Thursday I attended one of the hundreds of TEA party protests held around the nation. Turnout was around 1000, which was similar to last year's Tax Day TEA Party protest.
Of the myriad of speakers at the protest, only one was a sitting member of the House of Representatives and he was visiting from Michigan. A number of Congressional hopefuls were there, but none spoke, preferring to press the flesh and speak one-on-one with TEA party supporters. Not surprisingly, only GOP candidates showed up even though invitations were extended to candidates from all parties.
Three of the more inspiring speakers included former US Senator Gordon Humphrey (R-NH), Thom Thomson – son of the late New Hampshire governor Meldrim Thomson, and former New Hampshire Senator Greg Lovejoy.
Senator Humphrey related his experiences of serving in the Senate for two terms. (He promised when he was elected that he'd only serve two terms, then come home. He kept his promise.) The one thing he said that stuck in my mind was his comparison of Congress to “a pit of vipers.” He also warned that even those with the best of intentions when they arrive in Washington are eventually seduced by the power their office confers. It doesn't happen quickly, but it does happen, which is why he has supported term limits. He also led the call to “Throw the bums OUT!”, something the crowd quickly picked up and chanted with increasing volume. Humphrey said we shouldn't discriminate as there were plenty of Republican bums deserving to be thrown out as much as their Democrat colleagues.
Both Thom Thomson and Senator Lovejoy spoke about the fiscal problems visited upon the people of New Hampshire by both the legislature and the governor, with legislative Democrats willing to spend money the state doesn't have, implementing tax hikes that hit the people most affected by the recession, and attempting to 'appropriate' private funds from a medical malpractice fund in an effort to fund the runaway budget. The governor also failed to protect the taxpayers in the state by refusing to use his veto pen to stop the 30% increase in state spending over the past 2 budgets.
While other TEA party protests drew some number of infiltrators/agitators, the Manchester protest drew only one 'visitor' from the New Hampshire Democrat Party, and he pretty much just watched the activities.
All in all it was a great gathering with appreciative crowd all sharing the same message: “We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it any more!”