A newly-formed Lake County "tea party" group has pulled a permit for a gathering in Libertyville on July 5th, which will have "respectful protest signs and people waving flags" said tea party chairman Lennie Jarratt, as quoted in today's Daily Herald. The News-Sun also has an article on the event, but it's not nearly as informative as the Herald's.
As with any political event (or group) that seems to appear on the scene rather abruptly, I always look to see who's involved, in order to understand who's behind something like this, and what their agenda might be. The DH article explains that Chairman Lennie Jarratt is a website designer from Round Lake Beach. I don't know Jarratt, but I do know two others mentioned in the article, Peter Karlovics, who has long been involved in local Republican politics and is a stand-up guy, and Paul Mitchell, who among other things runs the Thoughts of a Regular Guy blog and lost the GOP primary to State Rep. Sandy Cole in the 62nd Legislative District. Mitchell, as I recall, proved himself rather thin-skinned once when I called him an "ideologue." I guess you can look at his views on his website and decide for yourself.
In any case, I find this all interesting as to local political dynamics, as I never expected any serious tea party groups to get much traction in Lake County, as the local conservatives already had their own group, the Republican Assembly of Lake County. I had always thought to myself that the RALC would be resistant to any tea party groups encroaching on their turf, so we will have to see how this will all play out. Now that the Republican Central Committee has arguably taken on a more conservative bent as well, given the election of Bob Cook of Wauconda as the new County Chairman, it will be interesting to see if this new tea party group somehow integrates into the current structure or stays outside it.
You can check out the group's Facebook event page here. Looks like a lot of no-shows for the event from the invite list, but given the chosen date is July 5th, it might be a bad day with many folks planning to be out of town. They also have a website.
It should be noted that the Lake County Tea Party group maintains that it is strictly non-partisan, as do many or most of the tea party groups nationally. Whether the group can attract many independents or Democrats will also remain to be seen.
By and large, I am not unsympathetic to the basic tea party message that we have been overtaxed by a government that has simply gone out of control with spending money we don't have. And tea party groups are quick to point out that, even though debt has really spiraled out of control under Obama, it did not start with him, and those of us involved with the GOP bear some blame for not forcing our representatives in Congress to stick to their supposed fiscal conservative ideals under Bush II, where rampant spending was also evident. I have, however, been generally disappointed with the quality of many tea party candidates (without naming any names) that seem to have been supported by these groups -- although there is a big difference in my mind between people who have run for office as a "tea party" candidate, and those who are Republicans who are just trying to reach out to a potentially influential and active segment of the electorate.
I think I will attend the July 5th event to see what's going on. The one announced elected official who will be attending so far is my friend Sheriff Mark Curran, who enjoys support from almost everyone in the GOP, as far as I can tell. He will definitely need all the support he can get this November, since the Dems are coming after him in vengeance for switching parties. And, by the way, his golf outing is next Friday in Antioch, so that will also be a great event. See y'all there.