The Antelope Valley Tea Party – Or – A Republican Circle Jerk
I hope that in other parts of the country tea parties are more representative of a true anti-tax or anti-government attitude than they are here. In spite of the best efforts of the Campaign for Liberty and the Libertarian Party to focus the Antelope Valley Tea Party in Lancaster, California, this one was little more than a pep rally for mainstream Republican Party members.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have expected much given that prominent local politicians were involved. In attendance were two State Assemblymen and one State Senator, all Republican, as well as the chairman of the local Republican Party. While the mayor of Lancaster was supposed to have been there but had to bow out at the last minute, conspicuous by his absence in any of the event literature was the mayor of Palmdale, a relatively better sort of Republican. (Not better enough to be Libertarian, but better than the average Republican … kind of like saying “taller than Deep Roy” but I mean it in a nice way.) Then again, he did have the gall to oppose a ruling family Republican in a primary race not long ago.
The event planners ensured that there would be no official question and answer session. I should have known that the politicians would not have shown up had they been faced with the risk of an unprepared question while the press was there to cover it.
I handed out fliers with twelve very pointed questions about the Republican Party’s support for the recent California tax increases and the ballot proposition that would extend those increases from two years to four years. I was told that if I was handing out fliers I could not do it in the official tea party area but had to do it out in the parking lot.
It was good to see that people were heckling Assemblyman Steve Knight. He voted to put the tax extension proposition on the ballot. The next speaker was Assemblyman Cameron Smyth who, seeing the way Knight was fiercely heckled, instead talked entirely about our valiant troops overseas defending our freedom. Trying to get him to explain why he voted to put the tax extension proposition on the ballot by my own heckling led to someone nearby hushing me for not showing support for the troops.
Most of the rally afterwards centered on how illegal immigrants were to blame for all of our financial problems, or how we should concentrate all our attention on the Democrats in Washington. There was almost no attention paid to the Republicans and Democrats in Sacramento. It would seem natural for local politicians to discuss local issues, but that would reflect too poorly on their own behavior.
The last thing on anyone’s mind (except for the LPers and the C4Lers) was how the Republican Party contributed to this mess. This pep rally was for the Republicans to convince themselves that they are not to blame for the mess they made. Sorry, I didn’t fall for it. I hope other Tea Parties are better, but the Antelope Valley is were ideas go to die.
I did corner Assemblyman Knight after the rally. Apparently he knows my name because as soon as I introduced myself he talked to everyone but me. But I can be quite patient and after every single last distraction had finished talking to him he was willing to angrily defend his voting to put the tax hike on the ballot. Apparently the bill had some good stuff and some bad stuff, and for the sake of the good stuff he voted for the bill with the bad stuff in it. Also he angrliy said he does indeed endorse the Republicans who voted to raise taxes because otherwise the Democrats would get 2/3 in the legislature and taxes would be raised.