Several Members Address Thursday Night Tea Party Rally
Thousands of conservative tea party protesters rallied at the Washington Monument on Thursday evening as a bevy of firebrand conservative orators railed against Obama administration policies and what they perceive to be excessive taxation and federal regulation.
The Tax Day Tea Party, sponsored by the conservative grass-roots group FreedomWorks, capped a full day of protests in the nation’s capital and across the country. Several Republican Members of Congress took to the stage by the monument to whip up support for the GOP ahead of the November midterm elections.
“This is our moment,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said, throwing her hands in the air. “Because one thing that we’ve learned in the last 15 months is that it’s not going to get any better with these people.”
Bachmann called on the crowd to support constitutional conservatives in target districts in November even if it means moving into those districts. She guaranteed that it would pay off because she and her GOP counterparts in Congress will repeal the health care reform law, even if it takes them until 2013.
“We’re going to repeal that sucker. It’s gone. … And it’s all going to happen this November. We have to win at least one of those chambers so we can slam the breaks on socialism,” she said. “We’ve got another job coming up, don’t we, in 2012? Because Barack Obama will be a one-term president. Then in February 2013, we will repeal that bill.”
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) laid out a similar long-term plan.
“We’ll have a president and a majority in Congress that understand what the Constitution meant,” he said. “Your actions are worth what we’re going to get out of this in the next two years.”
The populist outrage that surrounded the debate over health care reform was still palpable Thursday night as protesters enthusiastically cheered along with the speakers and waved signs reading, “I Miss Bush, We Need Integrity” and “Excommunicate Stupak,” referring to Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.). Signs also included several variations of slurs against “socialist” and “communist” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Obama.
Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) railed against big government and high taxes, and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) implored the crowd to take the country back.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) called for the abolition of the Federal Reserve and the Internal Revenue Service and the withdrawal of military troops from overseas.
“We’re bankrupt in this country, and therefore we do need a sea change,” he said. “The role of government is to protect our liberties. And if we protect our liberties, then the people can take care of themselves. Get rid of all these taxes and all these regulations and all of these government controls.”
But for all the rock star receptions the Members got, a strident anti-incumbent fervor was present too. It was exemplified in one sign: “435 Villages in America are Missing Their Idiots.”
Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), now the chairman of FreedomWorks, looked out at the sign as he took the stage in a black cowboy hat and matching boots.
“I want you to know, just a few years ago I would have resembled that remark,” he told the crowd. “But I’m getting better.”
“Millions of people around this country demonstrate love of America, they have pride in America, they have hopes for America,” Armey continued. “And they have fear of Washington.”