Tea Party Express rallies faithful in Bluffton

By ALLISON STICE astice@islandpacket.com
Published Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Tea Party Express and its traveling road show rolled into the Promenade in old town Bluffton on Saturday to rally hundreds with speeches, songs and a conservative rapper during one of its last stops on the “Reclaiming America” national bus tour.

The tour has hit early voting states hard over the past two weeks and will conclude Monday night in Tampa, Fla., at the first-ever Tea Party-sponsored Republican presidential debate.

Those who attended Saturday sported plenty of patriotic clothing and American flags and carried signs reading “Stop Bankrupting America” among other Tea Party themes. From lawn chairs dotting the Promenade, they clapped along to songs that demanded an end to bailouts and the repeal of the President Barack Obama’s health care plan.

Former Saturday Night Live cast member Victoria Jackson, sporting a T-shirt sequined with “You Lie” — a nod to U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson’s shout to Obama during a health care speech before joint session of Congress — told the crowd, “There’s a communist in the White House!”

Tea party favorite Sharron Angle, who lost a 2010 race against U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, touted her book “Right Angle: One Woman’s Journey to Reclaim the Constitution.”

“We’re not an organization,” she said of the Tea Party, “we’re an organism. We don’t follow a person. We follow principles.”

Bluffton Tea Party member Terry O’Neill said he and his wife have been to rallies in Columbia and Washington D.C., among other places. They plan to follow bus tour the debate Monday night.

Ann Ubelis of the Beaufort Tea Party said three separate groups from Bluffton, Beaufort and Hilton Head Island came together to host Saturday’s rally.

The crowd showed that local tea partiers are “still vibrant” and should have an impact on the presidential primary and the 2012 general election, she said.

Howard Kaloogian, chairman of the conservative political action committee Our Country Deserves Better, said he joined the tour to help energize and educate voters.

Flipping through “The Constitution Made Easy” by Michael Holler, a book for sale at one of the booths, Kaloogian said Obama has ignored the job description outlined in the document.

“There is nothing in there about government takeover of health care, car dealerships or anything else going on in the past three years,” he said.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.