Here are some observations on the April 15 Tea Parties. In all the news clips, I saw not a single person of color. I think this is because they were basically anti-Obama demonstrations with more than a tinge of racism. These demontrations were mostly not about taxes. They were about how President Obama is not a citizen, was not legitimately elected, and will take away your Second Amendment rights.
Then there is the question of attendance. Nate Silver who has been tracking this at fivethirtyeight.com reports his final total to be more than 300,000. He writes
promised that I wasn’t going to put much more work into estimating crowd sizes for yesterday’s tea party events, but here is one last update. The important thing is that we now have a credible estimate for Atlanta at 15,000 persons; we were previously relying on an estimate of 7,000 that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had initially made yesterday evening but then pulled back upon.
It’s not surprising that Atlanta had the largest turnout (in fact, the largest turnout by far, according to our collection of nonpartisan estimates). Turnout was much higher in state capitals than in other cities, and seems to have been much larger in the South than in other regions of the country. Atlanta, being by far the largest Southern state capital, therefore did very well.
His list ranges from the high point in Atlanta to 12 at the Fort Point, NY tea party. 300,000 is really not a lot of people when you think about it. Maybe the rest of us should be glad of that. As for the larger turnouts in the South, I believe that Southern whites just cannot believe that a black man is really President.
So what exactly do the Republicans do with this Fox New movement?
Dan Baltz wrote in today’s Washington Post
The teabag protests that marked tax day on April 15 represent an opportunity and a risk for the Republican Party. Opportunity because they offer a jolt of energy for a battered party after two dismal elections. Risk because they supply at best only a partial answer to what ails the Republicans
For now standing back and saying no to Obama may be enough. But opposition to Obama’s policies represents an incomplete message for a party seeking to regain power. Republicans still must confront larger questions of how they can appeal nationally and how they would govern were they given the opportunity again.
Will the Republican Party try to use the issues of the Tea Parties to try to revive? I don’t think that is the road back. I hope and believe that Americans are beginning slowly to more past issues of race and gender. Certainly the youngsters I see on the subway in Boston are often in mixed groups and couples are often interracial. Maybe the race issue and the anti-Obamaism is why more people turned out in the South. Plus we have that black president with very high approval ratings. We will probably find out how tea parties work as a strategy when we know the results of the Kay Bailey Hutchinson v. Rick Perry (king of the Texas Tea Party) race for the Republican nomination for Texas governor.
Here are two final looks are the Tea Parties. Tom Toles from the Washington Post
The Republicans should maybe remember Jim Jones.
And last but not least a link to Jon Stewart.