published Sunday, April 17th, 2011

Tea party draws about 100 to tax day rally

Chilly winds whipping across Ross’ Landing on Saturday couldn’t compete with the fiery rhetoric as supporters of the Chattanooga Tea Party gathered for their third annual Tax Day Rally.

“This is a fight for the heart and soul of this country,” said U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., of the movement to cut government spending and lower taxes.

Fleischmann was one of a troop of speakers who decried big government and the scale of the national debt. Tea party groups across the nation held rallies keyed around the annual income tax filing day.

The past two Chattanooga rallies have drawn thousands of tea partiers, but Saturday’s drew about 100. Mark West, president of the Chattanooga Tea Party, said numbers were lower because Friday’s storms forced the event to be rescheduled at the last minute.

“This isn’t really reflective of our numbers, which are just continuing to grow,” West said.

Attendees carried signs bearing messages such as “Yes we can can Obama” and “No compromise with tyranny!” Some wore shirts with the slogan “Don’t Tread on Me.”

Eileen Gerbasi said she moved to Signal Mountain from California two years ago, primarily to be in an area where people share her conservative values.

“I love being with people who value their country, freedom and faith,” Gerbasi said. “Right now I’m just trying to educate young people about those values.” Gerbasi said she gave all her nieces and nephews copies of the Constitution for Christmas last year.

Speakers included Star Parker, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Urban Renewal and Education, and longtime conservative activist Richard Viguerie.

“Where have you been? I’ve been waiting for you for 50 years,” Viguerie said as the audience erupted into applause.

Harold Coker, former chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party, said he welcomes the tea party’s criticism that Republicans traditionally have been too comfortable with government spending.

“I think we need to be chastised, I think we need to be rattled,” Coker said. “I think Republicans lost their way over the years and we’re finally realizing just what’s at stake.”

West said that though the tea party — now in its third year — saw great success in last November’s elections, the group still has a long way to go as it develops a strategy to influence local and national politics.

“There’s a lot of pressure for politicians to go to D.C. and forget about the promises they made to their people in their district,” he said in an interview. “Our goal is to keep those leaders focused on the issues that got them elected.”

Bob Tuke, former chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, said that though he thinks tea partiers’ beliefs about smaller government are misguided, he’s happy they’re rallying.

“That’s what democracy’s about. We’ll be out there doing the same thing in November 2012, and we’ll beat them,” Tuke said.

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nucanuck said...

I'm waiting for the Tea Party to speak to priorities. When they tell me that education, universal health care, and Social Security are more imprtant to our country's well being than a bloated $1.2 billion military/security complex scattered all over the world, then I will begin to listen to them.

The world's most admired countries, the world's happiest countries, all have several things in common...strong education, health care for all, a national retirement plan, and a fair tax system.

Are those the goals of the Tea Party?

April 17, 2011 at 1:27 a.m.
librul said...

And many of those "happy countries" have governments and societies which embrace the principles of socialism because their people recognize that happiness is not embodied in obscene wealth and material excess sustained by policies that denigrate workers, starve the poor and shutter the indigent.

The Republican-Tea Party autocrats in Congress like Paul Ryan and Michelle Bachman think they can improve American life by robbing retirees of their Social Security, taking away access to health care from those who need it the most while wasting trillions of tax dollars on multiple unwinnable wars. Wars that are self-sustaining only in the sense that they create whole generations of people whose greatest desire is to destroy America as payback for what we have been doing to them since WWII.

I'm waiting for the pitiful pawns on the riverfront to wake up to the fact that THEY are considered expendable by billionaires like the Koch brothers who laugh at them and would squash them like bugs to get what they want.

April 17, 2011 at 11:07 a.m.
EaTn said...

Wow, over 100 tea partiers. Sounds like the party is about over. Most Americans have took a second or third look and decided they like good ole American coffee better.

April 17, 2011 at 4:23 p.m.
ceeweed said...

Hey EaTn, I like 100% Columbian but I concur otherwise.

April 17, 2011 at 8:52 p.m.
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