TEA Party brings out conservative critics of federal spending

07/06/09 Mitch E. Perry
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An estimated 50,000 people braved the heat last Saturday in Brandon for the annual 4th of July parade. Afterwards, a few hundred stuck around in Clayton Park for a TEA Party organized by conservative activist Terry Kemple. TEA stands for Taxed Enough Already.

The event was one of thousands of similar type of protests around the country, following the tea bag protests last April, both united by opposition to the escalating federal deficit and the spending programs of the Obama administration.

President Obama has said the aim of his plans to change health care include decreasing the costs of the system, as well as increase coverage for the 47 million people currently uninsured.

But Betty James said the uninsured were already getting federal help.

The thrust of the afternoon was complaints about the federal deficit. Even though President Obama has spent a significant amount of money –mainly for his stimulus plan – in his first half year in office, the majority of the current federal deficit is the result of the policies of President Bush and Congress over the past 8 years. But that’s not what those in Brandon on the 4th of July thought.

Robert Bagman had a sign that read “No Tyranny, and on the other side of No Socialism”. He said that the Republicans will rise back in 2010.

Mary Tyer from Brandon called herself a Proud America. She held aloft a sign that read, "Can you hear us Obama", and appeared to grow increasingly angry as we interviewed her.

Sun City resident Bob Hunter said the Republicans did deserve blame for the increased spending in Washington. He said they’ve been out of touch with their base, but said they needed to just get more big donors, to compete with the Democrats.

Hunter, a recent transplant from Pennsylvania, grew agitated when discussing Senator Arlen Specter, who switched political parties and became a Democrat earlier this year. Hunter said the only reason Specter has been re-elected was because of the big cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

The day also featured speeches by Hillsborough County GOP State Senator Ronda Storm, State Representative Rachel Burgin, and two candidates running for the 12th Congressional seat currently held by Adam Putnam.

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