Tea Party rallies for fall elections

By Tim Shaunnessey

The Democratic Party was in the crosshairs when the Chicago Tea Party mobilized April 16 to speak its mind.

The Tea Party held its fourth annual Tax Day rally at Daley Plaza on the corner of Washington and Dearborn streets. The gathering featured a number of speakers expressing their discontent with the work of the Democrats and rallying support for conservative efforts in this

election year.

Tea Party supporters carried signs sporting statements such as “Don’t believe the liberal media” and the staple tea party slogan “Don’t tread on me.” Many signs poked fun at President Barack Obama and his administration, on issues ranging from taxation to conceal and carry laws.

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch spoke first, drawing comparisons between her own state and Illinois, particularly in terms of their financial situation. Kleefisch noted that Wisconsin citizens have a right to conceal and carry, as opposed to Illinois. The issue was mentioned several times throughout the rally. She said liberals have adequately expressed themselves during Obama’s tenure as president, and it is time for the conservative movement to respond.

“They had their turn,” Kleefisch said. “They had their turn for redistribution of wealth. They had their turn to protest and to occupy. Now it’s our turn.”

Dana Loesch, editor in chief of BigJournalism.com and cofounder of the St. Louis Tea Party, then took the stage to tell her story of casting off her prior Democratic affiliation.

“I was a young college woman,” Loesch said. “It was marketed to me as the party of pro-women, pro-equality, pro-whatever gets us a vote. I quickly realized that was not the case.”

She alleged that the Democratic Party is waging “a war on women.” She asked the crowd what women in the U.S. have received as a result of the Democrats, which prompted a chorus of “nothing.”

Loesch cited a record-high unemployment rate and increased controversy regarding Second Amendment rights.

“[The government will] ship thousands of guns to Mexico,” she said. “Then they have the audacity to tell us that we need stricter gun laws.”

Denise Cattoni, state coordinator of the Illinois Tea Party, agreed with Loesch on the perceived war on women but was quick to note that while Second Amendment rights are something the Illinois Tea Party agrees with, they are only part of larger topics the party wishes

to emphasize.

“We stick to our three principles,” Cattoni said. “Fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets. That’s it. Nothing else. Things like the Second Amendment are very important to us because we really need it here in Illinois, but that … falls under constitutionally limited government.”

Joel Pollak, editor-in-chief of the news aggregation website Breitbart.com, followed Loesch onstage. He said the Tea Party has had to battle the media as much as the institutional left, and he encouraged attendees to continue opposing the Democrats.

“In this country, debate is what we’re supposed to have,” Pollak said. “It’s what [the Democrats] don’t want to have, which is why they want to drown you out, marginalize and slander [you].”

He then picked up a guitar and played “The Ballad of the Tea Party,” a song urging the government “don’t tax our

freedom away.”

Dan Proft, radio personality and political commentator, followed Pollak. He further urged the crowd to continue opposing the Democratic Party. He said there was potential for the Tea Party to replicate and improve upon its victories in the 2010 election cycle.

“We have that [same] opportunity,” Proft said. “Don’t let the left do what it wants to with us. Don’t let this all be about dollars and cents. It is so much bigger than that.”