While covering last week’s (overwhelmingly peaceful) Tax Day Tea Party, I came across a few Tea Partiers jawing with counter-protesters led by Alex Lawson, whom I had encountered exactly a year earlier at the first TDTP. What I didn’t realize was that the man who was arguing with him, “Patriot Mark” Hoffman, was the same man I had videotaped issuing a veiled threat to Alex at last year’s event.
The coincidence is rather stunning, and I think it provides a unique opportunity to examine the Tea Party phenomenon from a fresh angle. A lot has happened in a year, yet Alex, Mark, and I found ourselves in almost exactly the same spot.
To catch you up, here’s a few minutes of video from both last year and this year. Alex was leading a group called “Billionaires for Wealthcare,” the same group who punk’d an AHIP meeting with a musical protest in October.
In last year’s video, Mark is the one who asks “When’s the last time you got your ass kicked?”
This year, I happened upon them as they were reminiscing about last year’s Tea Party, but I didn’t recognize Mark until a reader pointed him out.
While Patriot Mark seemed to calm down by the end of this year’s protest, he was apparently still pretty hot at Alex, sending him this message via Facebook:
Subject: well we meet yet again.i see you have some background in protesting. not sure if that makes you a true bleeding heart liberal, a hired gun, or just an assclown looking for his camera time. if its the first i have some respect for you. however i feel its the other two. im sure our paths will cross again. take care. life is hard, wear a helmet.
He followed up with this, many hours later:
Re: well we meet yet again.too chicken to reply to me. shocker. and i thought i lived dangerously.
Alex forwarded me the messages, along with some choice cuts from Mark the Patriot’s Facebook page. He’s started something called the “Angry Mob Division” that confronts “crashers” and counter-protesters. He described such an encounter in DC:
i simply wispered a few things in the ears of the crashers and they decided it was time to head back to mommies basement. now what i said to them i will not share so use your imagination.
Alex says that, while he respects the Tea Partiers’ First Amendment rights, he doesn’t think threats of violence toward counter-protesters have a place in the Tea Party movement. He also noted that Freedomworks did a good job of trying to keep things in hand.
I asked Mark Hoffman if he wanted to respond for this article, and why he felt the need to resort to veiled threats to get his point across. In the interest of fairness, I’m reprinting his response in full: (expletives deleted)
as for last years question to alex. its like this, if i saw a man doing anything dangerous i would ask him a similiar question. ie, playing chicken with a bus, walking a high wire, sticking your head in an alligators mouth or like in the 3rd die hard movie, when john mcclain was forced to walk in harlem wearing a big sign that says i hate n***ers. if i were to witness any of these events i would be compelled to ask that person when was the last time…….? do you follow me? im really not a violent person. i dont like guns, however i do carry one for work. i drive a big monster truck for work too. i dont hunt, fish, own any rebel flags or camo, dont drink beer or use tobacco. so i definately am not a redneck. i have more friends that are black or gay or latino than most guys. so my question to alex last year was strickly from an observational angle.
alex does these things to get his 5 minutes of fame. not because he really cares. he is fake. we, the angry mob division, do find it funny that you libs hate authority until youre in charge. hate the police, until u need them. hate the wealthy, until u need their money. etc etc. bottom line is you fear the tea party! we cant be stopped and you know it. this little experiment in obamunism is a big f***ing failure. the day is coming where every american must choose a side. the side of what made this country great, or the side of hope and change. doesnt look good for your side does it?
and what about the attack in new orleans? which side is getting violent? it will get worse. so be it. alex is a poser and he would be wise to not step in front of the tea party bus. mark
From his point of view, I suppose Mark has a right to be angry. He is convinced that the people who run his beloved America are cut from the same cloth as Ronald Reagan’s Soviet “Evil Empire,” that they hate America and want to destroy it. While Freedomworks, and other organizations out to harness this movement’s energy, have shined it up a lot, they’ve done nothing to correct that fundamental, epic lie.
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