News Story

Tea Party Express Stops at Capitol

Fresh off the retirement of Bart Stupak, the Michigan congressman who became the face of tea party wrath over the federalized health care bill, the national Tea Party Express rolled into Lansing on Satuday and was met by about 1,800 people.

The tea partiers waited 70 minutes as the event ended at 10:25 p.m. The bus arrived at 8:25 p.m.

Mark Williams, chairman of the Tea Party Express, praised the crowd for being part of the "tsunami" of activism set off since the health care bill passed. Stupak, a Democrat U.S. Congressman from Menominee, cast a critical vote in support of the health care bill that outraged the tea party movement. Stupak announced Friday that he is retiring.

"The fact that you were able to bring down the President's water boy on health care .. you brought him down!" Williams told the cheering crowd. "All eyes are on Michigan. You have infected the whole country."

The Tea Party Express is a 90-plus minute show with speakers and performers.

There are good and bad jokes, and campy music songs tied to political themes.

One of the better jokes was a speaker who praised the cash for clunkers program where people were given government-incentives to turn in older cars for new, more fuel-efficient cars. He said it got 75 percent of the pro-Obama bumper stickers off the road.

Joan Fabiano, a Holt tea party activist, was one of the night's speakers. She led the crowd in "Take Michigan back!" chants.

The Tea Party Express concludes the Michigan leg of its trip at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Civic Center Park & Historical Village in Clinton Township, located at 40700 Romeo Plank Road.

Many who came on Saturday in Lansing said they couldn't sit still any longer.

"I've lost faith in government," said John Kirsch of Brighton. "I lost faith in them being able to control spending. Everything is being regulated. You can't keep spending more than you bring in. Eventually, the whole economy collapses."

"I don't think most of our politicians are really hearing the message yet," Kirsch said. "I hope the voters will take this to heart."

Hilda Kirsch of Brighton said she'd never been to a tea party event before Saturday's event in Lansing.

"I never thought I would turn political," Hilda said. "But I did. It's worth fighting for - our America."

Veronica Finch of Pinckney said the tea party rallies will hopefully open some eyes.

"Hopefully, somebody will listen to the taxpayers," Finch said."The voting booth is the only option we have at this point. We have to vote in November."


Previous coverage:

Stupak Targeted by Tea Party Express - March 31

Associated Press: Tea Parties are "A Lot of Noise" and "No Muscle" - April 6

Tea Partiers Take Credit for Stupak's Retirement - April 10

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.