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Michelle Bachmann’s Capitol Tea Party

“Don’t you make me come up there!”

Dozens of moms from Minnesota sported sweatshirts with a parental threat aimed at Congress that most everyone would recognize.

Our elected representatives have done just that — they made us “come up there,” from as far away as California, leaving jobs and families and spending hefty sums to make what Rep. Michele Bachmann called “an emergency house call on Congress.”

Bachmann is a rising star in the conservative movement. Like Sarah Palin, Bachmann is a beautiful, articulate mother of five (who’s also cared for 23 foster children over the years). With the mobilizing talents of a megamom, she called for citizens to come to Washington to personally lobby their representatives on November 5. Shortly after her Friday announcement, Hollywood actor Jon Voight called and asked to help. By Thursday, Bachmann had a full slate of speakers and enough activist citizens — many of them first-timers — to give Congress a good dose of preventative medicine:

You came. And you came to your house. And you came for an emergency house call. And are they going to listen? Oh yeah, oh yeah, they’re going to listen. It was Thomas Jefferson who said a revolution every now and then is a good thing. What do you think?

The crowd roared.

Bachmann emphasized the historic nature of Thursday’s political struggle with a quote from Abigail Adams’ journal:

After all we’ve done, I wonder if generations unborn will know what was done for them.

Bachmann continued:

We are that privileged generation. You literally stand with us on hallowed ground. This is hallowed ground of freedom, and that freedom was purchased at an incalculable price that none of us can ever truly comprehend. And for 233 years, every generation that has come before has faithfully handed the baton of freedom to the next generation. And so now we are that privileged generation, privileged to be here today.

The day is best told by the everyday people who came — see my photo journal for stories — and by a few of the ringing quotes of speakers.

Jon Voight:

President Obama has his own obsession with trying to ram this health bill through and create a socialist America. We as freedom-loving Americans must not be scared into Obama’s radical Chicago tactics. His agenda is not for the poor. It’s solely for his political gain. His lies and propaganda are all very blatant, shown to us by those who exposed ACORN, which is as corrupt as all the president’s czars. The only success he’s had so far in his term as president is taking America apart piece by piece.

John Ratzenberger (from the TV show Cheers):

These are Woodstock Democrats. We have to remember where their philosophy comes from. It doesn’t come from America. It comes from overseas. It comes from socialism. And socialism is a philosophy of failure.

Mark Levin — best to watch his speech on video.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (OH):

I do think there is a rebellion going on in this country. How else could you get 10,000 people to show up with only a few days notice? What they are saying is “enough is enough.” There are tens of thousands of Americans who have come to Washington to say they don’t want Pelosi-care.

It’s a simple statement by Americans that they love their country, they love our way of life, they love the things that America stands for — prosperity, liberty and freedom — and they want nothing more than to hand freedom off to their kids and to their grandkids. Join us in saying no to a government takeover of health care. Join us in rejecting higher taxes and more deficits. Join us in defending our freedom. And join us in defeating Pelosi-care.


Republican Whip Eric Cantor (VA):

Your efforts are being heard. We are committed to making sure that not one Republican will vote for this bill. We are going to pick up as many common sense Democrats as we can.

Rep. Steve King (IA):

I want to give credit to where the idea came from originally. It came out of the mouth of America’s most-decorated living hero, Colonel Bud Day, who has a Medal of Honor and 69 other medals, and giving a speech in Iowa he said, “I think we can’t save our freedom unless we surround the capitol building until they give us back our freedom.” That’s what I relayed to my friend Michelle Bachmann as we walked down the steps and she said, “Why can’t we?” Well, we can. We are. We’re here.

We own this hill. We’re the American people. You took this hill. Remember some of those other battles: Lexington and Concord, Breed’s Hill, Bunker Hill, Pork Chop Hill, Hamburger Hill. This hill is a lot easier hill to take. You’re on it. And you know what? We’re not going to leave this hill until we kill this bill.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN):

Women make the medical decisions for their families and they know this bill is bad medicine. … We want to be the Party of Know.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX):

When I was born I didn’t deserve to be born in this country. I didn’t deserve to enjoy all these great freedoms which others had paid the price for. You were told this bill would not pay for abortions. Read page 110, which states that they will be permitted. Were you told the truth? Joe Wilson was right. The truth will march on.

Rep. Joe Wilson (SC) was welcomed with the most applause given to any representative.

Rep. Roy Blunt (MO):

Government goes to those who show up. You showed up! Some day we will look back on this day and say, “That’s the day we killed the 2000-page health care bill.”

These are just sampling from the near-twenty speakers. Each kept the message short and to the point — that the government belongs to the people and that we need to work hard to take it back.

The crowd didn’t need to hear the facts and figures. They already were well-equipped — as exemplified by Janet Mullan, a senior from Rockville, Maryland, who presented a serious challenge to my shorthand skills. When asked why she and her husband had come to Washington, she said:

We are for real reform, not repression. Real reform would contain medical malpractice reform. This is not about health care, but government control. Real reformation would address medical malpractice suits, create a risk pool, and provide portability. Forty-five percent of doctors say they will quit if Obama/Pelosi care is passed. What then? This is an unconstitutional intrusion into the lives of citizens.

Phil and Shifra felt compelled to travel from New York for their first political event. Shifra said:

I feel like our country is disintegrating. Our grandparents fled czarist Russia. Now we confront those who want to shut down opposition, demonize their opponents. I thought dissent was patriotic, but I guess that’s only when it comes to liberals. Today all anti-Semitism is from the left. In the Orthodox community, people are nuts from this. It’s like pouring water on a hornets’ nest. Nancy Pelosi just poured water on a hornets’ nest and people who weren’t politically active are now on the phones for Christie [newly-elected governor of New Jersey].

I have no doubt that some of the voters I talked to might know more than those representatives poised to legislate the peons a clunker health care system while keeping their own congressional Cadillac care.

In a final sendoff, Bachman presented two copies of the Pelosi bill — each weighing in at 20 pounds — and suggested we each take a page to give to our representatives as we lobbied. “At least that way they can say they read it,” she laughed.

Then it was off to the Cannon and Rayburn buildings and another new adventure — including a dozen arrests for wadding up pages and throwing them on the floor outside Pelosi’s office — for citizens determined to re-enfranchise themselves.