Report from Arkansas Tea Party Protest (Updated!)

Click for more photos
Click for more photos

Sounds like the Arkansas Tea Party demonstration on Saturday to protest government bail-outs and other federal fiscal shenanigans was a rousing success.

The event, spearheaded by the Central Arkansas Campaign for Liberty, was scheduled to coincide with a big money fundraiser kicking off Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s 2010 reelection campaign, with Vice-President Joe Biden the special guest, along with just about every Democratic elected official in Arkansas, I guess. (Blake Rutherford attended the Lincoln/Biden event and posts a report here; Rep. Steve Harrelson’s blog, Under the Dome, has photos.)

Let’s turn it over to Arkansas Project regular Fourche River Rex for an on-the-spot report (promoted from comments section of previous post):

I went down to the demonstration, to get my fair share of abuse.

Well, no real abuse, but there were plenty of police cars about and a helicopter flying around. I’d guestimate the attendance at around 200 or so. Peaceful crowd, folks holding signs, trying to get cars to honk in support, which they did. A couple of fat cat Democrats came through and tried to intimidate…not that respecting individual freedoms is something the Dems are known for, so no suprise there.

A good, mixed crowd. Very few regular Republican types which was good. This was more driven by the Campaign for Liberty than anyone. If the Republican Party of Arkansas or anyone of that stripe tries to lay claim to this, they are liars. This was truly a citizen driven event (okay, and the media folks that drove it).

If you couldn’t find this protest, you prolly have no business driving a car because it was all over the place [Ed. note: A couple of erroneous early reports to the blog on Saturday suggested that the protest may have fizzled. Not sure how they missed it — DK]. It was spread out, but you couldn’t miss the signs. Yes, it was actually in front of the state house convention center.

Two hundred people strikes me as a pretty phenomenal turn-out for this kind of thing, especially in Little Rock. You can check out more photos of the event here. (Let’s stipulate that the lady with the handmade “Castro, Hitler, Hussein!” signs did the organizers no favor with the hysterical and inapt attempt at historical analogies. Fortunately, that nonsense appears to have been kept to a minimum, based on the available photos.)

At a first glance, I’m not seeing much in the way of media coverage of the event just yet, but I understand some TV cameras were on scene to capture the moment, so I’ll add links and video if I find them. (This FOX 16 news report on the Lincoln/Biden fundraiser does mention the protest, but offers no visuals.)

If you’ve got additional reports, file ’em in the comments section.

UPDATE: More national attention for the Arkansas protest as Glenn Reynolds of the mighty Instapundit blog turns his spotlight westward.

And here’s a report on the protest from KARK/Channel 4 that I’d missed previously.

Meanwhile, this story on the Lincoln/Biden event in the the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette doesn’t mention the fact that a 200-person strong protest was occurring outside. But interestingly, when the ADG covered Vice President Dick Cheney’s fundraiser in Arkansas for Asa Hutchinson’s ill-fated gubernatorial campaign in 2006 (I was spokesman for that campaign), the story noted that “a dozen or so anti-war protesters” were on the scene. And when Cheney returned to Little Rock in November 2007 to raise money for the state Republican Party, the ADG story included this touch of local color:

A lone protester, Jim Dawson of Vilonia, stood at Scott and Fourth streets, holding a painted plywood sign which read: “Treason 9-11 Murder.”

The protester’s dog slept on the sidewalk next to the sign.

Make of that what you will. Perhaps if the tea party protesters had thought to bring a dog, they’d have gotten a little notice from the statewide daily newspaper.

UPDATE: More demonstrations scheduled around Arkansas on Tax Day, April 15. Click here for more information.

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21 thoughts on “Report from Arkansas Tea Party Protest (Updated!)

  • March 15, 2009 at 6:37 am
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    It was a great event. The crowd included democrats, republican, and libertarians who nice and considerate to all who walked by, on both sides of the street. There were some visitors to Little Rock who walked by and asked, “who is Senator Lincoln”? The people whom I heard answer that question did so with the utmost dignity that I myself would not have used. There appeared to never be a traffic jam from the “Arkansas Tea Party.” The traffic flowed well, considering a function in the Peabody and the Strong-Man Competition in the State House Convention Center.

    The gathering was there in operation between 4:00 and 6:30. Of course, with these “Arkansas Tea Partiers,” Senator Lincoln and Vice-President made a hasty detour to enter through the back of the building to avoid their constituencies. Shame on Senator Lincoln for avoiding her constituents. This act shall probably not do her well in the upcoming elections, next year.

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  • March 15, 2009 at 9:10 am
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    It is about time that we go back to the principal of Government of,for and by the people, instead of the current government of, for and by the government.
    It started out that each state took care of themselves and the government was this little entity in D.C.
    We have nobody to blame for the government takeover of the indivigual states but ourselves! We let it happen under the pretence of the government taking care of us.
    Now they are in the process of taking care of US into the poor house!

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  • March 15, 2009 at 10:42 am
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    My representative didn’t even read the ‘Stimulus Bill’ it was like something that was irrelevant and didn’t really matter much. The largest giveaway of tax dollars in the Nations history and our Representatives didn’t have the time to read it, why do we have such people? Government is no longer the tame servant but has become something else that is getting very scary, we have to rein this thing in and those that have debased the Republic. They have put on the regal cloak of the aristocracy, they are now something other than the servants, they are aspiring to be the rulers.

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  • March 15, 2009 at 12:08 pm
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    Wouldn’t it have been much more effective to have tried to boil your concerns with Sen. Lincoln down into a few “prosecutorial-style” questions designed to difficult for her to answer, and then have tried to go to her event and ask her those questions? Video of her response could then be uploaded to Youtube.

    So:
    1. Do you conduct a street protest that will have no impact on what she does whatsoever,
    2. Discredit her on video for everyone on Youtube to see.

    Obviously, the second is better. So, why are your leaders only promoting the first option?

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  • March 15, 2009 at 12:29 pm
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    Hey 24AheadDotCom, do you want to donate 600-1200 bucks for plates to get a small group of us in to the next event?

    Don’t get me wrong. Initially, your idea is EXACTLY what I wanted to do.

    I see what we’ve done, the exposure we’ve gotten, and our commitment to continued action as a rousing success. I’m sorry that you do not.

    There are more events on the way. Check us out. Check out our calendar. Central Arkansas Campaign for Liberty. http://ronpaul.meetup.com/162

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  • March 15, 2009 at 1:48 pm
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    First off they are not my leaders, and 2 talking to a politician is like hitting your head against the wall, it hurts and get nothing done at all!

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  • March 15, 2009 at 1:50 pm
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    In responce to ron norman: It is like I said, It used to be government of, for and by the people but not it has evolved into government of, for and by the government!

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  • March 15, 2009 at 2:17 pm
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    “talking to a politician is like hitting your head against the wall”

    That’s definitely the spirit! Just as long as you want to turn into Venezuela or similar.

    If anyone understands the bit about “petitioning the government” and wants to do something actually effective, form a local group to come up with questions and find someone qualified to ask them, such as a trial lawyer.

    See washingtonstakeout.com for examples of someone asking politicians semi-difficult questions.

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  • March 15, 2009 at 3:49 pm
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    I noticed on the previous post that one of the commenters said he was one of the organizers with Central Arkansas Campaign for Liberty, a Ron Paul support group. Then he mentions an upcoming anti-war rally. If you go to his meetup site, turns out the anti-war rally is sponsored by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition – which is mostly a hodge-podge of leftist & socialist groups. Pretty peculiar combination there, don’t you think?

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  • March 15, 2009 at 4:06 pm
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    Thanks for the information about the tea party and for the note about the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s selectivity in mentionin protesters. Yesterday I received a letter from the ADG saying that, because I am in an “outlaying” county, my subscription will rise to $17 per month. Seemed a little high to me, even if I am in an outlying county. But the ADG’s failure to mention the central Arkansas tea party in either the front page news story about Blanche’s moneyfest or the one about spending the pork in Arkansas indicates that the news part of the paper really is worth nothing.

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  • March 15, 2009 at 6:48 pm
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    Hey ConservativeArkie, would you like to meet me? I’m against the war. So are thousands of veterans. We’re hosting the rally if you’re interested in attending. There is no poison or ulterior motive in doing so. If you’re skeptical, how about you attend one of our meetings and learn what we’re all about? I’ll gladly answer any question you have for me. Ask away. I love my country and I love the constitution. It’s why I do what I do.

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  • March 15, 2009 at 6:55 pm
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    To 24AheadDotCom: Hey man, I had the idea of infiltrating the dinner, asking a tough question or two, and getting it all on video a couple weeks ago, but not the funding to do so. It’s a great idea and something I definitely want to do in the future. There will be future opportunities and as we grow we will do it.

    I’d appreciate direct contact with you. Any help you’d like to contribute to make something like this happen is welcome. We’ll do whatever we can with whatever resources we have.

    On another note, I wouldn’t question for a second the effectiveness or the publicity of the rally we put on. The rally was a rousing success. There should be no question of that. Thanks to everyone who came out. I look forward to working with you all again in the future. Please check out our calendar.

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  • March 16, 2009 at 9:57 am
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    And I thought the lefties were nuts….

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  • March 16, 2009 at 2:03 pm
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    I attended this event with other Campaign for Liberty & Secure Arkansas supporters, and it was a GREAT turnout! The media downplayed the rousing success of it(as with all events with which they don’t agree). Looks like we had as many protesters against the Delta Duchess (Blanche Lincoln) and her agenda as she had at her campaign fundraiser! Looking forward to the Tea Party on April 15!

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  • March 24, 2009 at 9:21 pm
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    Have you ever listened to Blanche Lncoln answering a question? She does the usual liberal jabberwocky beat-around-the-bush thing, and does it very well indeed. Furthermore, do you really think the media present at the fund-raiser would have reported any non-softball-type question/answer?

    My family rang her phone off the hook urging her not to vote for the stimulus. I know a lot of you did, too. She didn’t listen. WE HAVE TO GET A TRULY CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATE TO OPPOSE HER IN 2010. It may or may not be a Republican, but MUST be someone who wants to return to the Constitution and the principles of the Founders.

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  • March 26, 2009 at 8:59 pm
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    I want to have a Tea Party April 15th. I own a cafe’ outside of Cabot that will acccomodate 50 seated but hundreds outside with decent parking. In a time crunch. What do you think?
    Doin it N E WAY.

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  • March 26, 2009 at 11:34 pm
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    It’s difficult to muster up a dozen people on a whim, unless the issue is something clear cut that hits close to home with all involved. If you check out our Meetup site, you’ll see that we, the Campaign for Liberty, are protesting elsewhere that day.

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  • March 27, 2009 at 1:01 pm
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    When will the next TEa Party be. April 15th? Where and what time?

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  • March 27, 2009 at 6:02 pm
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    I am still interested in having a tea party April 15th even though quite graciously it has come to my attention that there are only a finite quantity of available protestors and prudence in content is scarce.
    From a geographical prospective, our tea party, ie: the people’s tea party, would be outside of Cabot between Vilonia and Gravel Ridge. So far my thoughts are more of a unity of people that want to understand the priciples and values of the founding. To bridge the gap between the ignorance and the truth. I’m on the fast track so any suggestions would be great. I’ll be looking for reading material, pocket constitutions, etc. This is just a very small part of ideas. The entire event will enshrine our committment as the true “government” to reinstate our voice and rightful place at America’s table.

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  • March 29, 2009 at 8:57 am
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    We have Tea Party activities scheduled for April 15 at the General Mail facility post office on East McCain. We are also going to be coordinating with others for a rally at the Capitol building at 3pm on April 15. The details on the rally at the Capitol are still pending. Click the link on my name for the upcoming events on our calendar and please join our group if you haven’t already. It takes just a few seconds.

    Reply

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