In Kansas, Tea Party issues warning to Republicans

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May 19th, 2011

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Kansas City, KS – On Tuesday, Tea Partiers laid the foundation for their election strategy in 2012. And they’re basing it in the Heartland. At a conference in Kansas City, the group detailed plans for the party’s first major convention – the Freedom Jamboree to be hosted in Kansas City in September.

The empty Woodlands Race Park will become the site for the Freedom Jamboree in September of this year. (Photo by Lindsey Peterson)

A small crowd of about 20 Tea Party supporters gathered in the defunct Woodland Horse Park parking lot Tuesday as they waited to hear from a list of politicians and grassroots organizers about their plans for 2012. Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, spoke first. Kobach is renowned for his authoring of the controversial anti-illegal immigration bill in Arizona, which drew cheers from the crowd at its mention.

Kobach praised the Tea Party for choosing Kansas City to host their upcoming Freedom Jamboree in the fall. Kobach said it’s Kansas that hosted many previous historic moments, including the Populist Movement which drove one 19th century author to pen a famous editorial titled, “What’s The Matter with Kansas?”

Kansas Sec. of State, Kris Kobach, addresses a crowd of Tea Party supporters. (Photo by Lindsey Peterson)

“Nothing’s the matter with Kansas,” said Kobach. “It just happens to be that this sort of Midwestern brand of common sense has been in place where many important things have begun.”

Tea Party Founding Fathers chair and organizer for the Freedom Jamboree, William Temple, took a more aggressive approach. Wearing a full colonial costume, and sometimes speaking in an Irish or British accent, Temple took aim at Republicans he calls “R.I.N.O.”s, or “Republicans In Name Only.” Temple said one issue will make or break the support for current Republican representatives.

“First and foremost, what did you do about the national debt? If you opposed the raising the debt ceiling, you are not a R.I.N.O., but a patriot,” said Temple. But he went on to warn current legislators.

William Temple of Tea Party Founding Fathers cheers along with speakers. (Photo by Lindsey Peterson)

“If you voted to raise it without demanding and securing the elimination [of] “Obamacare”, the fixing [of]Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and cutting of half of discretionary spending…we will fulfill our promise to find candidates to replace each and every one of you in every state in the primaries next year.”

Pastor C. L. Bryant, Director of the Tea Party Founding Fathers, said the American people do not want to see change. He said Republican House Speaker Boehner is a potential “R.I.N.O.” Addressing the crowd about Boehner, he said the Tea Party did not give him, “the seat that you hold, and the gavel that you wield to play nice with this administration. We gave you the gavel and the big stick to use it. There’s no use to having a big stick if you’re not going to swing it.”

Bryant and Temple say the momentum found in 2010 is fragile and they say Tea Party supporters must remain vigilant and visible in order to garner votes for 2012. In 2010, 40 Tea Party-backed candidates won in the House of Representatives and five won in the U.S. Senate.

Pastor C.L. Bryant says House Speaker John Boehner was not put in office to "play nice." (Photo by Lindsey Peterson)

Organizers including Bryant and Temple speculated anywhere from 300,000 to over a million people could be expected to fill the empty racetrack in September for the Freedom Jamboree. Temple was pleased with Tuesday’s supporter turnout, though considerably less than what’s expected for September.

Temple says the goals of the Tea Party are to bring their candidates all the way to the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August of 2012. The Democratic National Convention will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina in September of next year.

The Tea Party Founding Fathers and other activists are optimistic that their message will be sent loud and clear this September, when supporters come to Kansas City and join in on what Temple sees as nothing less than a revolution.

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