As President Barack Obama's first year in office draws to a close, Tea Party groups are planning to mark the occasion with a national strike - something local leaders say could demonstrate the conservative groups' burgeoning strength.

The strike, planned for Jan. 20, the first anniversary of Obama's inauguration, is being promoted online through Facebook and Web sites run by various national Tea Party groups.

"What's proposed is a nationwide strike by all Tea Party members, no matter where they are," said Lloyd Rekstad, an organizer of the Yucaipa Tea Party. "The idea is to strike where we are, in our communities, at our employment, to make an impact that will be diverse and spread out."

That would mean, Rekstad said, not going to work, not buying groceries, not going to restaurants or movie theaters.

"You just stay home," he said, "so that the person participating would become, for that one day, a nonentity - that they would give no support to the economy."

Not all Tea Party members are on board.

Lane Schneider, organizer of the Redlands Tea Party, said she hasn't heard all the details of the strike.

And Rekstad said he and other Tea Party organizers aren't sure if the strike is a good idea.

"How wise it is, how effective it would be, I don't have answers to those questions," Rekstad said.

Fred Taub, president of Cleveland-based Boycott Watch, said the national strike sounds like a one-day boycott - something he said never works.


Advertisement

"If I choose not to buy gas on Tuesday, I'm going to have to buy gas on Monday or Wednesday instead," he said. "I still have to eat. These one-day boycotts are completely and totally ineffective."

Taub said Tea Party organizations have generally done a good job of making themselves seen and heard, but that the idea for a one-day strike is a misstep.

"They've been effective," he said. "This is the first time I've seen the Tea Party fail with one of their projects. I mean, it's a one-day boycott: big whoop."

More than ineffective, though, Taub called the notion of not supporting the economy for a day "silly."

"You can't boycott the United States economy if you live here," he said. "Even if you're not working or purchasing anything today, you're still part of the economy."

Rekstad said the planned strike is motivated by general frustration with Obama's agenda, but different sites promoting the strike cite different motivations.

Some say protesting Congress' health care reform bills is the strike's explicit focus.

"We will not become tax slaves to pay for a government-run health-rationing scheme," says the National Day of Strike event page on Facebook. It goes on to say that "liberal Democrats are ... more interested in increasing their political power than fixing the problems that exist in the best health care system in the world."

Another group, Patriots for America, says the strike is aimed at protesting a ballooning deficit and increased government spending.

Another site specifically devoted to the Jan. 20 strike - strike120.ning.com - is even more general, saying the strike aims to speak against corruption and damage to the country's economy.