Has the Mission Viejo Tea Party movement lost some steam?
Certainly that's not the case for the 38 or so protesters Monday night riling up passing cars at La Paz and Marguerite to support smaller government and lower taxes.
But since the first tax day rally in 2009, the number of protesters has dropped each year. Organizers estimated a crowd of 700 in 2010. In 2011 .
Attendants gave different reasons for the shrinking attendance. Tea Party patriot Lamar Kelsoe said not enough time was spent organizing the protest. Participants were told about two weeks before the event, he said.
Protester Karl Heft had other reasons. He pointed out the county Republican meeting was being held at the same time, which could have siphoned off some protesters. Monday is also a tough day for protests, he said.
He said election fatigue from the long Republican nomination may be wearing on some of the party faithful.
Heft also said some of the missing protesters might have been trying to figure out their taxes--"and how to pay for them."
Those that attended wore red, white and blue. There were depictions of eagles and lots of American flags were waved. Signs with clever phrases encouraged passers-by to vote against President Barack Obama in the November election.
Heft and his wife Janine brought their two young children to the protest. As "God Bless the USA" played on the loudspeaker, Heft and his son waved at passing cars.
"I love this song," he said as it started.
Janine and Karl Heft work together in mortgage brokerage. Karl is vice president of the California Republican Assembly, a volunteer wing of the Republican party founded by Ronald Reagan.
Karl said the Tea Party has drawn independents and some conservative Democrats into the Republican party.
"The government seems to be the only one without a recession," he said, adding that while other costs drop, taxes remain steady.
During the protest Todd Spitzer held up a package of traditional light bulbs. Spitzer, who is running for Orange County supervisor, said it was unfair of the government to phase out the standard lightbulb in favor of more efficient and more expensive alternatives.
Spitzer served as emcee for the evening protest, as he had last year.
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