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St. Louis Tea Party calls Ford purchases a 'strike against big government'

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 30, 2010 - First it was Whole Foods. Now it's Ford. The St. Louis Tea Party group has announced that it is launching a new "BUYcott'' to help Ford Motor Company, as a reward for the automaker's decision against seeking federal bailout money, in contrast to its two main rivals, General Motors and Chrysler.

Ford is "a perfect candidate,'' said Gina Loudon, one of the local Tea Party leaders.

"Since Ford is the only American maker that remains in control of shareholders and not government agents and labor unions, the purchase of a Ford is a strike against big government," Loudon said.

Loudon and the local Tea Party crowd gained national attention last fall when they launched their first BUYcott, which asked allies to shop at Whole Foods, here and elsewhere, to show support for the grocery's founder and chief executive, John Mackey.

As the Tea Party group sees it, "Mackey was assailed by the hard left groups because he wrote a column in the Wall Street Journal suggesting that the solution to the health-care problem lied not with more government but with more freedom in the marketplace."

Loudon estimated that "over 1,000 people showed up in one two-hour period'' during the buycott, and spent more than $50,000 at Whole Foods, according to receipts turned over to Tea Party leaders.

"We launched the BUYcott to defend our free market economy against the forces for more government and special interest control," said Loudon, who ended up being featured on Comedy Central's "Daily Show with Jon Stewart."

"We showed that the country is full of patriots who are willing to fight by modifying their spending habits."

"Tea Partiers are encouraging every patriot to consider a Ford as their first car choice,'' the group said in today's announcement. "We are calling this the 'Ford for Freedom BUYcott,' "said Loudon.

"It is critical that we take a strong stand against creeping socialism. Buying any other American car make is supporting the parasites that have infected the host, so we are calling on liberty-loving patriots who are looking for a car to buy a Ford, and then send us a copy of their receipt so that we can tally our effect."

The group is asking that "confirmation of purchases'' be emailed to Loudon.

Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.