Maybe the “spontaneous” Tea Party political movement already is running out of steam.
An estimated 3,000 people — mostly suburbanites — descended on downtown Cincinnati’s Fountain Square last month for a Tea Party protest on Tax Day, part of a series of events aimed at expressing anger over President Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus package and alleged out-of-control government spending.—-
A month earlier, at the first local Tea Party, crowd estimates at the square ranged from 4,000 to 5,000 people.
So far, though, only 256 people have been confirmed to attend Friday’s event in West Chester Township, according to organizers.
A Tea Party-endorsed community meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Room 116 at the Miami University campus at Voice of America Park. Keynote speaker will be Springfield Township resident Mike Wilson, the leader of the local movement.
Organized by a West Chester community group called American Junto, Friday’s event is described as a discussion about “methods to involve their neighborhoods and families in the Tea Party movement.”
The West Chester group takes its name from the original Junto, a club established in 1727 by Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia. Also known as the Leather Apron Club, its purpose was to debate questions of morals, politics, and business.
On its Web site, the local group describes its mission as seeking “to develop idealogy (sic) and methods for change which focus on mankind's right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness — the great common denominator of every American — rights we fear are currently eroding in the name of progress.”
Tea Party leaders are trying to inspire followers to greater activity during the next few months, dubbing it “the Summer of Freedom.”
A Tea Party Parade has been announced in Madeira on May 31, but details haven’t been released.
Also, Wilson’s group recently issued a press release about the troubles faced by a national leader of the Tea Party movement.
News accounts revealed that Michael Patrick Leahy, who helped organize Tea Parties nationwide, had amassed more than $150,000 in state and federal tax liens, small claims court judgments, and civil lawsuits.
Wilson downplayed Leahy’s connection to the effort, stating, “The Tea Party movement has thousands of individuals in hundreds of cities across the country who can claim the same mantle of leadership as Mike Leahy. While we believe that the overall tax rate should be lowered, we do not condone nonpayment of taxes that were lawfully enacted. The Tea Party movement is much bigger than one individual and those who paint it as such are at best, uninformed, or at worst, lying.”
On the local Tea Party Web site, Wilson has a blog where he expounds on various issues. In a recent item, he wrote that ex-Vice President Dick Cheney, a Republican, had more integrity than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat.
“Like him or not, Dick Cheney is someone willing to stand on his principles and lead,” Wilson wrote. “Nancy Pelosi, like nearly all the politicians in Congress, are craven political opportunists that will say what they need to say to get one more vote than their opponent.
“This is why the Cincinnati Tea Party is about principles instead of party,” he added. “We need more leaders like Dick Cheney who are willing to say what they believe regardless of the electoral consequences.”
“We need more leaders like Dick Cheney.” Yes, this movement is destined for greatness, indeed.
Question for the day: Why did local conservative leaders roundly criticize then-Cincinnati City Councilman Christopher Smitherman for having his young son testify in 2005 on a proposal to restrict the use of Tasers on children, calling it exploitative, but it’s acceptable for Wilson’s young son to carry the flag and lead the protest march at the April Tea Party?