Around a hundred conservative activists protested in Nashville Tuesday over revelations the Internal Revenue Service singled out tea-party groups for extra scrutiny. Similar protests took place in Chattanooga and cities across the country.
The event was largely symbolic, with the federal courthouse substituting for the IRS. In terms of a show of force, turnout was not bad, albeit a far cry from a few years ago, when a thousand or more filled legislative plaza to protest taxes and the healthcare overhaul.
Before rain and wind scattered the crowd, Conservative activist Ben Cunningham said the backlash against the IRS could help drive voter turnout next year.
“The tea party has been trending away from public rallies and that kind of thing. This obviously is a great turnout and I think people are very motivated by this issue.”
President Obama has sought to defuse the matter, calling partisan IRS scrutiny “outrageous.” The fight may not change things much in Tennessee, since conservatives have already come to dominate state politics.