About 50 members of the Tea Party movement lined up outside the Murfreesboro office of U.S. Representative Diane Black yesterday, complaining they had been ignored when they tried to oppose raising the nation’s debt ceiling.
“Bye Bye Black! Bye Bye Black! Bye Bye Black!”
Tea Party members from Black’s sixth congressional district carried a multi-panel, 50-foot long sign reading, “Diane Black: $25 Trillion R U Serious? We Reject Your Road to Serfdom.”
Micah Forrest of Murfreesboro says he and others got little response from Black when they tried to oppose the higher debt limit.
“I’m asking the congressman when she’s going to tell us where she’s leading this country. They are leading this country in a direction that none of the citizens want to go in – financial debt! Financial servitude!”
Forrest was seconded by Tami Kilmarx of Franklin, spokesman for the group called the “Tennessee Tea Party,” who threatened political retaliation against Republicans who voted to raise the ceiling.
“They’re gonna have to lose their job. We were lied to. When I think about the good people here working last year, to get some of these fools elected, to sit in private rooms, and have these discussions, and,
‘I’m sorry, y’all just are too stupid to understand.’”
Kilmarx lives in Black’s district but her Tennessee Tea Party office is in Franklin, in the district of Marsha Blackburn. She says Blackburn also was reluctant to oppose Republican leadership.
Among Tennessee Republican Congressmen, only Scott DesJarlais and Chuck Fleischmann voted against the new, higher debt limit, winning the approval of the Tea Party.
Democrat Steve Cohen of Memphis also voted against raising the debt ceiling.
Black’s office released a statement saying that over the past seven months she and staffers had met “numerous times” with Tea Party activists on the issue.
The demonstrators said they hadn’t expected Black to be at the office, and in fact she was in Robertson County, donating surplus books to the county school system.
In a rambling, 40-minute speech, Micah Forrest expressed frustration with the reception that Tea Party activists had received. He urged the group not to give up their fight.
“Mr. Reid [Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat] said that the Tea Party might fade away. (Crowd mutters) Well I’m a member off the Tea Party, and I’m not gonna fade away, are you? (Crowd “NO!”) I’m as upset now as I was in early 2009.”
But the message was aimed mostly at Republicans who had benefited from Tea Party support. Forrest finished with a rhetorical flourish.
“The Tea Party is still here, Ms. Black. We’re at your doorstep on August sixteenth of 2011. (Onlooker: Where are you?”)
Forrest: Where are you!
Stephanie Genco, spokesman for Black, released the following statement.
“The Congressman’s position on the debt limit did not change over the course of the past seven months; in fact she and members of staff have met numerous times with Tea Party activists and held town hall meetings in every county to extensively discuss her position. Our door was open to the Tea Party members in Murfreesboro this afternoon but they were not interested in a dialogue. Today the Congressman was in Robertson County donating surplus books to Robertson County Schools, talking with Seniors in Orlinda and discussing job creation with the White House Chamber of Commerce.”