ‘big business’ in their lives, particularly with regard to taxes and regulation.”
- “Many factors beyond the tobacco industry have contributed to the development of the Tea Party. Anti-tax sentiment has been linked to notions of patriotism since the inception of the USA when the colonies were protesting against taxation by the British.”
- “In addition, the Tea Party has origins in the ultra-right John Birch Society of the 1950s, of which Fred Koch (Charles and David Koch’s father) was a founding member.”
- “Although the Tea Party is a social movement, it has been affiliated closely with, and somewhat incorporated into, the Republican Party. This may be due in part to the increased conservatism of politically active Republicans since 1970s and the increased polarisation of American politics.”
- “….AFP and FreedomWorks…capitalised on the changing political realities following President Barack Obama’s election in 2008.”
- “In particular, they harnessed anti-government sentiment arising from the confluence of the mortgage and banking bailout, President Barack Obama’s stimulus package and the Democratic push for healthcare reform, which provided them with the opportunity for more successful grassroots-level Tea Party organising.”
CHART SHOWING Connections between the tobacco industry, third-party allies and the Tea Party, from the 1980’s (top) through 2012 (bottom).
Since 2008, the Tea Party has played a major role in American politics.
Throughout 2009, its thuggish supporters sought to terrorize members of Congress into opposing passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare.
And in 2010 they played a pivotal role in delivering the House of Representatives to the Republican Party.
Yet the vast majority of the Tea Party’s low-level membership probably doesn’t know the origins–or the real purposes–of their organization.
But for those for whom truth is important, “the truth”–as The X-Files tagline once went–“is out there.”