Americans for Prosperity hosts fake grassroots rally with Sarah Palin, pretends to be “non-political” – PHOTOS

So much anger, so much hate, so much astroturf

Yesterday, Americans For Prosperity held a fake grassroots rally called “Patriots in the Park” in Belleville, Michigan near the Detroit Metro Airport. Around 400-500 tea party supporters and Sarah Palin fanatics showed up to bake in the hot sun to witness an event, dubbed “Kochstock” by LOLGOP, bought and paid for by the conservative group that bills itself as a non-political 501(c)(4) nonprofit group. This nonprofit status allows them to hide their donors and to sponsor these types of events around the country as long as they don’t support a candidate.

The result was a several-hour long anti-Obama, anti-Democrat hatefest where not a single Republican candidate got mentioned.

[Note: all photos are mine, taken with my iPhone. Do not hold my wife responsible for this (low) level of photography ; )]

LOLGOP and I went together (in disguise, of course.) Here I am, sporting my AFP t-shirt and wearing my “Don’t believe the Liberal Media” button:

We arrived around 3:30, long after the noon starting time. Thankfully, the two people I most wanted to see, Janice Daniels and Sarah Palin, hadn’t spoken yet. Here’s the scene as we arrived:

Tea Party Troy Mayor Janice Daniels began speaking nearly as soon as we got there. It was a short speech, only a few minutes, mostly whining about the recall effort against her, seeming to suggest that the expression of democracy (the recall) is somehow un-democratic. She also suggested that her son is fighting in the military to save us all from Saul Alinsky-trained radicals. Who knew?

Here she is looking at … something.

The event was emceed by the tea party whackadoo Thayrone X, an aging and boring wannabe who fancies himself a real rabble-rousing right-wing renegade. Here’s a blurb from his website:

Come on in. Your audio g-spot will now be massaged by the mink glove of soul via super fine programming 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…Once your radio is tuned into COOLARITY RADIO your antennae will go up real high and never come back down! Shivers and chills will run up your leg, the kind that Chris Matthews can only dream about…This website and all it’s content is approved by The Council To Free The Gay Feminist Bolivian Whales Defense Fund…Thayrone X, Minister of Information for The People’s Ethnic Gender Coalition of Choice and Non Choice for Diverse Rainbow Movement and Environmental Sexual Justice and Color.

Edgy. Not.

Here he is with Janice Daniels who, apparently, enjoys having her audio g-spot massaged by the mink glove of soul:

Thayrone mentioned Sarah Palin multiple times, describing her as a “stone fox” and a “hot babe”, and complaining that he was not being allowed to introduce her.

The last time I saw this guy, he was emceeing a rally for the tea party doctor Rob Steele who was, at the time, trying to unseat John Dingell. I wrote about that rally HERE. Steele was at this rally, too, as a candidate for UofM regent (where he is going to get creamed by my friend Mark Bernstein):

The guy on the left with the über-patriotic shirt is Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Michael Warren.

Out of the 400-500 people there, I saw exactly five African Americans. Three were in the vendors area, clearly part of a group.

Here’s what the crowd looked like. In this first picture, you can spot an African American person if you look very closely and aren’t blinded by the white:


Happy, smiling people. Not.

There were, of course, the obligatory signs. Here’s a coupla fun ones:

Here’s a good American patriot:

Good thing there’s no violent rhetoric at tea party rallies:

Speaking of patriots, this photo was accidental but ended up being my favorite of the day. Notice the woman toward the bottom. Such happiness and joy!

LOLGOP heard this same guy call the president “a communist”.

Sarah Palin adorers were everywhere. In fact, if she wasn’t the headliner, they never would have had 400 people there. It was a level of adulation and reverence that I haven’t seen since the Obama rallies of 2008.

This guy proudly posed for me:

There were speakers to promote the ballot initiative to force a 2/3 vote in our state legislature to raise taxes. There were speeches about the horrors of the new bridge to Canada. There was ranting and raving about Governor Snyder’s support of creating a state-based health insurance exchange as required by the Affordable Care Act. They actually called it “Snydercare”! Sndyer was, in fact, bashed heavily.

And then it was time for the main attraction: Sarah Palin in the flesh. She was introduced by an AFP guy whose wife spoke on stage right before him. “I’m sandwiched between my wife and Sarah Palin,” he joked. Palin came out and jumped right into her folksy, relaxed speechifying.


[Might have to have a caption contest with this photo.]

Her speech was truly just a string of the same rhetoric we’ve heard from her for the past four years. She played the “death panels” card. She played the “Hopey Changey” card. She played the “tort reform” card. She said she’s proud to “cling to my God, Guns and Constitution”. She played the “lamestream media” card. The woman who ran Alaska largely on Big Oil dividends ranted about creating a “competitive economy”. She said “Energy is our stimulus” and, in addition to playing the “Drill, baby, drill” card, tried a new one: “Mine, baby, mine.” She actually seems to believe that we can get off foreign oil with American fossil fuels.

It truly was a “Sarah Palin’s Greatest Hits” event.

Palin spoke for 35 minutes but, because of AFP’s precious (and I do mean precious most sincerely) nonprofit status, she never mentioned Mitt Romney’s name once. It was pretty astonishing really. She did however, hammer President Obama almost continuously the entire time. Everything from Fast and Furious to outsourcing and Obamacare.

The event was scheduled to end at 6:00 p.m. but, by 4:30, they were done. Here’s the field at 4:40:

This event had all the trappings of a true grassroots event. Except that it wasn’t. It was paid for by Americans For Prosperity. As is typical of them, they are tapping into the anti-Obama, anti-liberal, anti-Democrat fervor of the tea party and are using it to build up the hatred leading up to the election. Because they aren’t allowed to mention candidates, their rallies end up actually being MORE political because they become single-mindedly focused on maligning the Democrats and our President. (Actually, Thayrone X didn’t appear to have gotten the “don’t mention the other guys” memo. He made a statement at one point that “Everything that is wrong with our country started with the Democrats.”)

The adulation of Sarah Palin is almost unseemly. Women in the crowd were clearly in love with her but the men … well, my wife calls it “political porn”. She’s right. Between one emcee calling her a “stone fox” and a “hot babe” and another one talking about being sandwiched between her and his wife, Sarah Palin is, for her male admirers, little more than a political porn star, a sexual fantasy figure.

What this does for women in politics is horrendous. As Republicans wage their War on Women across the country, they are promoting an unhealthy and flagrantly sexualized role for their female politicians. You would never hear about a Democratic female speaker being referred to or introduced in such a fashion. The fact that Palin allows it says pretty much everything you need to know about her and about her political party.

But the bigger story here is that AFP held a political rally to gin up anti-Democrat anger and not once was their presidential candidate mentioned.

That’s a metaphor for Romney’s entire candidacy.

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  • http://twitter.com/hoi_polloi23 Kelly Weaver

    Props to you and LOLGOP for managing to stomach that trainwreck. Old people baking in the sun listening to hate rhetoric is not my idea of a fun weekend.

  • Aleck

    Chris, Nice work!

    You might be interested to know that the gentleman wearing the red, white, and blue shirt in your picture with Rob Steel is Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Michael Warren.

    He’s the Judge that administered Janice Daniels’ oath of office.

    These tea party loons…they’re everywhere!

    • http://eclectablog.com Eclectablog

      Thanks. I’ll update.

  • Sally

    I tried to listen to her speech online for about a minute…could not stand the screeching and the same old crap. The really interesting thing were the comments on the site. These people not only want her to run, they want her to run with that great American kicked out of the Army for torturing a prisoner, Allen West! Good Lord…are they all braindead? I am in MI too, and noted that this event was ‘free,’ but I’m sure Americans for the Wealthys’ Properity paid Sarah well, and wondered at the real numbers, and the posters saying they were at the event described the crowd as ‘massive!’ Yeah, I guess when Mitt draws 50, Sarah drawing 8 times that seems massive. These people are certifiable. I do hope we can vote all theTPers out this fall. Thanks for the headsup on the UM Regent guy…I will make sure not to vote for him.

  • TeacherPatti

    Chris, I’m glad that you mentioned the sexualization (sp? is that a word?) of Sarah P. It reminds me of a post that I recently saw on FB, from the group “the other 98%”. A woman was holding up a sign (I think it was in favor of taxing the rich or something). Almost every comment on the picture was from guys saying how “hot” she was and how it helped her message that she was “so hot”. Whenever I have tried to call people out on those comments, inevitably responses range from “we’re men, we like to look!1!!11!” to “men likes tits” to the ever popular “it’s just a joke!”. I honestly don’t know how to stop those kinds of comments.
    And FWIW, I wasn’t comfortable with women talking about how “cute” Clinton was (ew, sorry but if you my president, you ugly…I can’t really explain it. Maybe it’s kind of how I am with students? If you on the other side of the desk, you ugly :) ) or how “hot” Obama is. Granted though, those comments were fairly rare, compared to the Palin ones.

  • wendy

    Good thing you were in disguise, you have to stay safe brother! Did you see/hear Sen. Patrick Colbeck there?

    • http://eclectablog.com Eclectablog

      It’s possible. All those hateful white men look and sound alike to me ; )

      • dan@aol.com

        Put a rag in it sister! or get a bucket of white paint and a brush. flith mouth.

  • Aquagranny911

    OMG!!! This is the best laugh I’ve had all day. You & LOLGOP are too much!

    Old Sarah better start wearing a scarf around that wrinkled neck. You can Botox your ass off but necks & hands give away your age. She is starting to get that shop worn look. She must be getting desperate to come all the way from Alaska to Michigan to speak to 400 brain dead people.

    I know it’s Sunday & that’s not charitable but sometimes truth can be painful.

    ♥ Kiddo & I did like your “dorag”

  • physicsmom

    I believe the “mine, baby, mine” mantra refers to the vilified Pebble Mine in AK, which will threaten the fishing industry in Bristol Bay, the largest in the state. There are others, of course, but that’s the most visible one.

  • Aquagranny911

    I do have to add a serious comment to your diary. Sad as it is, we women are so used to having our appearance, our sexuality & our brains evaluated, often denigrated & used to determine just how we are received that it is too easy to fall right into it.

    However, Sister Sarah & too many of her Repugnant ilk use this like a casting couch to get what they don’t deserve by their own accomplishments that it leaves them open for scorn. So, I do not apologize for taking them at their own word.

    Is this fair to women? Hell, no! But it is what it is until we change it.

  • Pangolin

    Not surprisingly these are the only pictures of the Palin/AFP rally online. Apparently even the Republicans get tired of the lies they tell themselves about how popular they are.

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  • Lewis

    Sally – How did you listen to the speech? It wasn’t online.

  • dizlz

    This is classic! Thanks for a job bravely and very well done. You may need to clean your lens as C4Pers are claiming upwards of 5,000 in attendance and you could only see about 10% of them because of the smudges. They would never overmisunderestimate would they???

    I so hope the kind folks at the IRS are keeping an eye on these non-profits………….Really.

    • http://eclectablog.com Eclectablog

      Detroit News said 400.

      • Mr Gulo

        Everything in detroitnews.com references the event in the future tense, as in their events section. Here is the most recent reference on their website about the event:
        http://events.detroitnews.com/belleville_mi/events/show/268181806-patriots-in-the-park-featuring-governor-sarah-palin

        • http://eclectablog.com Eclectablog

          Guess you didn’t see this one: http://is.gd/8NyTYT

          “…Palin TOLD a cheering crowd of at least 400…”

          Past tense.

          • Mr Gulo

            Gotcha! Tiny detail — this was her estimate of people sitting in chairs when she was there. She surmises the total attendance was larger which is why she qualified her number with “at least” (I spoke with LAUREN ABDEL-RAZZAQ on the phone a few mins ago) She indicated she in no way intended to imply that was the total number who attended as she said she had no way to ascertain that. Anyway, nuf said!

    • Mr Gulo

      What part of this was brave? The part where he dressed up to avoid confrontation?

  • Mr Gulo

    Some of your points are right-on. The part about Thayrone — fully agree; if he made that comment about Ms. Palin, or anyone else, he’s a moron. But why are you bashing white people for getting together? The event wasn’t valid because you didn’t see enough people of color? How do you know there were only 400 in attendance — and why is that so important to your story?

    As for your pics: Seems like you wrote your article then found supporting images. Lady holding the “violent rhetoric” poster? That’s an ad for a paperback by Cameron Reddy available at Amazon for $14.36 and it carries a 5-star rating. So someone promoting a book with a gun on it makes the event violent?

    Your pic of the crowd, the one where you refer to “blinded by the white” is this your way of driving home the point you had already made that this was an event that was not racially diverse enough for you?

    Posting pics of people looking unhappy. Nice touch. That takes some real skill. Wonder what your story would look like when 20+ passed out at the Obama rally.

    In your final pic, you show a thinning crowd at 4:40, for “an event scheduled to end at 6″ … which is to say what?? That the, as you referred to them, “fanatics showed up to bake in the hot sun” should have stayed longer to bake more? What I do notice in that final shot: How clean the grounds are. Nah, don’t mention anything positive. Stick to making fun of others and referring to them all as one small group, guilty of being overly white and possibly too warm.

    You began with:
    “This nonprofit status allows them to hide their donors and to sponsor these types of events around the country as long as they don’t support a candidate”
    only to end with:
    “But the bigger story here is that AFP held a political rally to gin up anti-Democrat anger and not once was their presidential candidate mentioned.”
    Wouldn’t supporting any candidate violate the five things 501s can’t do in an election year?
    Sure sounds to me like you’re just as “anti” and “angry” as were sun-baked fanatics that cleaned-up after themselves and left before 6pm.

    • dan@aol.com

      Palin is nothing but a “BABY FACTORY”!!!!!! A broken one at that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/katrina.ellen.7 Katrina Ellen

    I was there. Amazing the hatred you have for middle class hard working Americans who are Taxed Enough Already. Just open your wallet and hand it to the government if you are that enthused about handing over all the money you earn. We don’t mind. The Tea Party is a grass roots group, no matter how much you try to deny that, and we are not going away, we are the average middle class american – the sleeping giant who has awoke. Not that I am trying to convice anyone who visits this site – but I must say you are the haters and hypocrites whining about “so much hate”. Have a good life!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kitty-Smith/100000047475312 Kitty Smith

      Keep pretending that you are, and maybe one day it’ll become true.

      • Mr Gulo

        Kitty, Maybe this was your intent, but I would guess your comment likely did nothing except to reinforce the attitude that Katrina already had. Just FYI for you: I’m not sure what your comment even means. What part was she pretending? What might one day be true?

    • Mr Gulo

      Hey Katrina! Right on!. How about the white bigotry part? I’m guessing this group would also make fun of PGA, NASCAR, Olympic swimming… All those white people in one place at the same time! The nerve! Is “bigotry” too strong? Well… ”
      a person or group obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one who exhibits intolerance or animosity toward members of a group”
      … that seems to fit. Hang in there … the showdown is only 112 days away. Let’s continue our rally and like “he” said in 2008… we must hope for change.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/P-Howard-Dilling/100000035817118 P Howard Dilling

    Sarah Palin is too ignorant to play anything than the First Lady of White Trash.

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  • sodakhic

    The thing is, and the loony left knows it, Sarah could stir up a massive movement whenever she wants.

  • Mr Gulo

    Clever and well thought out response Dan!

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