Tags: tea | party | surge | dc | obama | washington

Tea Party Prepares Anti-Obama 'Surge' in D.C.

Monday, 15 Mar 2010 07:45 PM

By David A. Patten

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Like two heavyweight fighters slugging it out in a battle royal, President Obama and tea party activists will square off once again Tuesday, as grass-roots activists host a "We the People Surge" in the nation's capital in protest of the massive planned overhaul of U.S. healthcare.

Some tea party leaders expect 10,000 to 15,000 protesters. Others believe the crowd will be even larger.

The rally comes at a critical time. The debate over healthcare reform has become the focus of national attention, with Democratic leaders proclaiming again and again that they're closing in on the votes they need to cram the legislation through Congress without subjecting it to a Republican filibuster in the Senate. They would do so via the controversial parliamentary maneuver known as reconciliation.

Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., tells Newsmax that healthcare reform is far from a done deal, despite the administration's statements to the contrary.

Editor's Note: See the exclusive Newsmax video interview with Rep. Jack Kingston here

"I think we can still stop it, but there are all kinds of backroom deals going on, lots of arm-twisting," he told Newsmax in an exclusive interview.

The legislation's unpopularity with voters appears to be growing, according to recent polls. A Rasmussen Reports poll released Monday indicates that 53 percent of voters oppose the Democratic plan, compared to 43 who think it's a good idea.

One of the major obstacles still standing in the president's way: The same relentless tea-party activists who knocked President Obama's legislative agenda off course last summer during the disputatious town hall meetings.

Planning for the tea party "surge" began a week ago, when various tea party organizations blasted their e-mail lists with news of a "code red rally" in Washington, D.C.

Speakers at the event are expected to include Rep. Mike Pence, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Rep. Joe Wilson, and Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity.

Americans for Prosperity is also calling for a "Honk Against the Healthcare Takeover Rally." Its leaders are encouraging voters to drive to their local congressional offices on noon Tuesday, and honk their automobile horns to express their opposition to the president's proposals.

In Washington, the crowd Tuesday also will hear from one of the original tea-party organizers, Amy Kremer. She serves as grassroots coordinator for the Tea Party Express and is co-founder of the American Grassroots Coalition.

"President Obama thought the grass roots had become complacent," Kremer told Newsmax in an exclusive interview. "We're absolutely not complacent. We're turning up the heat and we think it's important that we continue this pressure for as long as we need to. Whether it be another week, another two weeks, a month – however long it takes, we're not going to back down from this."

Kremer says anyone counting out the grass roots' ability to prevail is making a major error.

"The tea party is the reason that this healthcare legislation has not already been passed," she says. "We're the reason it's been held off this long. It's a victory for the people and the tea party movement, because they wanted to have this legislation passed last June. And it's because of the pressure from us — the rallies, the townhalls, the letters, the calls, the faxes — they have not been able to do this."

Tuesday's rally will begin at 10 a.m. at Taft Park just north of the U.S. Capitol. But the tea party activists aren't assuming that their voices will carry all the way to Capitol Hill. So they tell Newsmax they'll be flooding congressional offices in large numbers, in an effort to make themselves heard.

"We're going to be literally putting people in to the halls of Congress," Everett Wilkinson, a leadership-council member of the Tea Party Patriots and the head of South Florida Tea Party Patriots, tells Newsmax. "As soon as they get off the buses, they're going to be pushed into the congressional buildings.

"And we hope to just keep filling the buildings up with people, so that the congressmen have to see people there, the staff will see people there. I liken it to the idea that it's easier for a robber to steal stuff when people are away.
It's very tough for a robber to steal things when people are at home," he says.

One activist making the long trip to Washington to attend the We The People Surge is Jason Hoyt, co-host of the Tea Party Patriots Live radio program produced in Florida.

"I just don't want to wake up the day after the vote wishing I had done more," Hoyt tells Newsmax. "That's why I'm going."

Hoyt concedes that politicians in Washington don't seem to be listening to the will of the voters. But he believes that could change.

"The more people know about it, the more they hear about the shenanigans, the negotiations, the backroom deals, the more people are going to be upset about it, and hopefully engage their representatives and call them," he says.

Hoyt's optimism that there's still time to block Obamacare appeared justified Monday afternoon, when Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., announced he would vote against the legislation because it is "too expensive" and "tries to do too much too soon." McIntyre previously had voted against the legislation, but the White House had hoped to flip his vote.

Just last week, President Obama delayed a planned trip to Asia so he could be on hand to continue to influence the debate and twist the arms needed to gain a few more votes in the House.

"My advice to the president would be go on the trip," Wilkinson said, "because I don't think you're going to get your bill passed anyway."

Hoyt said his fellow tea party activists are recruiting political candidates committed to reversing the 2,000-page plus legislation. "We say if 'You're not outraged, you're not paying attention.' I want to see which candidates out there are upset about what's going on, and then I want to know what are they willing to do about it?" he said.

Editor's Note: See the exclusive Newsmax video interview with Rep. Jack Kingston here


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