‘Spending Revolt’ bus tour reaches out to grassroots activists

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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NAPLES, Fla.—When it comes to protesting runaway government spending in the age of Obama, conservative activists are hitting the road in buses to take their message to the grassroots.

“Buses are popular now,” said David Williams, the vice president for policy of the Citizens Against Government Waste, while riding along “Alligator Alley” on I-75 here in Florida on the “Spending Revolt” bus tour.

“It’s really a way to connect with the people,” he said, noting the everyday-man feel of trekking in a 72-foot long bus.

This cross-country bus expedition — sponsored by Americans for Prosperity and several other conservative groups — is holding town halls and rallies in towns all over the U.S. to draw attention to what they say is the government’s reckless spending on the national credit card.

But putting on a bus tour is no easy feat: the organizers of the “Spending Revolt” bus have seasoned experts to help. One such person is Johnny Williams, the owner of a company — and ten buses — that specializes in political bus tours. Past clients — and passengers — of Williams’ buses include GOP presidential candidates Pat Robertson, Bob Dole, and George W. Bush. In 2008, he drove Republican Sen. John McCain’s “Straight Talk Express.”

“I like Sarah Palin,” Williams said, reflecting on the former vice presidential candidate riding on one of his buses, while standing outside his bus.

Other sponsors of the tour include Concerned Women for America and 60 Plus.

On Tuesday afternoon, about 30 people showed up to a small rally at a veterans park here in Naples to hear representatives from the sponsoring organizations talk about how liberals once called them “crazies,” but “the united voice” of the grassroots is now being heard.

“This is the most scared Congress I’ve ever seen,” Jim Martin, the founder of 60 Plus whose claim to fame is that he gave former President George W. Bush his first job out of college, told the assembled crowd Tuesday. “And that’s thanks to people like you.”

Another well-known organization this year, the Tea Party Express, has also drawn large crowds with their three bus tours across the country over the last year. On Wednesday, they announced that they plan one more bus tour before the election, to be titled, “Tea Party Express IV: Liberty At the Ballot Box.”

But unlike that Sacramento-based group that has helped guide Tea Party-backed candidates to victory in Republican primaries this year, the coalition of groups sponsoring the “Spending Revolt” tour is not a political action committee, and therefore does not endorse candidates.

But that hasn’t stopped supporters from writing political messages on the “Spending Revolt” bus with sharpie pens — as organizers encourage activists to do. “Rush is right, Obama is wrong!” one activist wrote on the bus. Other marks on the bus include, “Audacity of Nope” and “Thanks Ba-rack, now we’re Ba-roke.”

Organizers of the “Spending Revolt Tour”— which The Daily Caller is embedding with this week — plan to tour the country until the November election.