Tea Partying

Fifteen hundred or so Tea Partiers congregated at Lake Zorinsky yesterday before the cops closed down the New York State Thruway er, the entrance to the park, because there wasn’t enough parking. There was likely little brown acid shared, but the folks there did get their fill of people yelling and rapping at them. (Wait…what?)

(You gotta think the fifty year-old white guys were saying, “This is an April Fools joke, right?”)

Anywho, let’s first hit a video from KETV about the whole gig (said rappers at the 1:35 mark). [Not embedded, opens a new page.]

Then there is KMTV’s piece on the party where we see Rep. Lee Terry out and about with the gang. Note Lee playing the fine line between mingling with the crowd and chucking crates of tea into the lake.

And then (at the 1:30 mark) Dave Roberts has a quick interview with Mike Sakalosky, who is challenging Terry in the Primary. (Wait…who? MikeSak.com? Oh well…)

Watch here:

It will be interesting to see where this movement goes in the next few years. Arguably we’ve seen it before with Ross Perot (Dan Quayle in the Wash Post on that issue today) and Ron Paul. But will the Tea Partiers bust off and try to form a new party? Or will they really get themselves organized and try to influence the Republican Party, a’la the Christian Conservatives in Iowa back in the 90’s.

Or can they get organized? There is no doubt passion amongst the people who are following this latest movement. They make many good points about the direction of the government and they have made a lot of noise. Can that turn into votes?


Well look at it this way: Often times groups hope to get their message across with free media. Posting videos on YouTube that will never actually make it to TV. Holding protests with small numbers, just hoping that the press takes notice.

Well, the Tea Partiers have accomplished some of those lower goals already. So will they have influence in the bigger scheme that they hope? If they do it right, they may.

Put it this way: If they simply back the Mike Saks of the world, and stop there, they’re going nowhere. What will they do if/when Mike fails to make it past May? Go for a third party to ensure the Democrats take over? (How has that experiment in the White House gone so far?)

We’ve seen these folks with a lot of passion and home made signs lately, but here’s the question? What is the next step?

It’s a legitimate question, and one that we would throw out to the commenters here on Leavenworth Street. (And let’s stop with the banalities of “take back our government!”.) What are the actual goals, and where are you/they headed.

We want to know.


  1. Lightfinger says:

    The group backing MattSak is only one of a myriad of groups were involved in the event yesterday.

    There is a goal to these people, and it is to elect people to government that actually believe in shrinking government. Unfortunately, as we are seeing, few people are stepping up to the plate to actually run. Those that are have no campaigning experience, and end up running bad campaigns that just discourage people.

    Right now, it is even a challenge to work together. On April 15th, both Omaha and Lincoln have two "tea party" events scheduled at the same times. That's not effective or smart.

    As for a 'third party', Teddy Roosevelt's Progressives (the REAL progressives) caused Woodrow Wilson to be elected. Perot caused Clinton to be elected. Pat Buchanan caused GWB to be elected. There is a supposed 'tea party' candidate in Nevada that may end up splitting the vote, because people don't realize the guy who formed the 'party' never participated. Third parties have not worked since the Republican Party was first formed. I would much rather we transform the Republican Party into following the ideals it is supposed to be for, instead of spending money on strip clubs, private planes, and backing candidates who are for government intervention in our lives.

  2. Chairman Mark Fahleson says:

    On behalf of the Nebraska Republican Party, let me say this: we welcome all those who are part of the Tea Party movement to the Nebraska Republican Party. Their issues are our issues. Our state party agrees that our national party lost its moorings during the second term of Bush 43, but we've never strayed from it here in Nebraska. There's only one political party that stands for fiscal responsibility–the Republicans. The other party–the Democrats–is the party of fiscal irresponsibility. Lest ye doubt, the Congressional Budget Office data shows that in 20 months President Obama will add as much to the national debt as Bush 43 ran up in eight years.

    The Kennedys may no longer be at the helm, but the Democratic party still spends like drunken sailors.

  3. A Drunken Sailor says:

    Where's that strip club all the folks at the Republican Party are spending your campaign contributions at?

  4. Uncle Wiggily says:

    What is the next step?

    What are the actual goals, and where are you/they headed.

    Thanks for asking the right questions, Sweeper – at this point, no one seems to have answers for either of those. I hope that changes – soon.

    The Republican establishment is courting the TP folks like they are in heat (see Fahleson's fawn-fest above). It'll be interesting to see how many TPers fall for it.

    The wheels on the bus go round and round …

  5. The Artists formerly known as Dodge Street says:

    Sorry Anonymous, we moved to Council Bluffs (home of the Sexy Massage) for lower taxes, cheaper beer, cheaper cigs, cheaper gas and expanded gambling. Plus we love partying with Darrin Bates.

  6. Party Animal says:

    Wiggy, Chairman Mark is supposed to fawn for this group. The Tea Party Express is owned by the Republican Party. They show up in a venue near you with paid acts, and sell over priced T-shirts with the Tea Party Express logo. The only local people who get a chance to stand at the mic at one of their events are established Republicn pols. Tea Party Express is about as astroturf as it gets.

  7. Majority says:

    I saw a few of our esteemed elected officials out in the crowd. Funny I never did see Tom White or Ian? As far as there being 1500 people, well lets just say that would have been the case when the cops blocked off the park.a

  8. Majority says:

    Party Animal, It's comments like yours that are driving people out of their slumber and getting involved. I hope you have the strength to keep it up until Nov.


  9. Anonymous says:

    Why is no one asking Tom White how he would have voted on these issues of National Health Care, Cap & Trade etc?

  10. GeosUser says:

    Matt "Sad Sak" Sakalosky was on KFAB this morning to clear up attempts by his "campaign staff" to give people the impression he was a sponsor of the tea party event. As Scott Voorhees lobbed softballs at Sad Sak trying to get the guy to explain what being a conservative means and how he would be different from Lee Terry, Sad Sak still has nothing of substance to say. He also got called out for claiming he's the 9/12 project candidate in the race when he isn't. He does want to debate Terry with moderator Joe Jordan running the show but even Lee, no great speaker, would mop the floor with this sham of a candidate. Fortunately he's only spent his own money on the disaster that his campaign continues to be.

  11. MC Chain-E says:

    A GOP homie rapping about free markets with middle aged fly girls in back (I thought the GOP vowed to stop paying for strippers) – This has to be a joke. I just pray that someone recorded Lee Terry trying to clap along like the rest of the crowd who were all looking quite confused by the whole circus. Was anyone there – was it all as silly as it looked in the news stories?

  12. Anonymous says:

    And I thought these patriotic constitutional scholars were protesting the fact the nowhere in our Constitution is the Army authorized to maintain a corps of engineers to build flood control and recreational lakes.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The T-Party is a bit of a problem for the GOP – that's why they have put money into taking it over so that they control what they "stand for" and not have it turn into a Paul/Perot/Nader-situation. They certainly wouldn't want the everyday conservatives not to support thier hand selected candidates.

  14. Tea Party Czar says:

    We stand for less government –
    We want to elect people who will do away with public libraries, police, fire, schools. safe water, regulations, public pools, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, public roads, public sewer, public parks, and all the other ways the government interferes with my life. Lee Terry please hope on the bus and join us in our fight. The time is now.

  15. To Mark says:

    How gracious of Mark Faileson to be willing to let us Tea Partiers into the Republican Party. He just doesn't get it. We are tired of the same old GOP. Bush, McCain, etc. are just more pigs that you put on conservative lipstick and ask us to give money. Then take it a spend it on private jets and lesbian strippers. Enough. It is time for a third party because the other two do not truly represent conservative values.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if Senator Scott L. was there? It was pretty late in the afternoon so he was probable at an Omaha bar trying to decide what silly unconstitutional priority to set next year. Betting on historic horse races? – that's what is most important to our district. Time to vote out that kind of silliness. Let's put in someone that wants to tackle real issues.

  17. Jamie says:

    I love the irony of you criticizing the Republicans for owning private jets to campaign in… Did you notice the Tea Party has a private bus? The humanity! Mostly because they can't afford a jet… You don't understand political science at all if you think a third party is viable in our system.

  18. Jamie says:

    "promotes free markets necessity party."

    i laughed out loud. the tea party express needs to find out which political scientist thought that having a conservative rapper with a tucked in shirt was a good idea. and fire him.

  19. Anonymous says:

    So many are missing the point. Most Republicans have the same views and values as the people flocking to the Tea Party movement.

    The party did lose it's way, not so much in Nebraska but nationally. Candidates are now campaigning on the principles they should have been adhering to.

    The snipping comes because Dems/Libs/GOP bashers/Tea Party Bashers know these people will vote their values. Many new faces will vote these values.

    What Hope and Chage did for democrats in 2008, the uniting around common values will do for a Conservative candidates across the county in 2010. Most being Republicans.

  20. Right Wing Professor says:

    We want to elect people who will do away with public libraries, police, fire, schools. safe water, regulations, public pools, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, public roads, public sewer, public parks, and all the other ways the government interferes with my life.

    This commenter seems to running under some sort of silly illusion that because government has some valid functions, any function of government must be valid.

    Public libraries once made sense. Now, not so much. Social Security is going broke, but not as fast as Medicare. Medicaid is bankrupting the states. I don't know why we have public pools. Many places run sewers as a private utility.

  21. Macdaddy says:

    Their only influence is the threat of sapping significant numbers from the Republicans. We know that the Democrats don't give a crap what the Tea Partiers want so the only party they have influence with is the GOP. A third party is DOA. The challenge for the GOP is to be believable that they will cut government and then they can capture the large percentages of Tea Partiers who are independents and Democrats.

    As to the Tea Party influence, the only way they extend it past this election cycle is to deliver Congress back to the GOP. If they can do that, then it is up to the GOP to deliver on responsible government and the Tea Party will get a chance to influence 2012. Don't deliver, though, and the Tea Party movement won't even be a footnote in a poly sci textbook.

  22. Bud says:

    The only thing missing that I could see that was different from a KKK rally and a Tea party was at least the most of the tea baggers don't wear sheets over their heads.(Maybe that is their night job) I hope all of you GOP people and Tea baggers do come together. Maybe you can join Sean Hannity in praising Tim McVeigh. Because at the rate you are heading that is where you will end up at.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Let the Tea Party continue, the more the GOP is fractured the stronger the "real" Democratic party becomes.

  24. Majority says:

    Bud- Sounds like you have a history with the KKK? Otherwise how would you be able to comment with any authority on how the rally's were similar? Thought so.

    What is interesting about the Tea Party participants is how it is a LOT of women. I also find it interesting the amount of effort being expended by the Left to marginalize the movement. Whether the movement grows or not, sure seems like the Lefty Libs are worried.

    I believe the number of people who affiliate themselves with the Tea Party greatly exceeds those who are married to the Left. I also believe this leaves a whole lot of people in the middle who are leaning to the right. Taking this and the fact there are more Independents and Republicans than there are Left Libs, and I say there is going to be a repeat of the usual mid-term swing against the governing party, plus a bit more.

  25. Da Pop says:

    The GOP, along with the KKK and the T-Baggers, may have more numbers, but look what one man and twelve disciples was able to do in the long run.

  26. Nathan says:

    I hope the TPers can do something about OPPD, MUD, NPPD and any other public (SOCIALIST!!!) utility in this state. I think its outrageous that we enjoy some of the lowest rates in the country, we should be paying more and someone should be making a huge profit off of us!!! I hope the TPers can solve that problem for us.

  27. Bud says:

    No Majority said. I just know the history of America. The KKK was(and is) an anti government movement too. They both want smaller government and less rights for minorities. I know most of you right wingers get your history from Tom Clancy novels and John Wayne movies. But like FOX news they are not very accurate. No matter what the state of Texas says. My favorite part of the Tea baggers is the signs that say keep the government out of my Medicare. That one is a real classic. On the scale of Sara Palin brains.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Don't worry Nathan, your non-partisan Legislature is trying to fix those socialist electric utilities right now. By the time they finish passing all the legislation the lobbyists want to facilitate wind energy production in Nebraska we'll be well on our way to eliminating publicly owned power.

  29. TP says:


    Which party has a former KKK leader as their elder statesman?….Hmmmm? Who is it? Oh, thats right it the democrats with Robert Byrd.

  30. Jamie says:

    You guys need Bob McNamara's advice of "Empathize with your enemy," before you sound even more ignorant. OPPD and MUD are entities of Nebraska, not the federal government.

    Tea Partiers and Reagan Republicans support state rights, so they can make certain industries public. There is more efficiency and more accountability at a state and local level. For example, we elect our neighbors to be MUD members of the MUD Board, they're not some Department of Energy bureaucrat.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Jamie, by the time the lobbyists get done with the Legislature the rules are going to tie the hands of the OPPD and MUD boards.

    Is there someone in the Legislature you think isn't going to listen to the first lobbyist who shows up with a nice campaign contribution check? There isn't anyone in the Legislature from either party who knows a damned thing about the issue. Wind energy legislation is going to be the poison pill that dooms public utilities in Nebraska. ConEd and whoever picked up the pieces from Enron will be raising your electric rates shortly after OPPD and MUD throw in the towel.

  32. Dayton Headlee says:

    I was near Congressman Terry for most of the afternoon and aside from one individual describing himself as the "Tyranny Response Team" (Lee's staffers said that individual shows up to most everything and starts yelling) the response to Lee was overwhelmingly positive. A few naysayers, but the vast majority backed the Congressman.

    Also, the Nebraska Democrat Party had a tracker on location trying to bait Tea Partiers in to regrettable comments…

  33. A Real Democrat says:

    I'm glad to hear Dayton Headlee's report on the NDP's tracking efforts at the tea party. I didn't think they were doing anything.

    It's nice to know they aren't sending their staff out to buy "office supplies" at liquor stores and holding strategy sessions at strip clubs like the Republican Party is doing.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Before ya get on the bus of bagging tea, why don't you figure out who owns it and is using you for their corporate gain?

  35. Anonymous says:

    The Tea Party movement isn't wrapped around a person like Perot or Nader. It isn't a party wrapped around a policy agenda. It is not even a movement toward something.

    Like the original Tea Party, it is a raw expression of the apolitical majority’s natural fear and loathing of their own government.

    Most Tea Partiers believe incumbents of both parties are crooks killing America. That is our entire elected government. And that sentiment is far more serious and unstoppable than any group that is simply pushing this or that politician or policy.

    More and more Americans see our Constitution as circumvented by the power hungry crooks. That which is supposed to keep individual citizens free is now used to empower the crooks that are our government.

    Americans don’t trust America. And that is a lot more scary then America just getting another new political party.

  36. Jamie says:

    What are you talking about? These entities already exist. And like I said, these people are much more responsive to us than those in Washington. If you look at campaign finance for our state senators, the amount they receive from lobbyists and such are significantly less, and they have less money to deal with than Washington ones.

    For example, most Congressional races work in millions of dollars. On our state level, it's rare for a candidate to raise above $50K. There's much less room for lobbying and it's much easier to get politicians we don't like out at a state level. That's the beauty of the 10th amendment.

    BTW there are plenty of senators- Conrad, Dubas, McGill- trying to get wind energy to come to Nebraska (at the expense of farmers and the taxpayers).

  37. Anonymous says:

    I would not equate the Tea Partiers to those in the Boston Tea Party. The British posed a far greater threat to civil liberties than the Democrats do. Don't get me wrong, I don't like Obamacare, but it's not an implosion of our healthcare system. I don't know if such an organized movement is necessary or effective. I do, like the "green" movement, think that it gives people a sense of purpose and belonging.

  38. Bud says:

    TP your right about Senator Byrd. I think he leared from that error. It sounds like he has been trying to make up for it the rest of his life. He is one of the few Dixiecrats who stayed in the Democratic party and he changed as it became a more liberal, progressive, modern party. While the rest of the Dixiecrats like Senator Shelby became GOP and took their corporate world loving ways and merged it with the Dixiecrats social values to make the modern Republican party that exists today. That is why they call the Republican party the party of the solid south or the angry WASP's. If you read Jefferson Davis of 1859 and many Republican party leaders today on this silly nonsense of States Rights you can't see much difference.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Anon 3:42, you don't think Obama's looking out for his buddies' corporate interests? Answer me this: where'd the $3500 billion of the federal budget go? Look around. You see any jobs? You see things getting built? You see anything getting better? That much money ought to make a huge difference. Where is it? Obama's friends' pockets, that's where. But I'm sure you didn't get used when you voted for him. 'Cause he's The One. Naw, his s*** don't stink.

  40. NE Voter says:

    1500 attendees? L-St. is a typical libera manstream media outlet.

    There were at least 1,000,000 sheeple a the Tea Party!

  41. Uncle Wiggily says:

    Like the original Tea Party, it is a raw expression of the apolitical majority’s natural fear and loathing of their own government.

    Everyone, Left, Right, and in the Middle should spend a couple of days meditating on that statement … it is simultaneously the saddest and yet the most perceptive thing I have read in months.

    Maybe it's time to quit chewing off our own appendages and pay some attention to the real enemies of freedom.

  42. Jamie says:

    i honestly don't see how corporate america benefits from the tea party movement. corporations, for the most part, care about bottom line. how do their profits increase from expanding personal liberties and stopping the market favoritism that has been integral in the policies of politicians past?

  43. Original Skeptic says:

    Jamie, Jamie, Jamie… The corporations benefit from the tea party by electing corporate Republicans who give lip service to the tea baggers concerns, but vote for corporate interests. How many of those politicians that keep turning up at the tea party have you seen offer any support for overturning that Supreme Court decision to allow corporations to be "persons" with free speech rights? How many of them have showed any support for regulating the casinos that pretend to be banks who destroyed the economy?

    The corporations are glad to support the tea baggers because they know the crooked politicians the tea baggers are going to get elected will turn out to be corporate shills in the end.

  44. Ricky says:

    No doubt about it the Tea Baggers draw the Republicans to the right and away from the center where the votes are.
    The tea baggers do not represent diversity; almost all whiteys.
    I don't think the Republicans can go on this way with the demographics working against them.
    There is a question of who (whom) is financing this caravan across the US.
    I wonder how the tea baggers feel about making Sarah Palin rich and others making money off the movement?
    When will Rep Terry debate Matt Sakalosky?
    Don't you think Rep Terry owes it to the Republican party to debate Matsak?

  45. Brian T. Osborn says:

    The original Tea Party was a reaction to the King's policy of taxation without representation. If the current T-baggers believe that the corporate shills they could be electing will actually represent the interests of the T-baggers, have I got a bridge in Brooklyn they might be interested in purchasing!

  46. Majority says:

    I believe the Tea Party participants are for the most part normal everyday citizens who have by and large let the body politic do whatever it has wanted to do for the past few decades. However, under the current administration and the economic situation a great number of citizens have awakened from their slumber.

    A majority of the people don't like what they see in DC, or in Obama, and are begining to become active in what is going on in the "Body Politic". I think the near future will see voters doing more of their own research into candidates and NOT voting party line. If those who are running in the next 2 cycles will take the time to engage the casual/sproadic voter they will do well.

    It is my belief both parties encourage candidates to only engage "Perfect" voters. This ends up leaving non-perfect voters (a perfect voter is one who always vote in all elections) left out, to only recieve some mailers. Eventualy these non-perfect voters feel disenfranchised and stop participating. This is why Obama did so well, his organization went and talked to as many people as they could. Of course now there is a lot of buyers remorse.

    Yet mark my word, the people are awakend and they are very, very upset with the whole lot in DC.

    It is these awakend people who are the core of the Tea Party movment and who are watching to see who is doing what.

    Of course there are those on the edeges who are capitalizing on the sentiment in a number of ways, but that is to be expectd. It would be foolish for either party to dismiss the core of the movement and to attempt to marginalize this core group.

    As far as to where the group might bde heade, who said they need a destination. The mere fact they are awake and engaing should be enough motivation for a leader to rise up and show them a way.

    Looking at what the general current of thought is and how most participants identify themselvs, I suspect a conservative Repulican leader will garner the Majority of the movements support. This movement has a LOT of independents, a fair number of conservative democrats, and of course republicans. All said and done a large Majority of American's participating in politics the next 2 cycles will vote for Republican candidates.

    Much like the oft used Phrase, there is a Perfect Storm Brewing, and heaven help those caught up in it.

  47. Jamie says:

    The Tea Party supports the restrictions on corporations being lifted because they think that it's a matter of principle: people earn money, they should have the discretion with what to do with it. And the Supreme Court, which accepts no money from lobbying, agrees with that idea. That has nothing to do with corporate corporations and slimy politicians, but the idea of free choice.

    And the tea party opposes regulation because it's a typically ineffective way of controlling the economy and is simply a way for politicians to favor the businesses they own stock in.

    Take the tea party's Marco Rubio, for example. He's for deregulation because it's led to huge economic expansion in the 80s. Not because he is accepting money from corporations. In fact, 95% of his money is coming straight from households, mostly in Flordia.

  48. Macdaddy says:

    Original Skeptic,

    There is no bigger corporate shill than Obama. He's already given Big Pharma a pass on drug costs as well as a nice big gift on behalf of seniors through Medicaid drug coverage. He's given insurance companies a clear shot at 50 million new customers. He's given banks billions upon billions of dollars with no strings attached. He owns two whole car companies. He's for Cap and Tax which will cement advantages for favored businesses while killing others who probably didn't give enough scratch to the Democrats. But keep telling yourself that you aren't been bamboozled.

  49. Anonymous says:

    I'm not hearing the same thing you are Macdaddy. It sounds to me like some of Dick Cheney's goons are water boarding the poor fool. Those illegal wire taps are a lot more dangerous to your liberty than Obama's health care bill.

  50. Anonymous says:

    To April 3rd 10:46PM: Point made. Point taken. I didn't vote Obama or his Goldman Sachs buds.

    It remains, tea baggers are still getting on the bus supporting the same kind of corporate interest indicative of both sides though some are more disguised as grassroots patriotism. That is what truly stinks, yet is superb marketing heavily bankrolled.

  51. Bud says:

    Hey right wingers. It is spring cleaning time. Time to to go to the Tea party Pawn shop and get a good trade on old sheets, hoods, swastikas, hate signs, and simple signs; like the ones that say keep the government out of our medicare. Plus I hear you can get Glenn Beck crying towels 10 cents on the dollar. I am sure you can get some Dick Cheney water boarding tools listed under children's tools. Plus there are some real collector items at the Tea Party pawn shop. G. Gordon Liddy bugging devices that go back to the Watergate scandal days. An Oliver North bible when he took the oath to defend the constitution that he violated during the Iran Contra days. I am sure all of the good old days scandals remind you of the fun times the right wing has had abusing the USA. But don't worry you still have people like Senator Colburn and his dislike of the poor and those with out jobs. And don't forget Sean Hannity with his fake charity. Enjoy your spring cleaning right wingers you got a lot dirt in that house on C street.


  52. Anonymous says:

    Democrats hold all federal power in Washington and they are passing Obama's bills.

    So why are people like Bud here spewing hate toward powerless Republicans? Toward tea partiers, etc? Especially after Bud prefaced his hate speech by accusing the powerless of being hateful?

    Apparently the love-fest leftwingers are famous for is really just incest with other leftwingers.

    Save some of your hate for after election day. You are going to need it.

  53. Anonymous says:

    Bud, it must have really caused you some heartburn to read about the latest Gallup/USA Today poll that showed that Tea Partiers represent a cross-section of America.

    Gallup reported that Tea Partiers were decidedly conservative and Republican. "In several other respects, however — their age, educational background, employment status, and race — Tea Partiers are quite representative of the public at large."

    Gee, what's more reliable? Gallup's sceintific polling or Bud's wholly unscientific supposition filtered through his obviously deep-seated hatred of conservatives and Republicans? I'm going with Gallup on this one.

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