Just because their candidate didn't win the election doesn't mean Pasco County Republican Party leaders are sitting on the sidelines.
President Barack Obama's stimulus package and proposed $3.6 trillion budget have galvanized some activists to employ the same tactics as their forebears and host "tax tea parties" to give national politicians a piece of their minds.
"This federal spending plan is going to leave us with incredible debt," said Ann Bunting, president of the Spirit of '76 Republican Club and wife of GOP state committeeman Bill Bunting. She said she organized tonight's protest at Sea Pines Civic Association after several people called and said one was needed.
The party is one of many being organized across the United States. Many are being publicized by Freedomworks, a conservative group chaired by former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey, who spoke at a recent tea party in Tampa that drew 150 people.
At least two other parties are being organized in west Pasco to coincide with the deadline for filing income taxes. One is sponsored by a group called the Pasco Patriots and will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. April 15 outside Gulf View Square mall at the southwest corner of U.S. 19 and Embassy Boulevard. The other says it's happening the same day in New Port Richey but does not list a time or place, according to the Web site taxdayteaparty.com.
Tonight's party will feature club members dressed in Revolutionary War-era costumes. Bill Bunting will appear as a Minuteman, complete with a tri-cornered hat. Ann Bunting said the costumes have been used in parades over the years.
Those attending will get to hear Pasco Property Appraiser Mike Wells and former state Rep. Ken Littlefield, who is running for the County Commission seat now held by fellow Republican Pat Mulieri. Bill Bunting said the club also invited Mulieri to the rally.
Attendees will get the chance to send copies of a preprinted letter to congressional representatives expressing their opposition to the budget, along with a cut-out of a tea bag.
"It will be done in a respectful way, of course," Bill Bunting said.
Ann Bunting admitted that the Bush administration also spent a great deal of money, but much of that was tied to combatting terrorism.
"(The Obama administration) is doing way more spending than they did," she said.
Local Democrats said they have no plans for rallies but have sponsored activities supporting the president and his proposals.
"We've been doing things on an ongoing basis," said Alison Morano, chairwoman of the Pasco Democratic Party. One example is a group called Club Change, which meets monthly and does public service to help those hit hardest by the economic downturn.
"We're always doing things on behalf of the economic recovery," she said.
Lisa Buie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 909-4604.