September 11, 2010

'Freedom' rings through Racine Tea Party gathering

 Congressman Paul Ryan was definitely a Tea Party favorite

Towards the end of the Racine Tea Party's rally Saturday at Pershing Park, a woman on stage announced to the crowd that Community for Change was collecting food and money for the Racine County Food Bank. There was a brief pause, perfect for a chorus of boos in response to mention of the organization formed by the volunteers who helped get President Barack Obama elected.

The boos didn't come. Actually, there was a smattering of applause and many people at the rally donated money and canned goods to the food drive. One person walking to the rally gave $20. Another person pulled a quarter out of his pocket saying he was unemployed and it was all he could give.

While it was a day of pointed, even heated, political rhetoric, the Tea Party's gathering was civil, friendly, peaceful. No one called Obama a Muslim. No one ripped Islam. Democrats didn't even take much of a beating. But the message was clear. The government is taking away people's freedom, speaker after speaker said, and it's time for people take their freedom back.

Rep. Paul Ryan was the star of the afternoon. His clear, concise attack on government deficits drew stirring cheers from the crowd of more than 1,000 people standing and sitting on the soccer field in Pershing Park. Ryan noted that you can't love jobs, but hate the people who create jobs. Government needs to get out of the way and allow free markets to work, he said. When he was finished, emcee Vicki McKenna said five people asked her to tell Ryan to run for president in 2012.

Ryan was followed by columnist and TV commentator Jonah Goldberg, who made the same point by comparing taxes and government programs to slavery. Goldberg said only markets create wealth, and that government needs to support markets by reducing debt and entitlement spending.

Author of the NY Times best-seller "Liberal Fascism," Goldberg mixed comedic one-liners in with his conservative libertarian message. He compared the Tea Party movement to white blood cells healing a wound.

A few of his funnier lines:

He said he was proud Barbara Streisand cancelled her subscription to the Los Angeles Times when his column started running in the paper, and that Keith Olbermann has named him "Worst Person in the World" four times. (One of those times was for Goldberg's prediction that the Iraq would have a stable government with no civil war by 2007, a prediction he later admitted was wrong.)

"The definition of 'fascist' is a conservative who is winning an argument."

"I didn't come here today to burn a Koran. You wouldn't want a radical Islamist to get mad at a guy named Goldberg."

He said liberals believe "there's nothing wrong with America that becoming Europe can't fix."

"Canada is Puerto Rico with EU (European Union) sensibilities."

He said the crowd should be "happy warriors" who are justified in their anger because they're on the side of prosperity.

Goldbeg and Ryan were joined by speaker Niger Innis, who is a political consultant and pundit, and Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. Local Republican Lou D'Abrraccio got the crowd fired up about winning in November, along with Lora Halberstadt, Wisconsin Tea Party organizer.

The gathering was perhaps a little smaller than initially anticipated, due in part to a rainy morning, and part to the loss of John Stossel, and then Michelle Malkin, as the keynote speaker. Nonetheless, the turnout was impressive for a local political rally and it's clear the Racine Tea Party is a well-organized group capable of mobilizing large numbers of voters. That bodes well for conservatives in the November election - and maybe beyond.

Then again, things turn quickly. It was just two years ago that Obama and Community for Change looked formidable, and conservatives were on the outside looking in.

Update: Kelly Gallaher of Community for Change writes to say between the clock auction, Home Expo and Tea Party rally that the group raised $707 and a nice amount of food. Wilson's will accept food and cash donations through the weekend as will the Home Expo through closing tomorrow.

Update 2: The JT is reporting 3,200 people were at Saturday's rally. There's no way that many people were there. We actually counted a large portion of the crowd and came up with about 1,000 people. But that's just a point in time and you have to figure in people who came and went from the event, which is probably another 500-1,000 people, bringing total attendance to somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 people.

Wisconsin Atty Gen. JB Van Hollen

Lou D'Abrraccio and radio host Vicki McKenna, who served as MC

Humorist/speaker Jonah Goldberg with Tea Party organizer Lora Halberstadt

Singer Krista Branch, a former American Idol contestant, entertained

Tee shirts gave a good picture of participants' feelings 
There was no exact count, but we estimate between 1,500 and 2,000 attended

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  1. Throw out the bums....oh wait all the Republicans that spoke are incumbants...oops. Can I change that please.

  2. I was rather amused when a couple of local tea party couples stopped by my downtown watering hole after the event. Here are a couple of the quotes that we overheard...

    "...they think we are all racists and bigamists"

    "my favorite speaker was the black guy"

    "...maybe we'd had a better turn out if we served beer"

    "...obama is a muslim" and then one minute later
    "..and he is part of Jeremiah Wrights church"

    I am sure that most teabaggers are reasonably intelligent and not racist bigamists ...but some of the attendees are sure worth a giggle or two.

  3. thank you racine republican party - Scott walker is happy you did a GOTV party

  4. Why would they be talking about winning in November. The Tea Party isn't backing one political party are they?

  5. I was amazed to hear the president finally admit that the dems may not do well in November. I continue to lose respect for him and other dem "leaders" who blame the voter anger on everything but their policies, debt and spending. It always seems to be someone else's fault but theirs. That's not leadership in my mind. The blame game doesn't work anymore.

  6. You know, most of the over the hill gang being there probably doesn't realize what Ryan wants to do with social security or realize that the dreaded donut hole is closed thanks to Obama and no thanks to the repubs. Yeah, typical crowd, ones who would spit up on their adult bib when the repubs cut social security and give them back the donut hole.

  7. And after November we remove Dickert and his guy Helding

  8. Feel the left wing haters. A very positive event you might have learned something had you attended.

    Anon 6:23 what does Paul Ryan want to do?

    Nothing to anyone over 55, and all he wants is to give people a choice. What do you have against the freedom to choose?

    You really should put down your left wing talking points and open your minds.

  9. Holy white people!

  10. They are the over the hill gang. These folks do not have a clue about our government and how it is run. The only way these folks will be able to affect the change they want is to form into a viable third party and run candidates that can be elected.

  11. I can't get over how Paul Ryan -- who voted so many times to build the deficit, blowing a trillion on the Iraq war, hundreds of billions more on the Bush tax cuts for the rich -- now gets credit for his "concise attack on government deficits."

    Take a look at the deficit and our national debt (the big red bars) from 2001 to 2008. This is the Paul Ryan era, his legacy. He and the Republicans reversed Clinton's surplus and dug us a gigantic hole -- yet now they warn of doom and blame it all on Obama.

    Even more ridiculous, Ryan still wants to add another $700 billion to the deficit by extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich -- even though he has admitted they won't pay for themselves.

    It's like that old playground flimflam, "Stop hitting yourself."

    It's becoming increasingly difficult for Paul Ryan to pull off his eager-and-innocent act. He has piled up a record of deceit, and people are starting to call him on it.

  12. Anon 7:53 - You need a little something called candidates to accomplish that. From what I hear, no one serious wants to run against the Mayor. You aren't going to kick him out with just anyone on the ballot.

  13. Anybody but Ryan9/12/2010 12:52 AM

    Anonymous 8:45 PM said: "Nothing to anyone over 55, and all he wants is to give people a choice. What do you have against the freedom to choose?"

    Why isn't Ryan giving the over-55 crowd the same false "choice?" Is he afraid they would all want to remain in Social Security? Anyone over 55 ignorant enough to support Ryan's economic jihad to decommission SS yet think those under-55 should be allowed to opt-out - should have their benefits taken away immediately - since it is the under 55 group paying into the benefit pool for tommorrow's seniors. These seniors are committing moral suicide supporting Ryan.

  14. "Why isn't Ryan giving the over-55 crowd the same false "choice?"" Because the alternative, for those under 55, would be to put a portion of Social Security contributions into an IRA type account invested in relatively stable return investments. For those over 55, they simply lack enough time for those investments to appreciate.

    There is no "benefit pool" that workers pay in to - FDR set the whole thing up as a Ponzi scheme. The government spends your contributions as quickly as they cash the check. They are counting on new workers to pay for retirees.

    That is why this system will ultimately save money: because it allows you to keep and own part of the over 12% of your pay (your contribution and employer match) that you pay. I believe that the plan calls for 4-5% to be deposited in an account - You will OWN it, although you will not be able to withdraw it before retirement.

  15. I love reading the fear from the Democrats.

  16. When will this "paper" ask John Heckenlively about his support? of HAMAS if the Tea Party is Racist for not liking Obama then is not John Heckenlively a Nazi for supporting a group that calls for the destruction of Israel?

  17. 5:58 am - sorry but not a democrat, but the tea party is rather ridiculous and the seniors who support Ryan don't know how he will hemmorage the ss and get it into his corporate friends' hands to "manage" - He is phony. Sometime the dems will get serious and pump money into a campaign with a candidate who can win. Sorry John, wish you well and admire your gusto but Ryan is slick and has the insurance companies pouring money into his campaign coffers. You have honest working people putting in what they can. Greed wins.

  18. John Heckenlively is a clown.

  19. You lefties sound exactly like I thought you would after yesterday, desperate. In your depression and despair of losing your messiah and all your socialist ideologies, may I suggest a cure, suicide.

  20. I can't believe I am saying this but the only honest dem in Washington right now appears to be Hillary Clinton. Her comments a few days ago that the debt is risking our security and future was refreshing. Clearly, even she doesn't want to be connected to the "don't blame us dems now running the show in Washington. I think she is representing a number of dems I know that are going to be looking for new leaders in their party for 2010 and 2012.

  21. Interesting that there is not a single person in th phtoos under tha age of 50 or non-white. Its pretty sad they they had to even import their token african american speakers from outside of Racine. I am sure many of the tea baggers are not outright racists...but this group is pretty monolithic in their demographics. They should be called the old angry white guys party

  22. Anon 8:42, seek mental help.

    And I'd advise you to get up off your high horse and attend a TEA party meeting.

    Ignorance is such an ugly thing.

  23. I was disappointed by how little attention was paid to 9-11. I thought it was supposed to be a tribute and it was all politics. The JT really over estimated the crowd too. I expected more people.

  24. Anybody but Ryan9/12/2010 12:50 PM

    Anonymous 1:20 AM: "Why isn't Ryan giving the over-55 crowd the same false "choice?"" Because the alternative, for those under 55, would be to put a portion of Social Security contributions into an IRA type account invested in relatively stable return investments. For those over 55, they simply lack enough time for those investments to appreciate."

    Why bother with individual accounts? If the IRA investment type acounts guarantee such a wonderful return - why create individual winners and losers? Why not "invest" the entire box of government backed IOU's and current SS tax withholding into a giant IRA so everybody can reap the benefits and still guarantee the principal like Ryan claims his plan would?

    Social Security is a government guarantee against privately "ponzi" schemes such as individual retirement accounts and the stock market. If the capital markets were not a ponzi scheme, they would never face bankruptcy or need bailing out. Demagogue if you must, but the reality is, SS kept millions of seniors out the gutter over the past several years alone.

  25. It is very strange that the writer of this article fails to tak pictures of the true cross sectin of people attending this event! There were young, old (with walker and wheel chairs), Blacks, Hispanics, etc there. As I walked aroundI couldnot believe the anger over the way the government is ruining the country. I look forward to a group on new faces in Madison and Washington come November. Oh, I did talk to Democrats, Repulicans and Libertarians at the event. One side note. When it was all over there was not a speck of litter on the groud. What a picture of respect for our resources!!!

  26. Anon 8:42 All of the speakers except one were from outside Racine, but you only focus on the black speakers being from outside Racine. Clearly, you are a racist.

  27. I'm surprised there's no mention here to the introduction McKenna gave Paul Ryan. What was it she said?... I don't completely remember, something like "The Rock Star of Congress; the Rock Star of Wisconsin." And then that was followed up by Rage Against the Machine's "Bulls on Parade," right?

    Does no one else see irony in this? Not just the fact that early anti-Obama arguments were so often built on the thesis "He's a media phenomenon, not an accomplished politician," but that the soundtrack to our Congressman taking the stage was an anti-war, anti-arms, pro-public services anthem? Written by one of the most left-leaning bands of the last century, nonetheless?

    Perhaps I've just worked too long as a taste-tester at a lead paint factory.


  28. Nick you really don't get it do you. I hope you wake up someday to the damage that the democrats have done to the economy and to the future for our kids. If they have their way our great grandkids will still be paying for theie socialist ideas and we will become a third world country.

  29. If I vote Tea Party or Republican, can I expect a large improvement in the economy within a year?

    Has this President and Congress screwed things up so bad that it will take longer than a year?

    Just looking for some honest answers.

  30. God forbid, the drunks that wrecked our economy were allowed to get behind the wheel again. I can understand folks not being happy with the today's designated driver, but at its best, it will take ten to twelve for the economy to stabilize. If republicans take control - it will be 30 or 40 years.

  31. cupajoepleeze9/12/2010 6:10 PM

    The best part in Paul's five minute song and dance was the importance of holding elected officials accountable, voting and when they win back control they won't screw everything up again!

    The crowd was 99.5% white, largely older and middle class looking. I saw a few Hispanics, maybe 10 and two African Americans that were not the speakers and one of the two was Keith Fair!

    This is a revolution waged from lawn chairs.

  32. Could it be true? That the seniors of today supporting Ryan's plan are trying to screw their own kids and grandkids out of retirement certainty when they get old?

  33. Oh, sweet Anonymous, you have written so many of my favorite poems.

    My favorite poem at the rally(a sign carried atop a pitchfork):
    "The pitchfork worked on Frankenstein, you're next Lehman & Feingold"

    Does that strike anyone else as awesome?

  34. Mine was "Where is Lee Harvey When You Need Him", some one was selling that classy one.

  35. Don't forget "Celebrate Diversity," above a wondrous and varied assortment of firearms. Strangely, it shot into me an impulse to vote for Dr. Dre.

  36. Mine was "Where is Lee Harvey When You Need Him", some one was selling that classy one.


    Those were floating around when the leftists wanted Johnson and then Nixon gone. Nothing new under the sun.

  37. 9/11/2010 5:49 PM
    Wrong, all the speakers were not incumbent.
    David King was not an incumbent.

  38. 9/11/2010 5:52 PM
    You missed two things. One you don't name your dive and secondly you don't thank them for spending money to keep your dive open.

  39. Gosh everybody in the photos looks the same, keep up the inbreeding:) Looks like the cover shot from the movie Night of the Living Dead.

  40. 9/13/2010 7:44 AM
    "Night of the living dead"?
    Have you ever seen pictures
    of Kaye (Blue Racine)? She could be the poster child for The Zombie Weekly.

  41. I am not in the tea party, however I do agree with many of their positions. When the President comes out and says that his economic plans may hurt the elections for the Democrats, it make you wonder. Well not really because everyone of the Obama, Pelosi and Reed policies have been a total disaster. And don't give me that it's Bush's fault - yes he spent to much, but who was the majority in congress?

  42. Sir: the Dems didn't gain majority until 2006. Long after unfunded tax breaks, 2 unfunded wars and the bank busting Medicare advantage had been pushed through. Heard of Google?

    To the Lee Harvey apologists a reminder that this was billed a 9-11 "Tribute" not a day at the 7 Mile Fair. When you let crap like this in at your respectful, non-partisan town hall people get the wrong idea.

    The idea that you are partisan amateurs who look the other way for racists and messages of violence.

    BTW did any of you meet the lady who was quietly handing out flyers condemning the Catholic Churches and their commitment to social justice? This is the same crap that the 912ers are all over trying to smear RIC and Common Cause.

    Nice tribute.

  43. I don't why but when I look at pictures from a tea party rally - I don't get exhilarating feelings of progress or change - I see just the opposite - rust and statism, maybe a slightly smaller smaller statism, but still statism.

  44. Democrats are courageous9/13/2010 11:00 AM

    sir said: "When the President comes out and says that his economic plans may hurt the elections for the Democrats, it make you wonder. Well not really because everyone of the Obama, Pelosi and Reed policies have been a total disaster. And don't give me that it's Bush's fault - yes he spent to much, but who was the majority in congress?"

    When TARP was introduced by Paulsen and Bush, Paul Ryan said he was getting calls 100 to 1 against it from his constituents. Ryan of course not only voted for it - he was a GOP point man for the program. Soon afterwards, his media enablers said Ryan was "courageous" for voting against popular wisdom, that he obviously put his career on the line and proved he's not a career politician. Therefore he deserves your vote.

    Why are democrats any different for voting for programs that may cost them their jobs? Doesn't that prove they are not career politicians, but instead brave and noble statesmen doing what's right for the country?

  45. Those in office are there to support their constituents. The majority of the voting population was against every policy that the Dem's have put through. Obama, Pelosi and Reed are so egotistical they do not care about public sentiment - they have their own agenda and they do not give a rat's ass what anyone thinks.

  46. Democrats are courageous9/13/2010 11:51 AM

    Only Obama, Pelosi and Reed?

    Why not, "Paul Ryan is so egotistical that he does not care about public sentiment - he has his own agenda and he does not give a rat's ass what anyone thinks."

    It fits.

  47. So they had a big stage, sound system and jumbo-trons with live video. Not to mention that big crane with the giant flag. Who paid for that? The Racine Tea Party doesn't have that kind of money.

    Americans for Prosperity people were everywhere. This was a corporate sponsored event and the only prosperity they are worried about is American corporations, specifically the Koch family corporations.

    I don't get it. Put up a big flag and grandma and grandpa will show up and think it's great. But don't these Racine people realize they are a franchise for corporate interests? Who needs PR or lobbyists when they got these dupes working for free!

    Koch's backing isn't even in question, they are proud of what they are doing.

  48. The Native Americans were right: "White men speak with forked tongue." Tea baggers claim to support America and American jobs, yet they support Paul Ryan, who supported the loss of American jobs via giving China the Most Favavored Trading Nation Status, NAFTA, GATT and other unfair trading pacts.

  49. The message that the Tea Party is sending "only republicans can raise my taxes"

  50. Ryan supported the tea-baggers third rail - TARP. He also voted against states when he voted for another deficit spending boondoggle - Part D supplement - at the last minute, Feingold had to insert a special waiver to keep SeniorCare for Wisconsin. Ryan,"Wisconsin's Rock Star?" More like Wisconsin's "Huckster."

  51. Well to bad whiners - Ryan will win again.

  52. Looks like a lot of Kansasville people there. Town of Dover now has Tea Party government.

    That should keep the Town in the Dark Ages a few more years.

    Same old Republican crap -- Do as I say! Not as I do.

    Republican ROBIN HOODS steal from the poor and give to the rich.

  53. Tea Baggers pushing contradictions like Paul Ryan remind of chickens helping the Colnel open a restaurant, then wondering what's for dinner.

  54. The Architect9/13/2010 4:05 PM

    The Plan.

    Vote Republican for Congress now. If they fail, Democrats win 2012. The President can cherry pick and tweak their good ideas, then take credit for them, and get 4 more years.

    Where did I see this before?

    Hee hee hee.

  55. Sir: of course Ryan will win. The republican prostitute of this district has 2 million dollars.

    I'm just a gigalo...

  56. 9:15 - better to be a prostitute than no job at all!

  57. democRATS = loss of freedoms/big government/entitlements ie.. (free handouts)socialistic policys/totalrisum/hitlerisum/

    if your a hardcore liberal wake up and at least challange you leaders on somthing because right now your party of socialism stinks even Fadel Castro stated he was ashamed Obama is more socialist the he is.

  58. Republicans: GOP=Grand Old Perverts. Toe-tapping in the boy's room. Republicans have to be very proud of their best -- like Joe Mc Carty, Richard Nixon, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney.... Republican followers are like sheep heading to their slaughter.

  59. Anonymos is right -- Republicans are not only the party of NO, they are the party of misfits and hypocrits.

  60. If the GOPers had any concern for their committment to Americanism, they would dump Paul Ryan as their poster child -- the POS who helped move American jobs off-shore.


    SIGNED. A FORMER DEMOCRATE UNION MEMBER TURNED TEA PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    AND STILL PISSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  62. I'm just a gigalo...
    9/14/2010 9:15 AM

    You're not a good speller -- it's gigolo. Ask for a dictionary for Christmas.

    I was at the event in a worker capacity and was glad to have the opportunity to meet so many candidates and to ask them questions. The candidates' wives were also very pleasant and helpful. I, too, mentioned to a police officer that he wouldn't find trash all over the place afterward, like people do after the 4th of July fireworks show. We are conservatives and we care about our community and our government.

    Thank you to the Racine TEA Party organizing committee for the many meetings and other efforts, and to Americans For Prosperity for their sponsorship to provide this fun and informative event.

  63. robert Philopulous9/17/2010 9:33 AM

    Free trade my butt free trade got us into this mess the only free trade is us taking all the crap and from other countries and we cant export anything THANKS BILL CLINTON we wont forget our jobs

  64. WOW - are the leftys worried or what! They are pulling out all their time worn scare tactics like 'republicans want to take away your SS' and 'the debt is all Bush's fault' and of course name calling - 'Grand old Perverts' as well as implying bad apples only exist on the right. All signs of a party that knows they are in deep excrement. And BTW anon 10/13 3:31pm, it is the libs who play 'Robin Hood' when they TAKE from the 'rich' and pass it out to the lazy freeloaders in the liberal programs designed to 'redistribute the wealth'. All you leftys on here are making the same noise - the one you get when you poke a pig in the hind end.