The truth can now be told. I wasted a beautiful Friday afternoon in Hudson with the Tea Party Express. I have nobody to blame but myself. I went in somewhat the same way that you can't keep yourself from looking at a car wreck on the side of the road. You know you don't want to see something bad, but as long as it's right there you want to see how bad it is. It was really more odd than threatening in the grand scheme of things.
Harsdorf special interestsHeadliner Joe the Plumber unfortunately could not make it. But since he's neither a Joe nor a plumber, I guess I'm just as well of fixing that kitchen sprayer myself as trying to hire him. I'm certainly not taking economic advice from him. But there were plenty of other Tea Party stars on the bus. At least once they started coming out. Two things were obvious right out of the gate - there weren't a lot of people on the bus, and they weren't in any hurry to confront the sizable group of protesters that were waiting when the bus showed up. The other thing that was obvious is that someone cannot spell, as the bus proudly proclaimed that the next Tea Party Express tour was taking place in August and Setpember. At least they were on message, as it was mis-spelled on both sides of the bus. Cries of "Spell Check" arose from the crowd. Which again shows that if you're going to piss off schoolteachers you need to be careful with spelling and grammar.
Hudson is a genuinely pleasant Wisconsin river town, and has more good restaurants than any city of this size deserves along with a charming riverside park which was the home of the rally.
Approximately 300 people were at the rally at the time we tried to count, and it appeared that the number of Tea Party supporters and the protesters were fairly even (we counted a few more people we thought were protesters, but it was hard to distinguish who supported what in a a lot of cases).
The first few speakers were pretty well accepted by the protesters, who mostly stayed at the back of the crowd at the beginning. But when Tea Party Nation founder Judson Philips referred to the protesters as "birth control gone wrong" the gloves more or less came off and the protesters became more raucous.