By Molly K. Hooper - 09/12/10 02:49 AM EDT
Tea Party activists set to gather at simultaneous nationwide rallies on Sunday have a message for local pols and elected officials intent on getting mic time: beware and be respectful.
“Remember in November” is the theme of this year’s second annual 9-12 March on Washington sponsored by Freedom Works – an ominous reminder of the overwhelming anti-incumbent mood heading into the midterm election.
On a telephone townhall meeting this week to raise money for the events in St. Louis and Sacramento, one caller asked how to deal with "rude politicians" who have appeared at events with staffers and caused distractions in the crowd while speakers were trying to share their message.
Tea Party coordinators on the call advised "booing" the politician in the crowd or starting a chant to run the offensive politician out of the event.
GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.), Republican Study Committee (RSC) Chairman Tom Price (Ga.), Rep. Steve King (Iowa) and Rep. Tom McClintock (Calif.) are among the few officials slated to address the crowds, in part because they opposed the bank bailout bill in 2008.
Tea Party Patriots co-founder and co-coordinator Jenny Beth Martin explained in an interview with The Hill that the Tea Party was formed in part out of frustration with Republicans who voted for the nearly trillion dollar Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
She has had to tell many lawmakers who voted for the $700 billion bank bailout bill that they can't have a speaking role at various marquee rallies organized by Tea Party Patriots.
“It’s something that they are not quite used to but we just have to push back on it. Last year for the 9/12 event, there were a few congressmen who got backstage, I was running the show and they wanted on stage and I had to keep telling them no, and they are not used to hearing that,” Martin said.
Ninety-one House Republicans, including Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), voted for the program brokered by then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson under President George W. Bush.
Colin Hanna, president of “Let Freedom Ring,” said that the issue was bigger than a vote on TARP, however.
Hanna has served as emcee at several high-profile rallies, including the one before the healthcare vote in the House of Representative in the spring. His group has provided resources and assistance to the Tea Party Patriots to hold various events.
“The Tea Party leaders are appropriately skittish or reluctant to let professional politicians speak because it looks like they are trying to exploit or take over what is a genuinely grass-roots movement,” Hanna explained noting that he was slated to speak at the D.C. rally that starts at 2 p.m.
Activists in D.C. for the march, which starts at noon at the Washington Monument, and subsequent rally at the Capitol following the mile-long walk, will hear from outspoken leaders of the grass-roots movement including former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), Erick Erickson of RedState.com, Andrew Breitbart of BigGovernment.com and Pence.
Organizers were hard-pressed to guess how many people would show up for Sunday afternoon’s rally in D.C., since many people had been to the nation’s capital little over two weeks ago for the blockbuster Glenn Beck rally in front of the Lincoln Monument.
Martin, who was briefly in D.C. to help activists make signs for the 9/12 rallies on Friday and Saturday, said that the Taxpayer March on Washington would likely be more spirited and political than Beck’s rally.
Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally was a “solemn event, there weren’t any signs and it was very spiritual event. Our people will have signs, there will be chanting, they will still be respectful and peaceful but it’ll be a much more lively crowd,” Martin said, noting that she would be at the simultaneous rally in St. Louis on Sunday.
Pundit Dick Morris, author David Limbaugh and Reps. Price and King will be among those speaking at the rally with Martin set to start at 1 p.m. local time.
Tea Party Patriots co-founder and national co-coordinator Mark Meckler will emcee the event in Sacramento set for 11 a.m. local time. Speakers at the Golden State rally include popular conservative radio talk show hosts Armstrong and Getty, Rep. McClintock and radio show host Tammy Bruce.