Well, it seems that today’s Tea Party protests were, for the most part, a rousing success, with over 200,000 attendees at hundreds of different locations all across the country. Not bad for the middle of a work week. So, who are these people and why did they take to the streets today?
Some would have you believe that they’re fringe group kooks with sinister motives.
Democrats and other skeptics are desperate to dismiss the tea parties that popped up across the country today. Kansas City political consultant Steve Glorioso told The Star they were being staged by the “same far right fringe characters driven in large part by talk radio.”
This eagerness to explain away this movement is telling, suggesting the skeptics see these gatherings as a real threat. Certainly the tea parties have an anti-Obama slant, but what we’re seeing is something outside the normal dynamics of Democrat-Republican tension.
In fact, as Glenn Reynolds writes, in some cases established politicians haven’t been allowed to speak at all.
The good news for Republicans is that, while the Republican Party flounders in its response to the Obama presidency and its programs, millions of Americans are getting organized on their own. The bad news is that those Americans, despite their opposition to President Obama’s policies, aren’t especially friendly to the GOP. When Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele asked to speak at the Chicago tea party, his request was politely refused by the organizers: “With regards to stage time, we respectfully must inform Chairman Steele that RNC officials are welcome to participate in the rally itself, but we prefer to limit stage time to those who are not elected officials, both in Government as well as political parties. This is an opportunity for Americans to speak, and elected officials to listen, not the other way around.”
Likewise, I spoke to an organizer for the Knoxville tea party who said that no “professional politicians” were going to be allowed to speak, and he made a big point of saying that the protest wasn’t an anti-Obama protest, it was an anti-establishment protest. I’ve heard similar things from tea-party organizers in other cities, too. Though critics will probably try to write the tea parties off as partisan publicity stunts, they’re really a post-partisan expression of outrage.
This is a genuine grassroots phenomenom. Various facets of the GOP coalition and conservative movement are trying to leverage this movement, but the movement was there first, and it took off after Rick Santelli’s famous rant in Chicago. It isn’t clear yet what the tea party movement is all about, but it can’t be dismissed as something that simply arose from shadowy GOP organizers.
However, from everything I”ve heard, read, and seen, that wasn’t the case at all. They were just ordinary Americans, fed up with an out of control government. The events were so diverse today, it would be futile to try and post representative links. Check out Hot Air, Istapundit, PJTV or try Googling something like april 15 tea party to try and get a flavor of what happened.
So why do hundreds of thousands of average, everyday Americans take to the streets in protest in the middle of a work week? It’s actually quite simple.
The Natives Are Getting Restless
Spending Like A Drunken Sailor On Crack
The Blueprint For The Total Destruction Of The United States Of America
The Shot Heard Round Chicago And Spreading
See If You Can Read It Before Congress Passes It
Filed under: Blog Entry Tagged: | 2010 Budget, Barack Obama, Congress, Economy, Glenn Reynolds, Hot Air, Istapundit, Michael Steele, PJTV, Pork, Rick Santelli, Steve Glorioso, Stimulus, Taxes, Tea Party Protest