• WHAT: First meeting of Manteca Tea Party group known as Manteca Patriots
• WHEN: Tonight from 7:30 to 9 p.m.
• WHERE: Chez Shari restaurant, second floor of the Manteca Golf Course clubhouse, North Union Road
• MORE INFO: Go to www.mantecapatriots.org
Frank Aquila initially felt like it was his job to lobby the San Joaquin County McCain campaign to make a push for a little-known governor from Alaska to fill the Presidential ticket in 2008.
Knowing that she had what it took to shake up the Republican party right down to its foundation, Aquila stood by with a wide-eyed grin on his face as he watched the bespectacled mother of five transform from the Governor of an isolated state to a “rockstar” that brought a level of excitement to politics that could rival the energy that Barack Obama seemed to generate.
It was such a big event in Aquila’s life that he even penned a book about not only his experience with the McCain campaign but about what she can do for the country moving forward as well – titled Sarah Palin: Out of Nowhere.
Once Palin’s staffers caught wind of the book and screened a copy, they invited Aquila out to Iowa to meet her on her coast-to-coast tour that just happens to be stopping in the key primary states where the Republican Presidential hopefuls are campaigning.
“It was awesome to get the chance to meet and talk with her. She told me that she had already signed a couple of copies of the book,” Aquila said. “That was really cool to hear. It was great to see her interacting with the crowd and the number of people that came out to see her.
“There was this moment when we were supposed to get our picture taken together but after her speech she just got mobbed backstage like a rockstar. You can tell that the people want her to run, and that she’s dedicated to putting everything out of her mind and to stay focused just to get this guy out of office.”
Aquila also had the chance to strike up a one-on-one conversation with Palin’s husband Todd, and delivered a letter to him from Pastor Mike Dillman inviting the couple out to the 2012 Memorial Day Celebration – the largest of its kind on the West Coast. Aquila said that Todd Palin seemed interested, and would forward the information along to see if it can be worked out.
Based on the knowledge he’s accumulated and what he’s learned about the news cycle, Aquila even thinks he knows when Palin will declare her candidacy – September 17 - which just happens to be Constitution Day. It’ll be far enough after September 11 to not get drowned out and not early enough in the year to compete with parents that are getting their kids ready to go back to school.
“It’s Constitution Day, so it would be very fitting for her to announce that she’s going to run for President on that day – I’d be really surprised if she didn’t announce then,” said Aquila – a self-taught political activist that champions causes that he believes in. “She’s the only one with any backbone that can go stand up to the corrupt forces in Washington D.C. and not back down.”
Tonight Aquila will be throwing his weight behind the newly formed Manteca Patriots – the local chapter of the Tea Party movement that will be meeting at Chez Shari at 7:30 p.m. Seeing another grassroots political movement taking hold in Manteca – the same way his South San Joaquin Republicans did – reassures him that local people are looking for change.
“This really shows that conservatives aren’t by themselves anymore,” Aquila said. “They’re forming and they’re fighting back and they’re taking advantage of avenues to educate people on what’s really going on.”