Gov. Jim Douglas' Deputy Chief of Staff Dennise Casey said the governor was not surprised that such a large group would come to the statehouse to ask for relief.
"There are a lot of great things about Vermont but the not so great thing is the tax burden, which according to Forbes magazine is the highest in the country," said Casey. She said the governor is hoping Vermonters will push back on a legislature that she quoted him saying "is completely divorced from reality". Douglas considers it encouraging and welcome to have Vermonters come to the statehouse with their message. "We can't ask them to pay for a government that is unwilling to make tough choices," said Casey.
Not everyone is on board with the governors welcoming attitude. State Senator Claire Ayer (D. Addison County) said she "didn't see or hear any tea party activities." State Senator Harold Giard (D. Addison County) did not reply to requests for comment.
Organizers of the tea parties stressed that the protests were not driven by Republican or Democrat ideology, and were not about the Obama administration or the Bush administration, but were simply a wakeup call to both parties that many people are extremely concerned about spending and government. They were disappointed if unsurpised at the reaction of the media, who vilified and belittled the protests and those who participated. "We saw such a vitriolic response on the part of the collectivist media, but they had no good argument against the protests," said Bernier. "It was just nasty."
Mike Grace acknowledges that it can be difficult for independently minded people to join groups of this type because typically they tend to be individualists and not "joiners". He says he believes most people are in the middle of the road politically, and cites the symbolism the founders saw in the American Eagle's two wings-one of which is compassionate and problem solving, the second more analytical and pragmatic. When both are in sync, the Eagle flies straight and true. Thomas Jefferson, among others, warned that if either wing becomes dominant, the country would drift into anarchy or tyranny.
Grace said more activities are planned for the future, and he hopes to keep the momentum going and to expand the group through regular meetings.
Apparently alluding to the Jefferson eagle, Grace said "I'm finding that the more people I talk to, whether Democrat of Republican, they are coming down on the side of being fiscally conservative and socially liberal."