Drifting through Mall C on Wednesday was an odd experience. Never before had I seen so many Republicans in one place in Cleveland. I wondered how many of these people came from Indiana.
A few thousand had for the Cleveland installment of the nationwide Tax Day Tea Party, and more than a few were sufficiently tax-averse to plunk down $5 to some lady at a table, who in turn handed over poster boards and markers for a DIY placard-a-rama of conservative catchphrases: “IT’S THE SPENDING STUPID.” “IS THIS DAY ONE OF THE NEXT AMERICAN REVOLUTION?” “PARTY LIKE IT’S 1773.” “DOWN WITH CHANGE, UP WITH FREEDOM.”
Many of the attendees who came to rail against President Obama’s stimulus program and government intrusion in the marketplace were the garden-variety money-managers. And many others, snuggled in full deer-hunting regalia, looked like they just stepped off the militia compound. Cleveland never looked so white. You’d have thought, with the turnout, that Rush Limbaugh was expected, or that somebody was going to really tea-bag Dennis Kucinich or something.
But no: The line-up of speakers was as inconsequential as the party itself in and around this city — a few armed forces members with militant ideologies; a few business owners blathering about the tax-and-spenders; former county GOP chair Jim Trakas; Sandra O’Brien, who ran for Ohio Treasurer on an anti-abortion, anti-gay-marriage platform; and state Sen. Tim Grendell, who just offered a proposal to reform Cuyahoga County government, even though he lives in Geauga County. (Talk about no taxation without representation.)