Exactly one week after my last piece on the Tea Party and civility A new comparative example was demonstrated before a national audiance courtasy of the Tea Party Express cross country bus tour.
The Tea Party express has an open invitation for candidates to speak at their events and Governor Mitt Romney decided to take them up on it during their stop in Concord NH.
One of the national Tea Party groups Freedomworks objected, citing Romneycare and other positions not consistent with Tea Party principles. They not only pulled out of the bus tour but announced a counter protest at the venue of the event.
Seeing a potential story I took the 90 minute drive to Concord NH and sure enough there was a fair amount of National media there waiting to see what would happen when tea party clashed with tea party.
There was no shortage of tea party members who objected to Mitt Romney speaking at the event. One protester wore a flipper suit to highlight his “flip flops” on issues.
They were not shy about making their opinions known to the media either individually or as a group. Moreover with only a single Police Lieutenant on duty at the event, if the Tea Party members of the Granite state wanted to disrupt the speech; there would be very little to stop them.
When Governor Romney took the stage the MSM waited and watched: would it be glitter, a cream pie to the face? Would he be heckled, shouted down or was the protester wearing a flipper suit a fanatical 2nd amendment activist armed to the teeth? The media waited…
…but nothing happened. The governor gave a speech on fiscal responsibility that drew a respectable amount of applause. I checked with the police lieutenant afterwards, no excitement no trouble. The only “violence” at the event was a soft elbow during the speech the Governor tossed at rival candidate Rick Perry referring to “career politicians”. When he left commented it was a “great reception”.
Asked afterwards, the Tea Party members still weren’t sold on Governor Romney but were generally surprised anyone would expect them to give him anything other than a respectful hearing.
24 hours later in Detroit Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa opened for the president talking of a “war” with the tea party concluding:
“President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let’s take these son of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong,”
There were no national cameras at the St. Louis or Fitchburg events last week so it had little impact on the ”tea party incivility” narrative, but that meme can’t survive long if we continue to see nationally covered presidential level events that contradict it.