17 April, 2009

Tea Parties – Great Kid! Don’t Get Cocky!

Reliable estimates put total Tea Party attendance somewhere north of 300,000. Perhaps even north of 500,000.

Tea Party organizers are giddy about these results.

The left and MSM continue to treat the events with scorn and ridicule.

They’re both right. And both wrong.

First, the left criticism that these are astroturf campaigns is both laughable and ludicrous. Laughable because it comes from the Soros-funded MoveOn.org crowd, who know a thing or two about astroturfing. Ludicrous, because if the GOP was really capable of organizing people this well, they wouldn’t have lost the last two elections.

However, the left is correct that these protests are dwarfed in size by many Iraq War protests and May Day protests (and we can bet that they will make sure that this year’s May Day events are huge, no matter how much astroturfing they have to do to get there).

The tea partiers are correct too. Let’s face it, most of these protestors were from the right or at least center right. Getting 300,000+ conservatives together to protest anything is amazing. Conservatism is all about individualism. It’s not about mobs. (It’s also about jobs and work ethic, but one could argue that I’m hitting below the belt here). There’s every reason to be excited about these numbers. Especially for a nascent “movement”, that doesn’t have a huge (or really any) organizational structure or backing.

But the tea partiers are wrong to call this a “movement”. This was one day out of people’s lives. Will they follow up? Will they hold their congressmen’s feet to the fire? Will they “throw da bums out”? Will they form a new political party? Will they fund their own candidates and get them to run? Will they go to future protests, town halls, etc? Will they call, write letters, go door-to-door? Until the tea partiers can prove they can do at least some of these things, they shouldn’t call themselves a “movement”.

There’s definitely some potential here, though, and both Democrats and Republicans ignore this group at their own peril.

So, call me skeptically optimistic. This could be the dawn of something huge for those who lean to the right. Or it could fizzle out and merely be a footnote about President Barack Obama’s (D-USA) first 100 days in office.

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