Musket-wielding reenactor a hit at conservative events

The Tea Party movement has a mascot, and his name is William Temple.

Temple, whose day job is preaching to an African-American congregation in Georgia, has been popping up at conservative events around the country, including the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville earlier this month and the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington this week. He’s easy to spot, no matter which of his 12 historical costumes he’s wearing, or which olde accent he’s adopted for the day.

On Friday at CPAC, when Gov. Tim Pawlenty addressed a blazers-and-khakis-clad crowd, Temple stood on a balcony in full Revolutionary garb, brandishing a Gadsden flag reading, “Don’t Tread on Me,” in one hand and a re-enactor’s musket in the other.

Over a few stray claps in response to an arousing line from Pawlenty, Temple could be heard loud and clear in a voice that recalled the British Isles of two centuries ago yelling, “Here, here!” as he thrust his antique firearm in the air.

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“I try to promote the history, the values of that time,” Temple told The Daily Caller, “to remind people that this is literally a real revolution going on right now. A second revolution.”

His re-enactor ensembles aren’t random — they recall specific historical figures, such as Button Gwinnett, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a Georgian, like Temple. “My favorite is British. Don’t tell anybody,” he confided.

“It’s not about Republicans, Democrats or independents, it’s about getting people back to the Constitution, cutting the size of the federal government.”

It is at least a little bit about money, however.

The 59-year old’s passion, outfits and accents have made him a hot commodity. Nearly every day, he said, he fields calls from organizers of conservative causes asking him to attend an event somewhere in the country. And, most of the time, they offer to compensate him.