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Video: Quad Cities Tea Party Draws Diverse Crowd PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Local News
Written by Todd McGreevy   
Saturday, 28 February 2009 18:28

A diverse crowd of protesters gathered at the corner of Brady and Locust streets in central Davenport today, unified in their contempt for last year's bailouts and this year's stimulus bill approved by Congress and signed by Obama last week. (The bill is the H.R.1—American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and can be read at  The following story includes a 4 minute video log of interviews at the protest.)

Between 60 and 75 people, in all age brackets from 10 years old and up, gathered with handmade signs signifying their disapproval of the recent legislation that they believe seriously threatens and undermines the country’s future. Protesters came from Davenport, Bettendorf, and Buffalo, Iowa, and from as far away as Hampton, Silvis, and Rock Island, Illinois, to participate. The protest signs ranged from "Bailout is Robbery" and "Commander in Thief" to "Teaser Mandates" and "I Love My Country But am Afraid of My Government." Many people stressed that this was the first time they have ever attended such an event.

Between noon and 1pm, many drivers and passengers in cars honked and waved to the cheering crowd who were making their presence known on this sunny, but cold February Iowa. Occasionally, passing cars rolled down their windows screaming "Obama, Obama!" One Davenport Police officer appeared briefly to remind people to stay off of private property and out of the street. Protesters were present on all four corners with the majority on the southwest and south east corners.

Anti-stimulus protest rallies have been popping up nationwide ever since CNBC's Rick Santelli's harsh criticism of congress’ out-of-control-spending was heard around the world last week. He unleashed his rant from the Chicago Board of Trade floor, calling for a Chicago Tea Party ( ) to protest the bailouts in July.

Susan Frazer, a Scott County resident, said she had planned to go to Chicago in July for the Tea Party, but was excited to hear that communities were already organizing their own Tea Parties this weekend, including one in the Quad Cities. Word about the protest was primarily spread via blog postings and email networking. When asked what she would have happen other than the bailouts and stimulus bill, Ms. Frazer said, "I would like a return to the Constitution."

One Rock Island man's sign read, "Braley Hare Out in 2010", referring to Bruce Braley, Iowa’s First District congressman and Phil Hare, Illinois’ 17th District congressman. "I see several long time democrats I know here. They have had enough too," he observed.

Chris Sweatman recently moved here from South Carolina for a new job and had only been in the Quad Cities for a month. He held a sign that read: “Obama Stimulus Destroys Dollar.” "I think the economy has proven that it will rebound on its own, if the government stays out," said Sweatman. He encouraged people to read the book The Forgotten Man as evidence of Roosevelt and Hoover's mistakes and their prolonging of the Depression. "To say that we need to do what Roosevelt did is a big mistake," he warned.

Iowa Senator David Hartsuch, Davenport 5th Ward Alderman Bill Lynn and 2nd Ward Alderman candidate Bill Edmonds were the handful of politicos present amongst a mostly non-partisan protest.

Local artist John Bloom said, "All my so called Liberal artist and musician friends... they think they're all liberal. But they know this is wrong, they're really moderates." Bloom pointed out his friend's sign as a good summation of how he thinks most people feel. It read: “I love my country, but fear my government.” "That's true," said Bloom. "I do. Right now, I really do."

One protester stated, "The lean towards socialism is so obvious. To not respond in some way [is wrong]. The irony is at my age, I retire and then do this? I got money, I don't need to be here. There's something wrong. To not see it, to not smell it?"

His friend stated, "I look after my kids and grandkids. I can't see them having this burden on their shoulders. They say no taxes, but you know it's coming. Somebody's got to pay for this. There's no free lunch."

Many people questioned out loud if there was going to be another Tea Party protest and how could they find out when and where. James Getmann and Mike Angelos shared with several attendees that their local group,, meets the first and third Saturday's of each month to educate citizens about the Constitution and encouraged Tea Party protesters to come to the next meeting.

Comments (8)Add Comment
Thomas Nelson
written by Thomas Nelson, March 01, 2009
Thanks to Todd McGreevey for excellent write-up of our Tea Party! BTW I talked to one couple who drove from Waterloo to attend.
written by STEPHEN TOWNSEND, March 01, 2009
Funny, These people wer not out on the streets proresting agaist the trillions that have been given to the fincial institutions. Now when people might recieve some benefit they are all nuts about it. They are pissed that a welfare single mom might get a raise in her assistance. This is obviously a Republican Front that does have potential to attract many dissatisfied people, well meaning and not.
Todd McGreevy
Bailouts & GSE's On Board @ Protest
written by Todd McGreevy, March 01, 2009
Stephen, the crowd's protesting decidedly included last fall's bailouts of the financial institutions with signs like "Bailout is Robbery" and Abolish GSE's, referring to the Government Sponsored Enterprises like Fannie and Freddie, which were bailed out last year.
(Let's not forget after they ladled heaps of pork onto the plate to make it go down easier.)

Stimulus was not the only item being protested. Many people stated they felt the failing banks and industries need to fail so the market can adjust naturally. If anything it would be one of those damn "free market" fronts.

Furthermore, during last fall's massive bailout of wall street and toxic assets that we still have no valuation on, I spoke to all of the IA and IL congressional offices in both IA & IL. ( The staff for both sides of the aisle reported that inbound No Bailout calls out numbered Pro Bailout calls 50 to as high as 200 to 1, depending on the week.

I am not aware of any such protests events last fall. I do remember talking to dozens of people from all different parties, on both sides of the river, who were unified in sending a message of our will to cease the bailouts to congress. And they picked up the phones 50 and 200 to 1 against. For two weeks.

And I do remember it was not heeded by either side.

Had I known that standing on the corner with a sign would have stopped last fall's conscription of your great grandkids income, so some lucky wall street derivatives wizards can retire, I would have put the phone down and been there.

Communicating directly to our elected representatives didn't seem to work, even when citizens from all parties were in agreement bailing out wall street elite was weak and would do nothing for all but a select few.

Sure there were some known GOP people who even helped spread the word via email about the Tea Party Santelli inspired.

But believe me if they want to attract this dissatisfied crowd to their party, they would have to show they follow the constitution.

So far, neither major party can claim that.
Are you kidding?
written by Mike3535, March 02, 2009
This is a regional community of over 300,000+ people, and the mighty "Tea Party" drew a whopping 75 or so people to protest. Obviously, the vast majority of Americans still support the President's plan on getting us back on track. His continual chart-topping approval ratings are proof of that.

Yes, there are people who disagree and they have every right to do so. What's not true though, is that they represent any kind of remote majority when it comes towards general attitudes towards the stimulus and budget plans.

Call me when there's a crowd of 50,000 marching through the streets. Until then, whether this clear minority likes it or not, the politicians of this country are doing and prioritizing what the majority of Americans want them to do right now. The "Tea Party" crap was a GOP stab at inciting some kind of massive nation-wide demonstration. It wasn't, and if failed miserably.
written by daddy_steve, March 02, 2009
Damn It! I've got to check my e-mail more often. I think I could have got a few people to show up. Still ready to vote NO on Promise ,tomorrow, though.
written by Super Liberty, March 02, 2009
Doing what's right and doing what's popular rarely go hand in hand nowadays. The first bail out failed, this bail out is failing and all the future bailouts will continue to fail, because the POPULAR leaders don't have the American population's interest at heart. They're just good con artists and people who think we can continue to do the same things over and over again and expect somehow to get different results are just plain insane. The only change I see is money from the pockets of ordinary Americans going to a few powerful elites. Plain and simple... the fleecing of Americans wealth will continue until we can admit that we need to return to our founding roots that made this country great and prosperous. Taking money from one to give to another is not charitable or good, it is pure tyranny and in the end everyone loses. Only when the community stands up and helps their neighbor and tells government to get out of the way will we ever see the light again, until then watch out, this country will become even more divided and turbulant, ending with a big bang.
written by twocents, March 03, 2009
Mike3535: Maybe you didn't notice but it was damn cold, colder then many of the other places holding tea parties. The QC did just fine at the 102 in attendance, my hard count at 12:45, by comparison to other metro areas. The people that might be induced to show up at these are by their nature less confrontational, many just want government off of their back. What was wonderfully supportive was the number of horn honks in support by passersby. It was a rag tag quick effort inspired by a call for a tea party on CNBC barely a week before. Organizers should be doubly proud by comparison to recent efforts by the left. A half dozen people turn out for anti-war protests in better weather on 53rd near Elmore . . . are you saying they represent the sum total of opposition by the left to Iraqi freedom?
written by Wanda, October 08, 2009
i was in utter awe on how many people honked and give us thumbs up as they went by. It was amazing how many young people passed by that stood for what we were doing.There were all ages at the tea party and there were democrats there with the republicans. You see its not just the republicans that are not happy with this administration. It's the majority of the country.

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