Free Markets, Free People

Whistling Past The Graveyard

Ezra Klein does what a lot on the left are doing since the Tea Party in DC – trying to pretend it doesn’t mean much. He does it by deciding the crowd was 30,000 to 50,000 (note to Klein, that’s acceptable only if you declare you’ve never looked at a single crowd picture from Saturday). At that size, it is fairly equal to the largest of the anti-war demonstrations. With that as his premise Klein trots this out:

Remember when the Iraq War protests stopped the Iraq War?

Yeah. Me neither. Nor, for that matter, does Fox News, or Rush Limbaugh, which leaves me a bit confused by their joyous reaction to the Tea Party that took place in Washington on Sunday. Estimates peg it somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 people, which makes it an admirable bit of organizing, but not a contender for the protest hall of fame. What it seems, rather, is the progression of a broader societal trend: The advent of online organizing is making it easier to connect large numbers of like-minded people and ask them to attend a rally. It’s done that for politicians like Barack Obama, protesters of all sorts and stripes, and even flash mobs.

If this was a flash mob, it was the granddaddy of flash mobs. Obviously it wasn’t. In fact it appears that the correct crowd size is “several hundred thousands”. Speaking of estimates, I’m seeing more and more nonpartisan estimates at 400,000 to 500,000.

That’s one heck of a lot of people with no real leadership gathering to protest the size and scope of government. And that’s what elected officials should find disquieting about this gathering. Klein tries to imply this was a product of “online organizing”. But it doesn’t really seem to be the case. Certainly the date was thrown out there and there’s little doubt that emails flew among certain groups, but there was nothing, organizationally, which would even approach organizational attempts like ANSWER or others on the anti-war side used to get protesters together.

It was more like “if you’re in the area and you have a problem with what’s being done in DC, stop by”. And about a half million did (not to mention the thousands upon thousands that went to local event like those held in Ft. Worth, TX and Quincy, IL).

This should give politicians pause. If that many people can be convinced to leave their couches and head toward the nation’s capital, how many who couldn’t make the trip but agreed are out there?

But the politicos and many pundits seem bound and determined to ignore what happened. What happened Saturday happened specifically because the half million who did show up are tired of being ignored. If you listen to David Axlerod, though, they’re going to continue to be ignored. In fact, worse than being ignored, they’re being dismissed:

White House senior adviser David Axelrod told Schieffer about the taxpayer protests this weekend: “I don’t think it’s indicative of the nation’s mood. In fact, I don’t believe some of the angriest, … most strident voices we saw during the summer were representative of the thousands of town-hall meetings that went on around the country — that came off peacefully, that were constructive, people voicing their points of view. …

“But this is … one of the great things about our country, is that people can express themselves, even if they’re not representative of the majority. … I don’t think we ought to be distracted by that. My message to them is: They’re wrong.

The message to Axelrod and Klein and all others who plan to continue to ignore this movement as insignificant, unrepresentative and “wrong” is pretty clear. Their arrogance borders on that of Louis XVI of France. And if they continue pushing the agenda of bigger and more expensive government, their end will be similar – a complete loss of power.

They still don’t get it – this isn’t just about health care.

~McQ

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35 Responses to Whistling Past The Graveyard

  • “They still don’t get it – this isn’t just about health care.”

    So the question is, where is the conservative leadership? I agree there is a groundswell happening, but what I’m still not seeing is that entity which will fill the vacuum. RINOs and Demlites are not what we’re looking for.

  • Louix XIV wasn’t the one who lost power. XVI was.

  • Wrong question, me again. This is about a public that has become outraged with the current mob of self-serving louts. They are tolerated, until they become unbearable. They’ve reached that stage.

    I’m ready to start over, with a Federal Government that sticks to its charter, the Constitution. Not getting that, I’m perfectly content to toss this bunch out. They work for me. They’re fired. I can worry about the replacements after these ones are gone.

    I want to note that Kristin Gillibrand (NY) has voted to retain funding for Acorn. I will vote to dismiss her.

  • No, they really don’t get it, because non-progressive types aren’t typically the sort to take time out of their day to protest anything. This is a much bigger deal than any leftie protest of the same size. People are really pissed. Enjoy your last 3 years Axelrod.

  • Hmmm…if I didn’t stop by this blog, I would not have even known there had been a protest march! But I’ve always thought protests to be more noise than bite, which is one reason why despite being very much opposed to the Iraq war I never considered being involved in a protest or peace march. You can always get a crowd (by the way, photos tend to make a crowd seem bigger than it is — anything over 20,000 can’t really be verified through photos unless they are extremely comprehensive), and people in the crowd will always bolster each other’s sense that they are a major movement. Those agreeing with the crowd will always try to convince themselves they are on the edge of a new movement. It does serve to boost morale of the faithful, but not much else. One time I did go to a protest was at the University of Minnesota in January 1991, as Senator Wellstone spoke and a huge mass joined to oppose going to war in Iraq. Reading about similar protests across the country, I was convinced the public simply was saying no to war. A week later, the public was behind President Bush. Protest marches, I believe, are essentially meaningless.

    • Hmmm…if I didn’t stop by this blog, I would not have even known there had been a protest march

      ***

      That’s because you only read Pravda

    • I would not have even known there had been a protest march!

      That would be an indictment of the media rather then evidence that it is unimportant.

      I never considered being involved in a protest or peace march.

      But he would be involved in an all day “Teach-in” about the Iraq war with Cindy Sheehan. But never a protest or peach march…heavens, no.

      • Yeah, things with substance, like “teach ins” or talks informing people of events (though I’ve never been involved in one with Cindy Sheehan) have value that protest marches do not. As a teacher, any time I can work to help people learn about the world, I do it. A public talk does that, marching in a protest chanting slogans seems meaningless to me. And the idea that somehow there is a wave of anger sweeping the country is absurd. Some like minded folk are being organized for a few events, apparently, but to read more into that is wishful thinking — something both the left and the right do a lot.

        • though I’ve never been involved in one with Cindy Sheehan

          Yes you have

          A public talk does that, marching in a protest chanting slogans seems meaningless to me.

          The protests have speakers. You are making a thin distinction in order to convince yourself you are superior.

        • Erb,

          You could improve education simply by not teaching anything.

        • “As a teacher, any time I can work to help people learn about the world, I do it”

          So the blatantly false case studies are just there so that when students learn the truth, they absorb an important lesson on how the world works
          (i.e. authority figures lie for their own benefit). Bravo.

    • Erb: “Hmmm…if I didn’t stop by this blog, I would not have even known there had been a protest march!”

      If you didn’t stop at this blog, Scott, people might not know that you had married into the family of a former Russian Communist Party official, which I think has enormous contextual value for understaning who you are.

      So, the information exchange aspect of Q&O seems to be working for all parties.

      • If you didn’t stop at this blog, Scott, people might not know that you had married into the family of a former Russian Communist Party official, which I think has enormous contextual value for understaning who you are.

        ***

        Really?

        • Yes, but I’m sure that it’s just a coincidence that Scott’s “rap” is old-timey KGB propaganda, including the defenses of Cuba and North Korea. It’s just synchronicity and compatibility and stupidity. Nothing more, I’m sure.

    • “Hmmm…if I didn’t stop by this blog, I would not have even known there had been a protest march!”

      Stop for a moment Scott, and think about your statement. Then ask yourself how a march can happen, with estimates ranging from 50,000 to 2,000,000… and you say you ‘would not have known’. The very fact that the MSM is glossing over this should cause concern. Even if the march was 50,000 – is the MSM really doing justice by saying ‘thousands’? And if there really were closer to 200,000 gathered in DC to protest, doesn’t that warrant coverage? Or do you just ‘pooh pooh’ it all away and go back to Maine?

      • Actually, the reason I read a few blogs is to get diverse perspectives on the news. With two young children, I really don’t pay much attention to the media. I can’t remember the last time I watched the news on TV, or read something other than the local paper. It’s usually via the internet that I keep up with things outside of my academic interests. Time is precious.

  • me againSo the question is, where is the conservative leadership? I agree there is a groundswell happening, but what I’m still not seeing is that entity which will fill the vacuum. RINOs and Demlites are not what we’re looking for.

    I think that there are conservatives who COULD take the lead in this movement, but they are marginalized by MiniTru and the RINO’s who lead the GOP, both of whom have a strong interest in silencing such dissenting voices (witness John McCain’s immediate rebuke of Joe Wilson and the fight between Michael Steele and Rush Limbaugh earlier this year).

    Contrary to the ridiculous claim by TAO and his lackeys that opposition to health care takeover is purely a GOP initiative, the GOP has been pretty much MIA on this issue. Except for wondering which RINO (Enzi, Grassley, those two pinheads from Maine) will flip and give a thin veneer of bipartisanship to the takeover, there has been virtual silence from the GOP all summer. Yes, I know: the GOP allegedly has its own plans for health care reform. MiniTru has taken good care to keep this fact very hush-hush, which may not be such a bad thing as I suspect that any plan the GOP puts forward would be only slightly less objectionable than those we’ve seen from the dems. I’d wager that the GOP leadership would act just as quickly as Pelosi, Reid and Co. to quash any free market reform: the GOP has as little interest as the dems in seeing Washington robbed of ANY power.

    My (faint) hope is that out of the grass roots opposition to health care takeover will arise a wider political movement that will generate its own leaders. People seem to be waking to the fact that government should NOT run our health care system. The next step is a general realization that our government is huge, inefficient, and sapping our economic vitality, and that something must be done to reduce its size and power. Then the REAL fun begins as people try to thrash out what they expect the government (at all levels) to do that won’t bring us right back to where we are today.

    I don’t know if we’ve quite reached Lexington and Concord, or even the Boston Tea Party, but I think that there is a growing disillusionment in American with some of our institutions and a real fear about the direction we’re taking. What’s to be done?

    • “My (faint) hope is that out of the grass roots opposition to health care takeover will arise a wider political movement that will generate its own leaders.”

      I hope so too – and I hope they show up soon.

      • I think we need the structure of a major party to be effective. I see the GOP as the best bet.

        However, I also see little good leadership coming from the GOP. There are some exceptions, Palin is one, and Cheney has provided some devistating broadsides on the war on terror side of things.

  • In New York, Acorn has successfully attached itself to the electoral process through its front the Working Families Party, which insinuates itself into races statewide (including a local race in my town this year).

    She probably doesn’t want to run afoul of that situation, which can bring quick heat through its union associations.

    Proves that she’s a weak and gutless candidate.

  • “by the way, photos tend to make a crowd seem bigger than it is — anything over 20,000 can’t really be verified through photos unless they are extremely comprehensive”

    Are you for REAL? Is this professoritis – the tendency to speak authoritatively about everything, even when you know nothing?

  • My most serious advice to Mr. Axelrod and folks like Herr Doktar Erb – continue to believe there’s nothing to this, PLEASE.

    Whistling past the graveyard is exactly what both are doing.

    “Protest marches, I believe, are essentially meaningless.”

    For all your supposed worldliness, you are OBVIOUSLY too young to remember the late 60’s and early 70’s, pipsqueak.

    • Well, looker, I do remember the sixties and seventies. The protests did convince LBJ not to seek re-election, but as soon as Nixon started to pull out troops, the protests decreased. In fact, it was really the middle class turning against the war that made a difference; Nixon used people being afraid of the protests to appeal to the silent majority. Of course, there aren’t many protests going on in the US today, and this one was by all accounts an average, rather small event. The fact you guys want it to be big says more about your feelings of political impotence these days, and the fact you don’t like it. You want to recapture the feelings you had back in 2002 when it seemed like the GOP was riding a wave of popularity.

      Those days are long gone.

      • Further reflection on Professor Erb – do they issue you a teaching license? It should be revoked.
        One name – and then let’s discuss protest marches being meaningless, Martin Luther King.

        This one was not ‘by all accounts’ small, or average. The Euro’s reported numbers estimated in excess of 1.5 million (you DO love the Euro’s, but I guess today you’re ignoring them because it doesn’t fit your agenda).

        “You want to recapture the feelings you had back in 2002 when it seemed like the GOP was riding a wave of popularity.”

        No, this by all accounts was ‘people’, not ‘Republicans’, not even ‘Conservatives’. I’m not trying to ‘recapture’ anything, I’m just observing reality, something you continually cannot cope with.
        You just can’t get your head around the concept that you, your beliefs, your values, and your attitudes are not ‘main stream American’ can you.

      • The fact you guys want it to be big says more about your feelings of political impotence these days, and the fact you don’t like it. You want to recapture the feelings you had back in 2002 when it seemed like the GOP was riding a wave of popularity.

        Ad hominem much?

  • Ezra Klein and people of his ilk commenting on the Tea Party movement remind me of Chip Diller, the Kevin Bacon character in ANIMAL HOUSE. You can picture them with their arms in the air shouting frantically, “Do not panic! Our beloved leader knows what he’s doing! Trust Il Dufe and everything will be fine! Do not take to the streets!”

  • Oh dear, looks like some of those photos were fake… fortunately the MSM reported it while the bloggers were failing.

  • They ignore the gather storm at their own careers peril…

  • If half a mil show up just to yell and stamp their feet, just imagine how many will show up to get a free slab of politician ass to take home and mount over the fireplace, right under pappy’s shotgun.