August 30th, 2009
05:14 PM ET
11 years ago

Tea Party Express cruises through Nevada

'They want to make us a socialist state,' Johnny Burwell told CNN.

'They want to make us a socialist state,' Johnny Burwell told CNN.

ELY, Nevada (CNN) - Hundreds of people turned out for a series of weekend events as the Tea Party Express cruised across northern Nevada.

The caravan of tour buses, RVs, cargo trucks and SUVs kicked off a cross-country tour Friday in Sacramento, California, and plans on holding events in 33 cities en route to Washington, D.C. for what organizers hope will be a big rally on September 12.

The tour is being funded by Our Country Deserves Better, a conservative political action committee.

The tea party movement gained momentum this year; several parties were held across the country this summer to protest President Barack Obama and the Democrats' economic stimulus plans, among other things.

On July 4, nearly 2,000 advocates, toting signs and chanting slogans, rallied outside Congress. Activists said the TEA Party Day - an acronym for "Taxed Enough Already" - was in response to runaway government spending. But now, the focus is on health care reform, an issue that has brought about demand for bigger, more encompassing debate throughout the country and in Congress.

At an event Saturday in Winnemucca, Nevada, Carolyn Rowe came to the tea party in a T-shirt depicting Obama as the joker from "Batman." In place of the familiar "Hope" logo of Obama's campaign was the word "Joke."

She says she is concerned about the number of so-called "czars" in the Obama administration and she fears losing her choice of doctor if health care reform passes.

"I believe he's trouncing the Constitution and taking control of our country in a direction we don't want," says Rowe, from beneath a wide brimmed straw hat. "I think he has a hidden agenda, and I think he doesn't tell the truth and that in itself bothers me."

Husband-and-wife team Barbara and Pete Jones drove up from Reno, Nevada. Barbara's red T-shirt said "Impeach Everyone," but she said Obama is first on her list.

What is her main concern?

"Socialism," she says.

Husband Pete elaborates, "They're spending too much money. Were going into debt spending money on things we don't need, bailing out companies that should have failed."

The Joneses, who are in their 60s, have never been what they call "protesting people" before, but they think the tea party movement is picking up speed and they are happy to be spending their Saturday afternoon out the blazing midday sun of the Winners Casino parking lot. They even made a sign that reads, "Don't borrow, tax and spend our children's future."

"Were the sleeping giant that has been awaken," she says, "We're the silent majority that is no longer silent."

Mike Bryant nods in agreement with Barbara Jones. He attended Friday night's Tea Party In Sparks, Nevada, and drove up to Winnemucca for Saturday's event.

"I think a lot of people are just waking up and getting active. People are reading and educating themselves," he says, "I think too many of us that have been working, busy raising families and haven't been involved."

He has been to tea parties in the past and thinks the protesters have gotten a bum rap in the media.

"I think were not an unruly mob, I think most of us are just average citizens and were trying to make a difference, trying to make our feelings known."

Later Saturday the tour arrives at a park in Elko, Nevada, where Johnny Burwell minces no words. His sign (and just about everyone has a sign) reads, "I will not be a socialist." He holds it up between the tines of a pitchfork.

"They want to make us a socialist state." He says, "I got a good life I don't want em messing it up."

But the crowd of several hundred in Elko has some surprise attendees: Obama supporters. Four of them.

Nora Hatfield and her three pals voted for Obama and support the president now. They are parked near the back on folding chairs.

"I wanted to know why they don't support health care, why they don't support the issues that are important to this administration," Hatfield says. "The way you learn these things is by listening to what other people have to say."

After hearing the speakers from the Tea Party Express, she is unsatisfied.

"What I have heard today has all totally been negative." She says, "Nobody has given me a solution."

Sunday morning, the Tea Party Express rolled into Ely, Nevada, where about 100 partiers were waiting for the caravan. More T-shirts, more signs and more newly minted activists.

Next stop: Las Vegas.

Filed under: Nevada • Tea Party movement
soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. Gene

    These anti-socialist idiots don't even realize how many socialist programs they currently benefit from.

    I say let them sign a registry to disqualify them from any "socialist" programs that they don't want any part of.

    August 30, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  2. Geoff

    A. Czar's were part of the Monarchy before socialist Russia. B. I did not see the tea party protest President Bush, while Bush grew the size of the gov't AT LEAST as much as any other president. C. One of the Tea Party members kept saying "i think" instead of stating actual facts. D. Their stated opinions are Palin-esque in making up facts that could very well be true under private insurance. The governments not going to allow you to go to your own doctor? Really?

    August 30, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  3. Teresa Hendley

    I am totally surprised to see an article about protestors to the Healthcare Reform and Obama administration get press anywhere else but Fox News. Most of the mainstream media won't print it because they are so biased and they would like to make everybody believe the country is all for it. I have never been politically active but have found myself sick to see the direction the country is headed in under Obama's leadership with Pelosi, Reid and all those nefarious Czars at the helm. It is time to stand up and make some noise or we will lose our hard won liberty to thugs and thieves. Speak out Americans!

    August 30, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  4. former enlisted

    I don't agree with republicans trying to hijack the tea parties as if all the sentiment is shared by the Bush Cheney people, most on the ground are still just as upset about all that crap as well. Sorry, the new tea parties were Libertarian but not covered as well until Fox news saw the opportunity to encorporate it as if it were anti Obama. Not even close bible bumpers.

    August 30, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  5. carlos, that one

    why not call it the clueless and nerd express, that would be more in line with those in that group, and, funded by a conservative group? enough of their stupidity

    August 30, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  6. Robert

    Proof that in politics, what we hate most in the opponent is what "our own people" are doing:

    From the article: "I believe he's trouncing the Constitution and taking control of our country in a direction we don't want."

    "I think he has a hidden agenda, and I think he doesn't tell the truth and that in itself bothers me."

    it's an accusation against Obama that exactly describes the prior administration.

    It's astonishing that this can go on like this and people don't notice what they're doing.

    August 30, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  7. John Black Hills/SD

    There are nut shavings in your tea bags people. This claim must be true since a few clowns humiliate themselves nationally as they claim to believe President Obama is attempting to turn a republic into a socialist nation. Have these tea bag brains considered researching socialistic models of political governance. Look at the picture for the image of idiocy. Say goodnight Johnny.........

    August 30, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  8. gail

    Most of these people screaming "socialism " have no idea what it means. Most of the voted for Bush and had no problem with him spending billions on war, but because this President wants to help the poor have a better health insurance and health care it is somehow , socialist? Most of these folks protesting are drawing Social Securit, I want all of them to stop taking it right now, since that is a government program and I want them to stop taking the medicare , which is a government rrun health care option as well. What hypocrites!

    August 30, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  9. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    What a pack of morons. Do these idiots even understand remotely the meaning of "Socialist"?

    No I thought not.....

    August 30, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  10. L Gary Lambert

    Carville and Rowe, how much time do you give a person to bring about change and improvement...particularly to a person who is required to negotiate with impertinence and work with impatience among his people. I think you haven't given him enough time, like maybe a year or two, to make a difference. Stand behind this young man and let him hear encouragement , not criticism. He would appreciate it, I'm sure. Nine months are hardly enough or adequate!

    August 30, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  11. Peoples Voice

    They say they are not a mob, but show up with signs on pitchforks. They show up with handguns and semi-auto rifles. They call themselves right wing terrorist.

    Their preachers pray to God to give President Obama brain cancer and preaches how much he hates him. (google or utube Faithful Word Baptist Church).

    They aren't mobs. They just look and act like mobs. Mobs of morons.

    They will find out they are not the majority, silent or not. We the decent people of the United States of America are the majority. They are just a bunch of nutcases.

    August 30, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  12. carlos, that one

    he says he will not be a socialist, he looks like he is on MEDICARE and getting SOCIAL SECURITY checks every month..........not thinking as usual

    August 30, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  13. Shelly

    We continue to see and hear from people who have been brainwashed by fear mongers and deceptively incorrect information. Ignorance and self absorption will be the downfall of this great country!

    August 30, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  14. Fan of Common Sense

    I basically agree with these people on the issue of taxes and their dislike of socialism. However, we have lived in a partially socialist society since FDR's new deal. The social security and medicare programs are both socialistic in nature. I haven't heard anyone at these rallies suggest that either of these programs should be repealed. Socialism is like red wine. It can be healthy for a country as long as it is used in extreme moderation. 🙂

    August 30, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  15. former enlisted

    Some lady at the tea party waiting for a politician to offer her solutions. I feel we need a test in this country for voters if you have no clue then you have to go back to work on voting day, better yet the spot on the ballot that says no faith. I'm here to vote because I care but neither of the two politicians preapproved for me to vote for are near my honest approval. That would win in so many states!

    August 30, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  16. S M R

    These people are selling out their own fellow citizens.

    August 30, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  17. Republicans Suck

    Next stop: Lala Land

    August 30, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  18. J.C. - Independent & Insured

    If you think your good life will last under a health care system without a public option, you will be very disappointed. I am a fiscal conservative against Wall Street bailouts, but our economy badly needs a Public Plan. Perhaps the non-profit non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation can provide you some facts for you to think about before it's too late.

    August 30, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  19. No Hillary = No Obama

    It's socalism for the rest of us, but lifestyles of the rich and famous for Obama – renting a $35,000 a week compound! How self-indulgent and what a poor model while people are losing their homes and jobs.

    August 30, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain

    America the Beautiful, home of the ignorant! These people need to read the Constitution and then take a close look at the Bush Administration, that did indeed trample the Constitution.

    We are so far from a Socialist country, it's not funny. However, under Bush, we were definitely heading toward a totalitarian state (or at least a feudal one, given how the wealthy were favored).

    Where was these folks' anger back then?

    August 30, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  21. Sandra, Atlanta

    Tell Carolyn Rowe that Bush and Cheney already trounced the Constitution. Where was the "Tea Party" when they and the Republicans were in charge and putting this country in so much debt? That's just pure hypocrisy!

    August 30, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  22. victim of republican greed

    Several hundred of the Glenn Beck 'Beckerheads' are out spreading their lies, hate, and fear. What a group of morons.

    August 30, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  23. Henepenny

    It seems that the Republican party values money over life except when it uses the abortion issue as a guise to pretend to care about quality of life. Do you ever hear a Republican say that we must make life better for all or do they only care about themselves? Watch the Fox talking heads like Hannity or O'Reilly and see how many times the health care issue is talked about and how the purpose of health care is not talked about! The cost is all that matters but what if it was their family member that had no insurance? False idols!!!

    August 30, 2009 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  24. victim of republican greed

    I hope the Joneses who are in their 60's know that social security, and medicare are social programs. like most hypocrits, I'll bet they will take the socialistic money the day they are eligible.

    August 30, 2009 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
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