Down East 2013 ©
Tomorrow that strange band of anti-government activists called the Tea Party will once again gather in public parks (you know, the ones paid for with taxes) throughout Maine to rail against perceived injustices.
They may not get as much attention as the topless march did  last week, but chances are there’s going to be someone dressed like Paul Revere waving a sign comparing Obama to Stalin on your evening news.
Journalists and pundits all over the country have already spilled plenty of ink examining the demographics of the tea partiers, their conspiracy theories, and the role played in their creation by Fox News, conservative activist groups, and the Republican Party.
What I’m more interested in, however, is their signage.
On April 1st, the Maine Heritage Policy Center held a Tea Party rally outside the Portland Expo during Obama’s speech. They were vastly outnumbered by supporters of health care reform and shared space with other demonstrators protesting for more liberal causes, like an end to war and immigration reform, but they were by far the loudest picketers and definitely had the craziest signs. Here are a few:
(for photos not taken by me, attribution is given in the image properties)
Not quite right
Even among the cacophony of the Tea Party, there were a few who were noticeably off-key. I have no idea what this sign means.
Credit where credit is due
I thought it was nice of this Tea Partier to thank their main corporate sponsor.
Improving our national discourse
I’m pretty sure that the reason Obama wants to kill seniors and babies is to grind their bones to make his oatmeal.
Somewhere, a political science professor has collapsed over his desk and is weeping into his tweed-covered sleeves.
The interesting thing about the protester on the right isn’t her sign comparing supporters of health insurance reform to suicidal cult members, that’s par for the course. No, the interesting thing is the Oxfam t-shirt she’s wearing. Oxfam is an anti-poverty organization which supports, among other things, universal access to health care.
When you’re surrounded by people clanging bells at eighty decibels and loudly reciting the pledge of allegiance, the only way to get your message across is your sign. That placard is your voice. You’d think you’d spend the time to spell-check it.
This is my favorite of the misspelled signs. A different, mangled message on each side:
Based on the political paraphernalia on display that day, the Tea Partiers have chosen their gubernatorial candidate. Paul LePage seems to have captured their support, perhaps because of his plan to cut government spending by a third (which Al Diamon notes  could almost be achieved by closing every middle and high school in the state) or maybe his nuanced view  on civil unions. Whatever the cause, LePage is popular among the Partiers. Some of their anti-health care screeds were actually written on the back of LePage for Governor placards.
The Tea Party signage is not so kind to two other Republican politicians, however. There were plenty of calls to vote out Senators Snowe and Collins along with Democratic Representatives Pingree and Michaud.
Some protesters even took things a bit further. Apparently not even their votes against health care reform can excuse Snowe and Collins for their crimes against the state.
If you’re looking for more faux-populist wackiness, don’t miss the Tea Parties tomorrow  (and be sure to send me  your photos).
If you’re looking to attend a political event that actually means something, you might instead head over to the hearing before the insurance commission  to determine whether Anthem can raise Mainers’ health insurance premiums by another 23 percent.
For the best sign from the Obama event, see the top of this post.