Tuesday, July 6, 2010
November is Coming, and So Is the Tea Party
Yesterday I attended the first rally of the Lake County Tea Party in Libertyville, which was by any measure a big success. It was one of those events where I didn't know whether to expect 20 people or 200, but the Daily Herald pegged the number of attendees at 500 (ABC-7 sent a camera crew and stated the attendance at 100 on its newscast last night, but that was clearly an error, as the crowd pix below show). The News-Sun said over 200, but I'd say it was way over that. The weather held off and it turned out to be a hot but breezy afternoon in Cook Memorial Park, a perfect venue for the gathering.
The event began with Tea Party organizer Paul Mitchell, who recently lost a primary election bid for State Rep. against incumbent Sandy Cole. Nevertheless, Mitchell belted out a great rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner, and began to introduce the long line of speakers, including Libertyville Mayor Terry Weppler (who gave a short welcoming address), Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran, State Senator and candidate for Governor, Bill Brady, 8th congressional candidate Joe Walsh, and many others.
I could only stick around for about the first hour and a half of the event, since I had to get home and cook for yet another family barbecue, but I would say that the common theme of most of the event's speakers was taking back control of the government and getting a handle on out-of-control government spending. Most of the people in the crowd were fairly regular folks who came out because they are extremely concerned about the direction our country is headed, and believe that the course towards an ever-inflated and bloated federal government must be reversed. While there were definitely some more 'extreme' folks in the crowd, most of the people I saw and talked to were just your average neighborly folks, and many were not otherwise involved in politics. That being said, the Lake County Republicans had a strong presence there; in addition to being a co-sponsor of the event, many regular GOP candidates and officials attended and also spoke.
As I mentioned to the Herald, if the Democrats simply think that the tea party movement is just a bunch of lunatics, I suppose they can keep on thinking that, but they may be in for a big surprise in November at the polls. People are mad as hell, and they're not going to take it anymore.
Remember the last time the entire country was very upset with the direction of things and went to the polls to demand "change"? We elected a new president, Barack Obama. Well, this time, the shoe may be on the other foot, and the change people are looking for won't be working to the Dems' advantage, so much.
Here are some photos of the event: