Jeffrey Allan McQueen, founder and president of www.USRevolution2.com in Rochester, is riding high.
“I’m on my way to Syracuse, New York, right now on the Tea Party Express,” he says, via an interview from the road. “Following them like a caravan, in an American-made Ford Bullitt Mustang.”
The self-styled patriot and entrepreneur has been at the forefront of the conservative grass-roots movement for almost a year. Last June, McQueen launched a business and, within two weeks, had customers in all 50 states.
His product: American flags. Not just any American flags, however; his pennants closely resemble those of Betsy Ross, but inside the circle of 13 stars is a large Roman numeral ‘II.’
The flag has become extremely popular, and McQueen estimates that he has sold approximately 10,000 flags from June 2009 through March 2010 — evenly split between Internet sales and various Tea Party events. His company has no employees, other than himself. “It’s just me. I’m a one-man tornado right now.”
When Scott Brown won the late Ted Kennedy’s long-held Senate seat in Massachusetts earlier this year, McQueen was there. His flag was held aloft in a photo that ran on the front page of The Boston Globe.
“The Boston Herald called us the new symbol of the Tea Party movement. It’s got a deeper meaning than the angry ‘Don’t Tread on Me (flags)” says McQueen, referring to the Gadsden Flag, a flag from the first American Revolution featuring a coiled snake. It was adopted early on by many Tea Party protestors, though it seems McQueen’s version is now in vogue.
The US Revolution 2 flags are manufactured in Humble, Texas. Having his flags made domestically is of great importance to McQueen. “I basically went to one of my buddies who supplied me with golf shirts and golf balls when I was in the auto industry, and told him I was tired of going to Tea Parties and seeing people carrying Chinese-made flags while protesting for their American rights. So I asked him if he could find me an American flag manufacturer.”
McQueen has the makings of a typical businessman. He responds to e-mails on his BlackBerry. He drives the aforementioned 2008 Bullitt, a Ford Mustang with a vanity license plate that reads “MCQUEEN.” He’s obviously very enamored of the car as photos of it appear on his company’s website, his social networking site, Second American Revolution, and in a YouTube video — shot by McQueen’s daughter during a local rally against President Obama’s health-care reform.
While his business is certainly taking off, having three consecutive months of record sales, there is a motivation that goes beyond simple revenue and profit margin. McQueen finds himself fortunate to be making money off of what, for some, is a symbol of the revolutionary spirit of the founders.
“I think, basically, the (Tea Party Express) targeted Michigan with the conservative message because they saw what Democrat and socialist liberal messages have done to damage the economy in Michigan,” he says.
Perhaps part of the reason that the Tea Party has gained such attention, besides their numbers and penchant for highly visible, outdoor demonstrations, is the open question of what the word ‘revolution’ means at this point in history. McQueen has no reservations about what the name of his company, US Revolution 2, implies, and although the first American Revolution was a drawn-out, bloody affair, he explains that not all revolutions are created equal.
“When you want to change something politically in any country, you have four boxes to choose from, the soap box, which we in the Tea Party use by speaking out publicly, the ballot box, which we’ll be using this Fall when we vote out a lot of incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, … the jury box, that’s where we take some of these guys and try them for treason, some of the things these guys have done in passing the health care law was clearly treason.” McQueen says, stressing that the only definition of treason is undermining the Constitution, which, he is quick to remind, is what all legislators have sworn to uphold. “The fourth box, which I don’t think it’s going to come to, I hope it doesn’t come to this, is the bullet box. Many of us in the Tea Party would never want to see that happen.”