Coffee vs. Tea In Politics

Well I drink both, but I guess to see it in politics is something who does drink them would wanna know. Here’s the story.

Washington (CNN) — Is the Coffee Party on the scale of the Tea Party movement? Saturday is the first big test in attempting to answer that question.

Leaders of the fledgling movement say they plan to hold 350 to 400 events at coffeehouses across the country. While the Coffee Party has become an instant hit online, gauging the success of Saturday’s coast-to-coast events could be an indicator of the group’s strength.

“We need to wake up and work hard to get our government to represent us,” says Annabel Park, the movement’s founder.

Angry at what she perceived as media overexposure of the conservative Tea Party movement, Park, a 41-year-old Washington-area documentary filmmaker, used her Facebook page to call for a Coffee Party.

Friends started replying, and replying, and replying. Park then set up a fan page called “Join the Coffee Party Movement.” A flood ensued, and now Park has approximately 115,000 fans, most of them coming in the past 15 days, following articles about the Coffee Party in the Washington Post and New York Times, and coverage on the cable news networks.

“Just like in the American Revolution, we are looking for real representation right now. We don’t feel represented by our government right now, and we don’t really feel represented well by the media either,” Park said last week on CNN’s “American Morning.”

“It’s kind of a simple call to action for people to wake up and take control over their future and demand representation,” she said. “And it requires people standing up and speaking up.”

Tea Party activists use much of the same language in describing their year-old protest movement that’s steeped in fiscal conservatism and boiling-hot, anti-tax rhetoric. The Coffee Party is billed by many as an answer to the Tea Party.

“It’s a response to how they are trying to change our government,” Park told CNN. “It’s their methodology that we are against. We may want some of the same things, but their journey is so alienating to us.”

Park, who worked as a volunteer for then-Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and Democratic Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia’s 2006 campaign, says the Coffee Party is not aligned with any party. She calls the two-party system out of date.

“It encourages people to think of politics as a kind of game, like a football game, in which there are two sides, and it’s a zero sum situation. If one person wins, the other person loses. That’s really not a healthy way to conduct collective decision-making. That’s not a democracy.”
Park said the bitter battle over health care is an example of how government is not working.

“We feel like the health care debate showed not only that we are a very divided country, but there’s something really wrong with our political process. We kind of got to see the innards of the political process and realize there’s something very broken. I think that’s what we’re responding to.”

So what does the Tea Party movement think of this new sensation?

“This Coffee Party looks like a weak attempt at satire or a manufactured response to a legitimate widespread grass-roots movement,” says Brendan Steinhauser, director of federal and state campaigns for FreedomWorks, a nonprofit conservative organization that helps train volunteer activists and has provided much of the organizational heft behind the Tea Party movement.

“It’s driven from the top down, and it’s not a grass-roots movement driven from the bottom up,” Jim Hoft of the St. Louis Tea Party said.

Coffee Party gatherings have taken place from coast to coast the past six weeks, and Park said they are growing.

Park said the Coffee Party’s first real national action will be on March 27, when members will get together to discuss ways to engage members of Congress during the Easter recess.


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