About a thousand people gathered outside the BI-LO Center in downtown Greeville Friday evening — for another tea party anti-income tax/anti-government spending rally. While the messsages were conservative, the day was not all about Republican solidarity,Republican Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Gresham Barrett’s five-minute speech was almost drowned in boos.
Barrett voted for the Bush Administration’s bailout plan and that seemed to anger parts of the crowd, as some yelled at Barrett to “go home.”
Barrett’s reception got national attention this weekend, as well as the anti-Obama focus of this and other Tea Party rallies across the state.
Earlier in the week, Ken Hoagland, the national leader of the Fair Tax movement, appeared at a Tea Party at the South Carolina Statehouse and later that evening held a rally of his own. He says his followers have more in store this year than tea parties and rallies. He says the next step is town hall meetings nationwide.
“We’re getting in the faces of our elected representatives and saying, ‘Hey, time for a tax system that just doesn’t benfit the tax lobbyists.’ We need something that helps the economy and that’s simple, easy to understand, and fair.”
In another BI-LO Center area nearby, a rally against Governor Mark Sanford’s stance on taking stimulus funds was called “Save Our Schools” and had a more Democratic party bent. There were about 200 people there.