It’s a TEA party

Event draws 200-plus

Register Reporter

Register/Richard Luken
Susan and Michael Springman sing along to “God Bless America” at Friday’s “Turn Everything Around” (TEA) party at the Allen County Courthouse lawn Friday evening. Above, Kris Kobach addresses the crowd of more than 200.

Equal parts political rally, religious sermon and “standing up for our country,” a group of about 200 people attended a “Turn Everything Around” party Friday evening on the Allen County Courthouse lawn.
The TEA party — organized by the same folks who threw April’s “Taxed Enough Already” rally — featured pointed barbs aimed almost exclusively at President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats.
Among the speakers were Iolans Virginia Crossland-Macha and Bud Sifers, Rep. Lynn Jenkins, former Kansas Republican Party chair and candidate for secretary of state Kris Kobach and the Rev. Bill LaPorte.
TEA parties across the country and vocal opposition at town hall meetings is evidence of a growing swell of activism that has helped stall what Crossland-Macha called “crippling legislation that would hurt Kansans.”
“We’ve stopped the health care vote,” she declared. “We made Congress go back and talk to their constituents.”
Friday’s TEA party, she said, was “a great day for Iola but a really a great day for Kansas.”

FRIDAY’S rally focused on ongoing health care legislation, state sovereignty and removing God from the public sector.
Sifers accused Congress of being willing to run up trillions of dollars in debt and favoring federal takeover of everything from the auto industry to health care. The federal government’s inability to efficiently operate Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Veterans Administration hospitals should be enough proof that less intervention is needed, not more, Sifers said.
Sifers said he’d read through the first 250 pages of pending health care bills as well as the “cap and trade” energy bill making its way through Congress. In both cases, Sifers opined, the legislation is riddled with ambiguity.
“That’s the most dangerous kind of legislation there is,” he said.
“One single thought has gone through my mind,” Sifers said. “Who are these people and why do they hate my country?
“My wife told me I couldn’t say it that way,” Sifers continued. “So I’ll ask: Who are these people and why do they want to change my country?”
Sifers implored the return to “little ‘r’ republicanism that conforms to ideals, not the political party.
“The good news is that one Congress doesn’t bind another,” Sifers said.
Americans should elect “people of values, not career politicians,” he said. Sifers closed by saying, “I ask you to resolve to be involved. Insist the government stop spending the wealth of our children and our grandchildren.”

KOBACH, a frequent candidate who was last defeated by Rep. Dennis Moore in 2004 in the Third District congressional race, spoke about Kansas’ sovereignty and the need to fear big government.
The 10th Amendment, he said, declares that any powers not specifically earmarked for the federal government automatically transfer to the states. Three turning points began to tilt power to the feds, Kobach said: the adoption of federal income tax, creating the Internal Revenue Service and adopting Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.
Another transformative event occurred in 1987, when Congress established a nationwide minimum drinking age, Kobach said. States that failed to adhere to the drinking age were threatened with the loss of federal highway money.
“The federal government now holds sway over the states,” Kobach offered. “States have to do things a certain way. And now our country is springing full speed toward socialism,” he said.
“We’ve had the nationalization of the auto and banking industries,” Kobach said, “Now we’re standing at the intersection and we need to yell ‘Stop!’”
He also decried creation of Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) offices in Wichita and Kansas City areas. ACORN, which calls itself a community-based organization that advocates for low- and moderate-income families by working on neighborhood safety, voter registration, health care, affordable housing and other social issues, is really “a criminal enterprise,” Kobach said.
Kobach also believes Democrats in Washington are nearing a “perfect scenario” to stay in power by granting citizenship to 10 to 12 million immigrants.
Kobach, who along with Sen. Derek Schmidt of Independence has filed for Republican nomination for Kansas secretary of state, said Kansans can take steps to ensure the state remains “free of undue influence and illegal activities” by asking for a law requiring that voters show photo identification and proof of citizenship to enter a ballot booth. He also said Kansas should prosecute all cases of voter fraud. Doing so “would transform Kansas from one of the most vulnerable states in the country to one of the most secure,” he said.

CROSSLAND-MACHA spoke about pending health care legislation.
“Today, we find ourselves at a crossroads in the health care debate,” she said. “Let me clarify: no one here denies that we need health care solutions.” But there are two different approaches that center on one question, she said.
“Do you believe the federal government will make the best health care decisions for you and your family? Or do you trust yourself to make the best health care decisions for your family?” Crossland-Macha believes Democrats want to offer the public a Medicare-type program that would limit choices of health care and medications.
Modeling the United States’ system after a government-run system such as Canada’s would be folly, she contended. She accused Canada of denying its citizens the best medicines to treat cancer and other illnesses.
Crossland-Macha’s comments were borrowed from similar speeches her sister had given as a political activist in Arkansas, she said.

OTHER speakers included LaPorte, who said Democrats in Congress have “broken faith with the founding principles of our liberty and the Constitution itself and thereby incited the people to righteous indignation against their own corruption, deceit, disrespect, greed and naked contempt for the rights and character of the people they seek to rule.”
Jenkins, meanwhile, noted that for every piece of legislation offered by the Democrats to address a national problem, Republicans have offered alternative plans.
“I’ll ask you to continue your fight” Jenkins said. “Stay engaged. Stay involved.”
There was one notable dissenter among those at the rally.
Iolan Tyler Granger sat prominently in the audience holding aloft a sign reading “Real Republicans don’t lie” and noting that the federal debt was $10 trillion the day Obama took office.
While Granger said he agreed with some tenets offered by the speakers — responsible spending for example — “I don’t think they need to resort to fear-mongering to do it.”