Last night, President Obama held a fundraiser for senatorial candidate Richard Blumenthal at the Marriott Hotel in Stamford, Conn. The president’s welcoming committee included not only 300 donors who paid $1,000 each to attend, but also 100 tea partiers who protested the event outside:
Organized by the Connecticut Grassroots Alliance, the protest sported the usual tea-party trappings: signs, t-shirts, and American flags. The slogans hit on popular themes, like “It’s the arrogance, stupid”; “Socialism and America don’t mix”; and “Don’t Tread on Me.”
Yet the most prominent one was home-grown: “No Blumen Way!” The crowd reviled the Democratic attorney general. “I have an obligation to the rest of the country to not let Dick Blumenthal go to Washington,” Dave Sasso, from Woodbury, Conn., told me. “I’m doing this for my fellow Americans.”
Halfway through the event, Tom Foley, the Republican candidate for governor, arrived. He had scheduled an interview with the Associated Press in the area and decided to pay his respects while in town. He spoke briefly about the tea partiers with NRO:
As for President Obama’s speech, it was predictable. But one paragraph, in which he analyzed voters’ rationale for supporting Republican candidate Linda McMahon, stood out:
People are hurting and they are understandably frustrated. And a lot of them are scared. And a lot of them are anxious. And that means that even when people don’t have ideas, if they’ve got enough money behind them, they may be able to convince some folks that, you know what, just cast a protest vote, throw the bums out. That’s a mentality that has an appeal.
You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. . . . So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.