News Story

Tea Party Saboteurs

Michigan's Tea Party organizers say they are prepared if a national Web site follows through on its plans to infiltrate the limited-government movement and portray it in a negative light.

The Web site,, is advertising that it will infiltrate the Tea Party movement and "exaggerate their least appealing qualities (misspelled protest signs, wild claims in TV interviews, etc.)."

The Web site calls the Tea Party movement a "loose affiliation of racists, homophobes, and morons ..."

The threat to pose as obnoxious Tea Partiers has drawn national media attention, since there will be Tea Party protests all over the country on Thursday. Michigan will have dozens of protests throughout the state.

There were a handful of anti-Tea Party protesters in Lansing and Clinton Township at the Tea Party Express rallies this past weekend, but none of the interactions got out of hand.

Glenn Clark, a member of the Oakland County Tea Party group, who has organized many rallies, said he takes claims seriously.

Clark said he's told people who have shown up at past rallies with signs depicting President Barack Obama with a Hitler mustache that they were not welcome.

"I pointed to the sidewalk and said, 'You have a right to be here, but you are not welcome here,'" said Clark, who will be at the rally Thursday at the Royal Oak Post Office.

"If they use any profanity, I'll call the police," Clark said. "I'll file a police report myself."

Wendy Day, founder of Common Sense in Government, confronted a group of Michigan State University students at one of her rallies at the state Capitol in February. The students didn't try to hide their affiliation for more funding for education. One of the students shouted profanities into a megaphone at the Tea Partiers.

"You have to be vigilant and have video cameras ready to go," Day said. "There is not much to do to prevent it."

Most Tea Partiers don't intend to be offensive. Day said she's only had to ask one Tea Party member to take down what she considered to be an inappropriate sign and that person didn't resist.

Day called attempts to disrupt Tea Party protests "unfortunate."

"But it's typical leftist behavior," Day said. "They have no moral compass guiding them."

It's not hard to spot far-left protesters trying to pose as Tea Partiers.

"It takes about 30 seconds — they cannot hold their tongue," Day said. "They'll blow their cover by being angry."

Day said it's up to the mainstream media to be ethical and realize that there is a national effort to discredit the Tea Party movement that has now been reported upon.

Tina Dupont, who has organized rallies for the Tea Party of West Michigan, said they have plans for how to deal with people who try to disrupt the protests by being obnoxious.

"We've had rumors for every event we've ever had that people will show up and do stuff like this, but they never have," Dupont said. "If they manage to make themselves look like us, it might play well in the national media. But we would be out in a heartbeat everywhere else saying it wasn't us. I don't think it would be very successful."

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.