Tea Party Day: One Day Phenomena, A Total Bust Or A Sign of Things To Come?

Governor Rick Perry of Texas added cinnamon to the nation’s tea parties yesterday when he said of politicians in Washington DC, “They’re overturning the rights we had one by one, making choices that would leave our founding fathers scratching their heads.”

Perry recalled a line by Sam Houston: “Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression.”

That’s pretty much what people expressed in about 1,000 public tea party gatherings across the United States from Boston to San Diego yesterday.

We at Peace and Freedom think the president and his White House staff made a big mistake yesterday by ignoring or belittling the tea parties, the people that feel wronged who participated and the fact that Mr. Obama is not proclaimed the Messiah by all despite his rhetoric and Democrat majority in Congress.

Apparently not wanting a damaging video clip, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs wouldn’t even say the words “tea party.”  “I don’t know what they are,” he said.

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From the Dallas Morning News

For perhaps the only time Wednesday evening, the masses assembled outside Dallas City Hall grew quiet as the man who drew them there, Phillip Dennis, hunched over a wooden lectern, his eyes narrowing.

“We will be called haters, and we are. We are haters of big-spending politicians. We will be called racists, and we are – we are members of the human race,” Dennis, a McKinney resident, said as silence turned to roars.

Such moments encapsulated the spirit of area “Tax Day Tea Parties” – unapologetic public rallies that involved Republicans, conservatives and libertarians railing against government expansion, federal taxation and, ostensibly, the government of Democratic President Barack Obama.

At least eight North Texas municipalities, and about 1,000 municipalities nationwide, hosted tea party events.

Police estimated several thousand people attended the Dallas event, with protesters waving yellow “don’t tread on me” flags and a variety of signs alternately decrying taxes, panning a federal economic stimulus package and chiding Obama as a socialist/communist.

Becky Hanshaw, wearing a pink papier-maché pig hat atop her head, said she drove 10 hours from McAllen to attend the rally because “it’s time to stop the craziness.”

“I work too hard to give my money away,” said Hanshaw, a dental hygienist. “This is a message to both parties, because I don’t believe the Republican Party is conservative enough.”

Read the rest:
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/
dws/dn/latestnews/stories/041509dnmet
teaparties.d8880855.html

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From The Washington Post

As a tea party, what happened in Lafayette Square across from the White House yesterday was a washout.
.

There were no buttered scones, none of those dainty cucumber sandwiches and, as it happens, not a spot of tea. Organizers of the conservative protest were told at the last minute that they didn’t have a permit to dump a million tea bags in the square, as they had planned.

Instead, they served up a rather noxious brew.

“Hey Big Brother: Show us Your Real Birth Certificate,” said one sign in the rain-soaked crowd.

“Blackbeard Obama, King of the Tax Pirates,” said another.

A third showed the president dressed up as Steve Urkel, the nerdy black kid with big glasses and suspenders from “Family Matters.” “Did I do that?” the sign said, showing a graph of the economy plunging.
Young girls wore T-shirts printed with the message “Don’t tax me, bro” — a play on a protester’s famous “Don’t tase me, bro” cry at a John Kerry event.

Those messages might explain why Fox News, though actively promoting the “tea party” protests for tax day, tried to argue that it was not behind yesterday’s coast-to-coast events. But Fox News analyst Tobin Smith, who took the stage in Lafayette Square yesterday, evidently didn’t get the memo. “On behalf of Fox News Channel,” he told more than 500 mud-spattered demonstrators, “I want to say: Welcome to the Comedy Channel of America, Washington, D.C.”

After a few preliminaries, he went into a Fox News commercial for anchor Glenn Beck. “Anybody watching Glenn?” he asked to cheers. “That was a shameless plug, wasn’t it? Glenn says hello as well. He’s out at another tea party.” Indeed he was, as were Sean Hannity and Neil Cavuto.

A small group of counterdemonstrators, wearing ballgowns, tuxedoes and pig snouts, interrupted and were stripped of their signs. Smith seized the display as an opportunity to highlight the Fox News slogan. “You know what ‘Fair and Balanced’ means?” he asked. ” ‘Fair and Balanced’ means we take our message and try to overcompensate for their lack of message.” Smith left with instructions: “Keep watching Fox, will you?”

The theme was echoed in some of the homemade signs the demonstrators carried, including “Watch Fox News,” “Thank You Fox News,” and even a recommendation: “Move Glenn Beck to 7 PM.”

Without the spectacle of a 1773-style tea-bag dump in the square, the handmade signs became the focus of the event. Though ostensibly an anti-tax protest, it was more of an anti-Obama festival. Among the messages: “The Audacity of the Dope,” “O Crap” and Obama as an acronym for “One Big Awful Mistake America.” Some messages were ugly (“Napolitano — Obama’s Gestapo Queen,” “Hang ‘Em High Traitors,” and a sign held by a young girl saying “Victim of Child Tax Abuse”). Others were funny (“Don’t Talk to Me! I Forgot My Teleprompter”). Certain ones had sinister overtones (“Tax Slavery Sucks,” and “Obama bin Lyin”). Then there was the guy holding a Cabbage Patch doll by its hair with the message: “My kid’s growth stunted by your stimulus.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/cont
ent/article/2009/04/15/AR200904150317
7.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Michelle Malkin:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/04/
15/massive-tax-day-tea-party-usa/

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From AFP
One of the bigger demonstrations took place in Washington near the White House, where about 1,000 people waved placards including “Stop Big Government” and “Taxation is Piracy.”

“My money is disappearing,” said one protestor, Marilyn Henretty 70, a retiree. “We are tired of being taxed without representation.”

Police told the rally to disperse after someone threw tea over the White House fence.

Fox television news — which along with conservative radio shows gave intensive coverage to the event — showed footage of a crowd in Sacramento that it said numbered 5,000.

Much smaller rallies took place in New York, Boston and Chicago, and other cities in Democrat-leaning California.

Around 1,000 people attended an event in Santa Ana, south of Los Angeles. “The tax situation is just getting out of hand and spending is out of control,” said protester Daniel Flucke.

In Miami — a city hit hard by the collapse of the real estate market — around 200 people turned out at the downtown Bayfront Park.

Many demonstrators carried American flags and signs with anti-Obama and anti-tax slogans. One placard even suggested a change of job for the US president: “Obama for president of Cuba,” it read.

“People are here to… bring Congress under control and ask Congress to start acting like adults,” Ken Clark, a Miami resident and protestor told AFP

Dick Armey, chairman of the conservative Freedom Works group, described the tea parties as “the shot across the bow as taxpayers defend themselves against out of control government spending.”

But Democrats scathingly attacked the tea parties as an imitation grass roots, or “AstroTurf” movement, manufactured by fringe elements of the right.

The tea parties “have been largely a creation of the same gang that already ran conservatism off the rails,” wrote David Waldman on the liberal Daily Kos politics blog.

Obama sought to catch opponents off guard by defending his policies at a meeting with working families at the White House. “I know that April 15 isn’t exactly everyone’s favorite date on the calendar,” he quipped, referring to the US tax filing deadline.

The man credited with sparking the protests is CNBC television commentator Rick Santelli, who called in February for a “tea party” to oppose government bailouts for mortgage defaulters.

The clip of Santelli’s angry outburst has been viewed on YouTube more than a million times.

The protests stand out for the use of Web-savvy marketing, something barely seen in McCain’s unsuccessful presidential bid.

That, says Odom, is one reason why the tea parties could be the start of something much bigger: a grassroots Republican movement able to match Obama’s formidable support network.

But liberals mocked the protests as a flop, even poking fun at Republicans’ seemingly innocent vow to go “teabagging,” which in slang means a sex act.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/2009041
6/ts_alt_afp/uspoliticstaxprotest_200
90416065633

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From The Washington Times
Tax Day “tea parties” were steeped in media Wednesday, and the brew was strong.

The hundreds of grassroots events staged around the nation to protest America’s tax burden showcased successful efforts by conservatives to mobilize thousands of participants via Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets. Liberals once dominated that realm.

“I have never seen such spontaneity. It’s huge,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, a group that organized a dozen events in Texas, Georgia, Wisconsin and other states.

“Grassroots activists organized protests of the war in Iraq for eight years. Now, we’re putting out the word on Facebook, e-mail networks; talk radio and print has played a role too. We’re doing what Americans do when they see a threat. They stand up and fight,” he said.

“I challenge the news media to wade into the crowds and talk to a cross section of 12 people, not just singling out the crazy looking person with an obscene sign as representative of the rally,” Mr. Phillips added.

Citizen journalists and emerging technology also came into play.

“We know the mainstream media is not going to offer a full range of coverage. Citizen journalism can do it better,” said Roger Simon of Pajamas Media, a news site that recently launched a sister online TV network.

“We’ve got 500 people reporting in using CelleCast, a service where they can report with voice, photos and videos over cell phones. It goes online within 30 seconds,” Mr. Simon said. “Yes, there are issues with editorial control. Mistakes will be made. But we’ll correct them right away too.”

Meanwhile, tea-themed coverage got rambunctious.

The bawdy “teabagging” joke popularized all week on MSNBC became a story on its own, inspiring more than 1,400 assorted accounts in print media and ultimately migrating to CNN, where David Gergen and Anderson Cooper gleefully riffed on the theme.

“I don’t recall that any tea party organizers ever used that term. It was invented during the coverage,” Mr. Simon said.

Fox News Channel became part of the story as well.

“Some on the left have mocked the tea parties as being fake grassroots. AstroTurf, they call it – a product of both Fox News and billionaire-funded, lobbyist-run conservative think tanks like the one headed by former Congressman Dick Armey,” said ABC News correspondent Dan Abrams.

His statement closely echoed an April 12 op-ed by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

Fox was also heavily criticized by press watchdog Media Matters for promoting a “culture of conservative paranoia” in its coverage.

“Fox News has engaged in anti-Obama political activism by aggressively promoting the ‘tea party’ protests, which the network has described as primarily a response to Obama’s fiscal policies. Fox News has repeatedly aired graphics describing the protests as ‘FNC tax day tea parties’ and has run advertisements promoting them,” said Eric Burns, president of the District-based group, in a letter to Fox News anchorman Chris Wallace.

“We trust that you are concerned about the effect of these actions on your network’s reputation and that of everyone associated with it and urge you to denounce them as inappropriate for a news organization,” Mr. Burns said.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/new
s/2009/apr/16/online-efforts-boos
t-tax-day-tea-parties/

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From The LA Times:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.c
om/lanow/tax-protests/

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From The Baltimore Sun

British expatriate Andrew Summers saw no irony in joining hundreds of rain-soaked protesters Wednesday in Annapolis for an anti-tax tea party modeled after 18th-century Colonial revolts.

“Justice is justice no matter where you’re from,” said Summers, who moved to Baltimore 17 years ago. “I’m tired of the government using us as an ATM machine.”

Protesters filled the Annapolis City Dock – one of hundreds of tea parties held across Maryland and the nation — to toss tea bags into the water, sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and listen to fiery speeches against the economic policies of President Barack Obama and Gov. Martin O’Malley. The protests were timed to coincide with the annual tax-filing deadline.

Organizers said the tea parties, promoted by conservative news media outlets, reflect burgeoning discontent with what they characterized as big government and out-of-control spending by Obama’s administration, which enacted a $787 billion stimulus package of tax cuts and funding for infrastructure and other projects designed to reverse a downward economic spiral.

Read the rest:
http://www.baltimoresun.com/busines
s/bal-teaparty0415,0,2689216.story

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