Tea Party treats: Randy Demmer, REAL ID, Medicare and immigration


At a Mower County Tea Party forum in Austin, Minn. on Monday, MN-01 Republican congressional candidate Randy Demmer affirmed his support for REAL ID (a national identification system) and his support for Arizona’s SB1070 law.

The Hayfield Republican also noted that he opposes government-run health care program for all people, citizens and undocumented immigrants alike. Moreover, Demmer asserted that undocumented workers should not be allowed to buy policies under a private health care insurance system.

Here’s a video based on his remarks:

According to MPR’s Votetracker, Demmer was one of 30 legislators who voted against a bill that prohibited the implementation of REAL ID.  The ACLU’s website devoted to the measure sums it up:

The Real ID Act of 2005 would turn our state driver’s licenses into a genuine national identity card and impose numerous new burdens on taxpayers, citizens, immigrants, and state governments – while doing nothing to protect against terrorism. As a result, it is stirring intense opposition from many groups across the political spectrum.

The conservative libertarian Cato Institute, the Campaign for Liberty  and Congressman Ron Paul oppose REAL ID. It’s surprising to hear Demmer tout this measure at a supposedly small-government event. However, those Tea Party members opposing  a costly national identification thought by many to be intrusive do have two other conservative candidates to pick from: Lars Johnson and Steve Wilson.

However, it doesn’t seem that the Austin area Tea party members are independent of the TEA Party, regardless of how much it leader asserts her group’s independence.

Curious about what a Tea Party forum run by a local Republican activist–and featuring three right-of-center congressional candidates in one forum–I drove down to Spam-town on Monday after to take in the show. The evening ended up being more education than entertainment.

The forum was fairly low-key and sparsely populated. I counted 30 people in attendance, including the candidates, their staff, and family members, at the event’s beginning after 5, though a few more people trickled in.

Formerly a board member of the Mower County Republican Party, Mower County TEA Party organizer and host Cindy Stevens protested too much and frequently that the event–and Tea Party itself–was nonpartisan. Then, after Stevens thanked everyone for coming at the event’s close, the forum moderator stood and announced the County Republican meeting across the hall. This seems more convenience than coincidence.