Al Hays said he was a longtime Republican Party precinct chair in the Houston area, cheerleading for Gov. Rick Perry and the state’s GOP leadership.
On Saturday, Hays drove to Austin to join more than 600 fellow Texans at a grass-roots State’s Rights Rally on the Capitol grounds that roused more than two hours of cheering as speaker after speaker charged up a take-back-our-country agenda.
"We stand on the cusp of a new era," said George Scaggs, director of NewRevolutionNow, a group demanding that the Legislature pass a so-called nullification resolution to block the federal government from enacting President Barack Obama’s health care initiative and other unfunded and what they say are unconstitutional federal mandates.
"This is a fledgling revolution, that’s what it is."
Added Austin resident Peggy Venable, Texas director of Americans for Prosperity, "We’re mad as hell at the direction of government and we’re willing to fight to change it."
Businessman Adrian Murray, president of the Fort Worth 912 Project, another take-back-your-government group, said the federal government is violating the Constitution "and should be viewed as a hostile power … a clear and present danger to the people of the United States."
"The time has come for people to rise up and defeat their anti-American, Marxist agenda," he said of the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress, as the crowd cheered.
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A sign in the front of the crowd read: "Oust this regime."
With rhetoric that was at times reminiscent of Ross Perot’s third-party presidential campaign nearly two decades ago, and sometimes echoed the invective hurled during the states’ rights movement before the Civil War, speaker after speaker served up their harshest criticism of Obama and Congress.
But Perry and his GOP re-election challenger, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, and state lawmakers did not escape the anger. Other signs read: "Vote ‘Em Out," "Perry: The Next Unemployed Texan," Hey, Governor. It’s Time To Go!" and "Throw Out Kay Bail Out."
When state Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, started to speak, he was initially drowned out by boos and catcalls. "He is in the system. He works for The Man," read a large sign waved nearby by a man with a dry-erase board.
"If we were called into a special session if I think there’s a good chance the nullification resolution would pass," Wentworth said after leaving the stage.
January 19, 2010