When members of Congress returned to Washington after a turbulent summer recess last year, Americans from across the country decided to join them. Hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens descended on the nation’s capital for a rally and march on September 12, 2009, expressing outrage over profligate government spending, and admonishing Congress not to enact any additional big-government programs, including the proposed health care overhaul. Democrats didn’t listen, so exactly one year later, another throng of disgusted taxpayers will assemble with a new message: Political judgment day is coming.
Limited-government activist organization, FreedomWorks—chaired by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey—is organizing a series of tea party-style rallies in major cities across the country on Sunday, including Sacramento, Chicago, St. Louis, and Washington, DC. Unlike Glenn Beck’s late August patriotic pilgrimage to the National Mall, Sunday’s rally will be explicitly political and ideological. “Our theme is ‘Remember in November,’” explained FreedomWorks Director of campaigns, Brendan Steinhauser. “It’s a final reminder to the powers that be in Washington that America is ready to make them pay for their bad votes over the past two years.”
Steinhauser says citizens who may have attended the Beck gathering two weeks ago and are on the fence about a return trip to Washington should consider the importance of Sunday’s event, and its distinctions from 8/28. “We worked hard on 8/28 and it was great, but that was more of a massive cultural phenomenon geared toward the restoration of honor. It was apolitical. There were no signs or elected officials,” he said. By contrast, “9/12 will be very political. We will be addressing very specific issues, and the messages will be directed at Congress and the president.”
What sort of turnout does FreedomWorks envision on Sunday? It’s hard to say, Steinhauser said, because of the proliferation of regional and local tea parties that will take place on the same day, from coast to coast. “Last year, we had between 300,000 and 800,000 protesters [in Washington, DC] on 9/12, and the movement has only grown since then. Because of the huge turnout at the Beck event and all the regional 9/12 rallies, overall turnout will be more spread out,” he said. Organizers still believe the DC crowd will number in the “tens of thousands.”
Speakers at the Washington assemblage include Rep. Armey, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Indiana Congressman Mike Pence, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, blogger Erick Erickson, and conservative provocateur Andrew Breitbart. “It’s important that people come out on Sunday to deliver this important message to Washington elites in a big way, especially since [the rally] will get a lot of media coverage,” Steinhauser said. “We need to let Congress and President Obama know that we’re back, and we’re not going away.”
FreedomWorks’ 9/12/10 Taxpayer March on Washington kicks off this Sunday at 10am between the Washington Monument and the US Capitol. The Townhall political team will have full coverage of Sunday’s events on The Tipsheet.