The Tea Party is gathering in Helena for its first convention, and certainly isn’t embracing any racist ideas:
Hedgecock told a story about campaigning and meeting a family of illegal immigrants who said they don’t vote, and surmising that votes were fraudulently cast in their name by others.
Former state Rep. Ed Butcher, R-Winifred, echoed concern about voter fraud, claiming in a separate session that President Barack Obama’s “ACORN crowd” nearly cost Rep. Derek Skees, R-Whitefish, his election last fall.
“Every Indian voted at least once, all the college students voted at least twice,” he said, to laughs from the audience. “You had an unbelievable operation going.”
I certainly do object to the article’s choice to characterize this gathering as representative of the Tea Party’s influence and growth, though. 100 people attending, representing 24 statewide organizations, suggests that the TEA Party is anything but growing and influential. It’s a couple of people in each county or community who have always been on the fringe of American politics.
Hell, I worked at the Colonial for a couple of years in college and there were much bigger crowds there for insurance seminars and New Age health markets.
The narrative that this was a well-attended event even extends to photos. A picture of one of the meetings is captioned “Roger Hedgecock addresses a packed room full of tea party supporters…”even though there are clearly visible empty seats in the room.
For the IR to suggest that this was a significant, or even large meeting is just disengenuous.