Teabagging the establishment

Byline: | Category: Taxes & Spending | Posted at: Wednesday, 15 April 2009

At hundreds of locations in all 50 states thousands of ordinary Americans, many of whom have never waved a sign or marched in protest, will take to the streets to stand against high taxes and even higher government spending. 

As Glenn Reynolds points out today in the Wall Street Journal, the Tea Party movement is without leaders; it is a virtual organization of like-minded individuals who share a common purpose, but not necessarily a common party.  He quite correctly calls it post-partisan, noting that when Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele asked to speak at one event, he was turned down.  The irony is that President Obama, who will bear the scorn of many of the protesters, himself, gained office by campaigning as a post-partisan politician, a claim which now seems quite laughable.   

George W. Bush fares little better with the Tea Party crowd.  The only token for the former president is one of degree:  it took him two terms to rack up almost $3 trillion in additional debt.  His successor will do that much damage in less than two years.

As movements go, the movement’s success or failure will depend on where it goes.  If the April 15th protests are the culmination, then today will be a mere footnote in history, no more meaningful than other failed movements including the Million Man March, organized to bring men back into black families, and the Million Mom March in support of gun control.

The Tea Party movement, however, doesn’t follow the template of those earlier protests.  There is no high-profile Farrakhan-type organizer or a well-funded Brady Campaign organization behind today’s protests, so it remains to be seen if an Army of Davids can ever become more than a one-day mob.

In my memory I can think of only one other spontaneous movement, uninspired by any group or organization.  That was the Yellow Ribbon campaign during the Tehran hostage crisis.  While that was entirely symbolic–none of those ribbons represented actual efforts to rescue the hostages–it tapped into dissatisfaction with the status quo Jimmy Carter years, and probably helped to fuel Ronald Reagan’s eventual election.

The Tea Party movement, even if only symbolic, gives voice to a new dissatisfaction with Washington.  The hope of many protesters is that the movement goes beyond mere symbolism and into the realm of organizing to actively campaign and defeat status quo politicians and to usher in a new culture in government.  It remains to be seen if that will be the case, but if it is, it starts today.

I will be reporting today from the Nashville Tea Party protest at noon (CDT) on Legislative Plaza.  To find a Tea Party protest near you, click here.

RELATED:

Why you should attend a Tea Party
Revolution rekindled
Time to make some noise
Tyrannosaurus Debt

And Roger L. Simon notes that the national media appears to be protesting the protests.  However, if Nashville is any indication, the local NBC affililate had a story and advertised times and locations for all eight Middle Tennessee area Tea Parties, and even the daily fishwrap made mention of the downtown event on its front page.

You can follow the coverage all day at PJTV and Instapundit.

UPDATE:

While I’m preparing my report from Nashville’s Tea Party, enjoy a picture of some Protest Babes.

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2 Responses to “Teabagging the establishment”

  1. Instapundit » Blog Archive » BOB KRUMM: Teabagging The Establishment. Says:

    [...] BOB KRUMM: Teabagging The Establishment. [...]

  2. Becky Says:

    It’s anyone’s guess where this could go, but as person who believes in the free market, this is great; individuals deciding to do something that is in their own interest without a leader or being told. This is what the markets do everyday and no one sees it.

    Remember, Where would ERA be without Phyllis Schaferly?