Hartford was one of the last stops on the tour for the Tea Party Express, a caravan of entertainers and speakers making their way from Sacramento, California to Washington D.C. for tomorrow’s big Tea Party.
Standing in the pouring rain for hours Friday an estimated 1,500 “Tea Party Patriots” gathered on the north steps of the state Capitol and participated in the movement that opposes increased federal spending and government-run health insurance.
Lloyd Marcus kicked off the rally Friday with his own rendition of “New York, New York.” Click the play arrow to watch Marcus and the kick line.
“We’re here to protest. We’re not here to be an angry mob,” Mark Williams, vice co-chairman of the Tea Party Express and radio host back in Sacramento, told the crowd as he warmed them up for the performers and speakers who followed.
“We’re broke so let’s buy a Lexus. Makes no sense at all,” he said speaking about the federal stimulus package.
When he mentioned U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson who shouted “You Lie!” after the president said no illegal immigrants would be covered under the health care bill, the crowd outside the Capitol Friday erupted in cheers.
“What he said is absolutely true,” Williams said. “Illegal aliens will be covered by Obamacare.”
Deborah Johns, vice co-chairman of the Tea Party Express, said “love your country and question your government.” She thanked the crowd for going out to the health care town halls and tea parties because it “has put a stop to the Obamacare.”
“Our work isn’t finished yet, but you got the president to come out and speak on Wednesday night and I saw an angry president. I saw a frustrated president,” Johns said. “I also support Congressman Joe Wilson.”
She said the government should be looking at tort reform, Medicare fraud controls, allowing insurance companies to sell across state lines, and “stop giving health care to illegal aliens.”
As for the president, “I do not want a president who goes around the world and apologizes for America,” John’s said.
While the members of the Tea Party Express ran most of the show Friday, the crowd did get an opportunity to hear from two former state senators.
“Hear me well. Our very way of life is under attack. Our very way of life is under attack and we need to fight back,” former state Sen. Tom Scott, who lead the 1991 rally against the income tax, said.
One of Connecticut’s leading conservative voices of the past three decades, Scott talked about the nerve of politicians in Washington D.C. to tell us they know how our lives ought to be run.
“We work about five months a year just to pay our taxes at every level,” Scott said. “That’s enough thank you very much.”
Turning to specific politicians, Scott said, “Connecticut owes more to America than Chris Dodd.”
Scott was fired from WELI-AM in 2008 after he participated in a controversial interview with Dodd, which never aired, but can be heard here.
Former state Sen. Joseph Markely preceded Scott saying “What I’d like government to do is leave me alone.”
Markley also commented on Dodd’s reelection campaign in 2010 saying, “If we can’t get rid of Chris Dodd next year then we don’t deserve to be in America.”
There were no counter protesters at the Capitol Friday, but at least two residents who believe in universal health care stopped by the rally to see just how far some of the Tea Party Patriots were willing to go to get the government out of their lives.
Armed with a poster-board petition David Desiderato and Matthew Brockman wanted to know how many were willing to end Medicare and get government completely out of health care. In about 15-minutes the two said they collected more than two dozen signatures.
“It’s blind ideology,” Desiderato said.
Brockman said protesters were looking to protect the private health insurance companies, which don’t protect their needs.
Desiderato estimated that without Medicare people would be paying more than $30,000 a year in the private insurance market, which is not something many over the age of 65 could afford.
Click here to watch CT Bob’s footage of a counter protester in Bridgeport who drowns out Ann Coulter with Ray Charles’ rendition of America the Beautiful.