A Tea Partier Comes to Washington: A Comedy of Errors

Stephanie Mencimer's Mother Jones tale of a Tennessee Tea Partier's "quixotic quest for justice on Capitol Hill" abounds with bumbling moments that demonstrate the disconnect between the Tea Party movement and the Washington establishment.

There's the Harry Reid intern who, when served with a class-action health care reform lawsuit against his boss, tells a reporter who's asked the spelling of his name, "You can stop talking to me now. And that's off the record."

There are the navigational struggles faced by a group of Tennessee activists weaving from office to office on Capitol Hill: "At one point, as the group is trying to hook up with Juster, who is the designated driver, they get so turned around that Dawn laughs, 'We're not Washington insiders, are we?' To which someone else mutters, 'Thank God.'"

And then there's the question of how to serve the class-action suit to the president:

[Irion] moves on in search of the White House mailroom, which is rumored to be at 1800 G Street NW. When he arrives, though, the security guard at the building has no idea what he's talking about, so Irion decides to head directly for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., under the notion that service can be achieved at a "residence or office." On this brutally hot afternoon, he approaches some Secret Service agents outside the White House.

... You can imagine how that ends.

Mencimer is tagging along as Van Irion, a Ron Paul-backed House candidate in the Tennessee GOP primary, attempts to serve copies of his class action suit to Reid, Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Eric Holder. With 30,000 individuals on board as plaintiffs, the suit attacks the health care law on tenth amendment grounds.

Read the full account of Irion's quest at Mother Jones

Presented by

Nicole Allan is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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