Friday the 13th seemed a bit unlikely for such an auspicious assembly but packed under an open air shed at the waterfront park in Silverdale, Washington, yesterday, more than 250 people gathered to formally “kick off” the Kitsap Patriots Tea Party organization. Sixteen months ago, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D) called the Tea Party an “Astroturf campaign” and many pundits believed that it would fade as quickly as it arrived. Apparently “Tea Partiers” didn’t listen. Complete with pot-luck, children at play, grandparents, music and politicians seeking support, the so-called “radical fringe insurgency” is still growing strong.
It felt somehow appropriate that a local candidate for Kitsap County Commissioner, Abby Burlingame (R), would help open the formal proceeding by singing the national anthem, and she did it so well that I suspect it will earn her votes. I had a great conversation with Abby after the event. A long time Republican, Abby acknowledged that Republicans have history of alienating some people. She says she is working hard to overcome that and sees the Tea Party as a beneficial way to listen and get out her message for sustainable budgets, jobs, and accountability.
Keynote speakers for the evening included American’s for Prosperity’s Kirby Wilbur, Keli “Liberty Belle” Carender, and Bob Williams of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation. Several regional conservative candidates were also present to enlist support and spend time at the podium. Here are a few quotes from the many choice memories.
“We have good news. November is coming!” Kirby Wilbur and others…
Kirby Wilbur: “It was the Tea Party that gave Republicans the courage to say no,” “to oppose Obama,” “to find their way.” “The Tea Party said, “no”, first.”
Keli Carender reading from Palin-style hand notes with great amusement of the crowd. “We rented our house out to politicians… we are kicking out the bad renters” and “moving from the political class back to the people.” “We have to be active; we have to be present.”
Bob Williams: “The Tea Party is a warning shot to Republicans.” “Wake up and get back to basic principles.” “Freedom is the duty of every citizen.”
James Watkins (R) for Congressional District 1: “We can’t afford our government anymore.”
Matthew Burke (R) for Congressional District 1: “I am the radical Republican that believes the Constitution says what it means and means what it says.” “Abolish the failed Department of Education, Fannie and Freddie.”
Dan Griffey (R) for the 35th Legislative District - Pos 2: “The nanny state isn’t working anymore…” “We need to educate not indoctrinate.”
Linda Simpson (R) for the 35th Legislative District - Pos 1: “Government is running like a special interest group.”
Doug Cloud (R) for Congressional District 6: “We’re fighting for the God-given right to self determination.”
James Olsen (R) for 23rd Legislative District - Pos 2: “I am proud to be pro-life. I am proud to be pro-family. I am proud to be pro-military.”
These are just a few of the messages sent by candidates and I have to say, it seems almost unimaginable to me that anyone would think of this kind of assembly something more menacing than a patriotic and a sincere effort to remind politicians that government earns power through the consent of the people. Of course, if you believe in socialism over the republic in which we stand, then I suppose it could scare the hell out of you.
November is coming.