The Freep's Brian Dickerson spent 24 hours at a Tea Party gathering

Detroit Free Press
columnist Brian Dickerson had a rip-roaring time at Mount Pleasant's Soaring Eagle Casino earlier this month when he decided to attend the Michigan Grassroots PowWow, an annual confab of roughly 400 Tea Party members. 

It's, uh, an interesting read. 

While Dickerson's entire experience is well-worth your time, we'll highlight one snip here — a cut featuring Michigan's Republican National Committee (RNC) member Dave Agema, who kicked off the PowWow (why the capital W?) with a stunning rendition of his previous social media posts.

Agema's prominent role in the PowWow is the reason several prominent Republican officeholders and conservative groups, including the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, have decided to steer clear of this year's meeting in Mount Pleasant.

But his appearance on the PowWow podium elicits the first of several standing ovations that he will get this weekend, and he wastes little time in attacking the "political correctness" gripping his party, which he finds "nauseating."

"If you're tea party, if you're ex-military, if you're a gun owner, you're a terrorist now," he says. "Well, I'm all three."

Over the next half hour, Agema takes on illegal immigrants ("97 percent are in construction"), homosexuals ("You will have more psychological problems, and you will die young") and the federal judiciary ("which is relying on foreign law to decide cases in American courts").

He wraps up his diatribe by urging PowWow attendees to run for public office.

"People tell me: 'But I'm not smart enough to run for state rep,' " Agema says. But he spent three terms in the House, and he's sure the least of those gathered in Mount Pleasant can run circles around most of his former colleagues.

There was the time, for instance, when Agema asked an unnamed legislator from Detroit to support legislation cutting state expenditures for entitlements.

Agema, in his most genuine form, recalled how flabbergasted he was by the conversation. 

"His exact words to me were: 'But my people needs those entitlements,'" Agema recalls. He pauses, letting the grammatical error hang in the air. "His exact words."

This is the guy the RNC cannot — cannot, they tell you — find a way, whatsoever, to remove him from his position. (Dickerson's colleagues quashed that line of thinking, too.)

About The Author

Ryan Felton

Ryan Felton was born in 1990 and spent the majority of his childhood growing up in Livonia. In 2009, after a short stint at Eastern Michigan University, he moved to Detroit where he has remained ever since. After graduating from Wayne State University’s journalism program, he went on to work as a staff writer...
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