TLP: Yes, Virginia, It's the 21st Century

Tuesday, August 03, 2010 , , 0 Comments

tea party politics
Sleepy Virginia, which hasn't seen much real political action since good old boy George Allen pissed away his U.S. Senate career calling a political operative "macaca" on the campaign trail, is waking up — 18th century style.

The Washington Post goes back in time.
The original Tea Party may have been in Boston, but some modern-day "tea party" activists are finding a powerful narrative this summer at a different historic landmark: Colonial Williamsburg.

Amid the history buffs and parents with young children wandering along the crushed shell paths of Virginia's restored colonial city, some noticeably angrier and more politically minded tourists can often be found.

They stand in the crowd listening closely as the costumed actors relive dramatic moments in the founding of our country. They clap loudly when an actor portraying Patrick Henry delivers his "Give me liberty or give me death" speech. They cheer and hoot when Gen. George Washington surveys the troops behind the original 18th-century courthouse. And they shout out about the tyranny of our current government during scenes depicting the nation's struggle for freedom from Britain.

"General, when is it appropriate to resort to arms to fight for our liberty?" asked a tourist on a recent weekday during "A Conversation with George Washington," a hugely popular dialogue between actor and audience in the shaded backyard of Charlton's Coffeehouse.

Standing on a simple wooden stage before a crowd of about 100, the man portraying Washington replied: "Only when all peaceful remedies have been exhausted. Or if we are forced to do so in our own self-defense."

The tourist, a self-described conservative activist named Ismael Nieves from Elmer, N.J., nodded thoughtfully. Afterward, he said this was his fifth visit to Colonial Williamsburg.

"We live in a very dangerous time," Nieves said. "People are looking for leadership, looking for what to do. They're looking to Washington, Jefferson, Madison."
While the Tea Party tourists seek endorsements for their views from actors at a high-brow theme park, Virginia's present-day politicians are doing just fine with their own activism. A federal judge has allowed the state's challenge to the Obama administration's health care law to go forward in court. And Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is leading the health care case, issued a legal opinion that says law enforcement officials can ask the immigration status of anyone they arrest or stop for questioning.

The Huffington Post:
Cuccinelli's legal opinion, written in response to a conservative state delegate's request, could expand on a 2008 Virginia law requiring police to check the legal status of anyone taken into custody on suspicion of having committed a crime.

The opinion also explicitly compares standing Virginia law to the pending Arizona immigration law, which some Virginia activists see as a roadmap for their own state policy.

"Virginia law enforcement officers have the authority to make the same inquiries as those contemplated by the new Arizona law," Cuccinelli wrote. "So long as the officers have the requisite level of suspicion to believe that a violation of the law has occurred, the officers may detain and briefly question a person they suspect has committed a federal crime."
Before he goes too far along Arizona'a path (where he'll encounter a different federal judge) Cuccinelli may want to wander down to Williamsburg and see if "James Madison" cares to offer a little guidance on federalism.

The Lazy Paperboy

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.