“I feel like the tinder was already there, ready to burst
into flames and I just lit the match,” says conservative blogger and activist
Keli Carender on her early role in the Tea Party movement.
On Feb. 16, 2009, Carender organized a “Porkulus” protest at
Westlake Park in downtown Seattle. Appalled by what she deemed excessive
spending in the federal stimulus bill, the 31-year-old Seattle math teacher and
actress says the protest “was born out of the frustration at my opinions not
being listened to.”
Her local rally of 120 people has grown in 2010 to be the
biggest grassroots conservative movement in Washington state. She works for the
national Tea Party Patriots, which doesn’t endorse candidates, but raises funds
and trains volunteers (with the assistance of Freedom Works, the political
nonprofit run by former U.S. Rep. Dick Armey). But local Tea Parties do
endorse, and Carender works for local Republican outfits and blogs (as Liberty
Belle at redistributingknowledge.blogspot.com) in support of Dino Rossi’s
Senate campaign and other Republican candidates.