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Tea party pokes fun at Obama’s rivals

Wednesday April 21 2010

U.S. President Barack Obama makes remarks in the East Room at the White House in Washington. PHOTO/ REUTERS

U.S. President Barack Obama makes remarks in the East Room at the White House in Washington. PHOTO/ REUTERS  

By KEVIN J KELLEY in New York

Kenya’s embassy in Washington is sponsoring a tea-tasting event that pokes fun at US conservatives campaigning against the policies of President Barack Obama.

“The Government of Kenya, the world’s Number 1 tea exporter, cordially invites you to a proper Kenyan Tea Party on Capitol Hill (one without a political agenda),” reads the embassy’s invitation to the April 27 gathering at which Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta is scheduled to speak.

Satirical

The gently satirical reference is to the right-wing Tea Party movement formed to oppose almost every position taken by President Obama.

The sizeable band of activists, who have been holding rallies throughout the United States, take their name from the Boston Tea Party of 1773.

Protesters incensed by the British colonial government’s tax policies dumped three shiploads of tea into Boston harbour on that occasion, helping spur the outbreak of the American Revolution three years later.

Today’s Tea Party members regard President Obama as a dangerous left-wing radical who aims to tax them heavily and to expand the US government’s intrusive powers.

Some tea partiers also challenge the legitimacy of Mr Obama’s presidency.

A recent New York Times/CBS News poll said about 30 per cent of Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement believe Mr Obama was born in Kenya and thus cannot lawfully serve as president of the United States.

The release of Mr Obama’s birth certificate, showing he was born in the state of Hawaii, has failed to silence the claims of these “birthers.”

Next week’s Kenyan Government tea-tasting will likely attract considerable attention due to the wording of the invitation issued by the embassy. Kenya’s tea-export industry may see benefits as a result.

“Capitol Hill is finally having a tea party that actually serves tea!” the invitation declares. The Tea Party movement recently staged an anti-Obama protest on Capitol Hill, the site in Washington where the US Congress meets.