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.
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.