Tea Party “Patriots”?

Confederate patriots, that is.

Not so much.

Remember, opposition to Obama has nothing to do with race.

After all, the Confederate Battle Flag is the traditional symbol of resistance to community-rated health insurance.


Photo credit: Matt Yglesias

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

19 thoughts on “Tea Party “Patriots”?”

  1. I was puzzled by how little the official speakers said about health care, beyond the most general rejectionist claims. The exception was Betsy McCaughey, who at least addressed the specific legislation before Congress, but was the perfect demagogue. (She brandished that big binder she'd taken on The Colbert Report.) Without attributing racial motives to anyone, the atmosphere all afternoon was saturated with pure identity politics.

  2. 2.2 million, according to ABC News. Calmly done, no riots, no broken windows, no fights, no riot police. They even cleaned up their own trash, as opposed to the night of Obama's acceptance speech.

    Pay attention, Blue Dogs. This is no small thing.

    1. Per Jake Tapper of ABC, the network never reported a crowd estimate of 2.2 million. Googling finds no such estimate from any news source: the big numbers come from Vodkapundit, Lucianne Goldberg, Michelle Malkin. It appears that the same people who made up the “death panels” are still making stuff up, and still being believed. Please ask whoever told you that to show you the source.

  3. The estimate of 2.2 million is almost certainly wrong by a couple of orders of magnitude. The only ABC report I've seen reports an estimate in the tens of thousands. The crowd was no less, but no more, orderly than dozens of similar events I've seen during the last several decades in Washington.

  4. Today I have seen quite a few pictures of the demonstration in Washington, DC. The biggest set are over on wired.com, under "hottest links" #12. I went through it twice and could only see one person of any racial minority , the photographer was taking pictures of signs primarily. There are 82 pictures.

    This was not truly an american demonstration but a white racist demonstration. That is how it should be labeled. The picture do not lie.

  5. Ah! A mention of "death panels" at last! I have been awaiting a legitimate chance to ask someone about a passage from Montaigne's essay, "On Experience." After discussing his kidney stones and other ailments, he says, "I have recently turned fifty-six, six years beyond the age which some nations, not without cause, had prescribed as such a just limit of life that they allowed no one to exceed it."

    I feel certain that someone in the RBC will have the erudition to know what nations Montaigne was talking about. Those must have been some pretty mean death panels.

    Anyone have any clues? Montaigne wasn't just making it all up, was he?

  6. And here is a very "reality-based" comment:

    “Having government manage your health care is like having Michael Vick watch your dog." — Sign from the 9/12 Tea Party

    [You can tell which signs are not union-made handout placards distributed by ACORN because they are witty….and TRUE!]

  7. “Having government manage your health care is like having Michael Vick watch your dog.”

    Why, because a black man is at the head of it?

    Your skill-sets above the neck probably won’t recognize that Valerie Jarrett has a dude named Cass Sunstein waiting in the wings to do his “Administrative Czar” follow-up on legislation in order to “tweak” the Congressional legislation with an administrative “directive” obviating any legislation that disallows free health care for illegal aliens.

    You will, of course, kindly provide proof of such things.

    Or alternatively, the Ninth Circus Court of Appeals will rule, with Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, the clown who has a porn page on his official webpage on his 9th C—–. Ct. website, to rule that illegals are to be cared for whether or not they pay taxes…..

    Yet they never seemed to do so on the exclusion of illegal immigrants from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Perhaps you should actually read some immigration history rather than sitting and listening to Glenn Beck like your average drone.

  8. Googling finds no such estimate from any news source

    While it's normal practice to use the phrase, "tens of thousands", to refer to numbers between 10,000 and 100,000, since you can have 20, or 200, "tens", the usage was not technically a lie, just deliberately misleading. The desperation to downplay the significance of this gathering is pathetic, and the degree to which the domestic media were willing to play along should concern anybody who values an independent press.

    Anybody who saw the crowd photos from the event knows the "tens of thousands" estimates are a complete crock. I'd be shocked if 2 million was accurate, too, but the numbers were at least in the hundreds of thousands.

    1. Brett, ABC reports 60-70,000 attributing that number to the DC Fire Department. A casual glance at crowd photos is not an estimation technique. Do you have any basis for your "at least in the hundreds of thousands" figure? Remember, the roughly 1-1.2 million who came to the Obama inaugural paralyzed the city, despite elaborate crowd-control efforts. From the descriptions I've read, there's no way yesterday's crowd was within an order of magnitude of that.

      The one thing we can be absolutely certain of: the organizer of the rally said that ABC was reporting 1-1.5 million people, and ABC was reporting no such thing. These people lie just to keep in practice.

  9. Yet they never seemed to do so on the exclusion of illegal immigrants from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Perhaps you should actually read some immigration history rather than sitting and listening to Glenn Beck like your average drone.

    Don't even try with that guy. His comments are continuous streams of right-wing talking points. Nothing more.

    Cass Sunstein, Glenn Beck's current boogey man, was confirmed for his position by the Senate the other day with over 60 votes, including a number of Republicans.

  10. I'd like to welcome the RBC's first official troll. Everyone please "thank" daveinboca for his "thoughts." (And don't forget to pepper your comments with superfluous "quotation marks," italics and exclamation marks! They are the hallmarks of persuasion.)

  11. "A casual glance at crowd photos is not an estimation technique."

    It's not a precise estimation technique, at any rate. But saying it's no estimation at all is in "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?" territory.

  12. Take a look at the detailed crowd photos; people are pretty well spread out. That's not what happens when there are "hundreds of thousands" of people on the Mall. Someone who was actually there reports that the crowd "filled in the first and part of the second blocks on the Mall," and estimates the size at about one-third that of the September 2005 ANSWER rally, officially estimated at 150K. That's consistent with the ABC News-reported estimate of 60-70K from the Fire Department.


    If you weren't there yourself, and haven't consulted an actual expert in crowd estimation, it's not a matter of believing or not believing your eyes; it's a matter of not having a crowd-estimation module in your visual cortex.

  13. Two questions:

    1. Does anyone happen to know what is the state of the art in crowd enumeration? I would think that there has to be some software that (especially considering the level of resolution available in current digital photography) would be able to give a very precise estimate of the number of people in the area between defined boundaries at a given moment. At least this would make crowd sizes matters of fact rather than of opinion.

    2. What was the size of the crowd involved in the march to exorcise the Pentagon in October 1967? I had thought it was on the order of 50K. The absolute number may matter less than whether the crowd is reflecting a sea change in public opinion on an issue. McNamara had pretty much concluded that the war was unwinnable by the time of the march on the Pentagon, and public support for the war was starting to wane. I don't think that there has been any similar sea change on health care reform, and the Secretary of HHS still seems to be with the program.

  14. Considering the people who attended were actual taxpayers and legitimate voters, that may not have been the largest demonstration to hit Washington, but quite possibly the most important one.

  15. I see Mark K. is editing any remarks that demonstrate that he makes things up much more than the real reality crew, the one that pays taxes. I would expect no less from a moral leper who claims he is part of "The Reality-Based Community, as the leftist nasties simply cannot understand when superior minds like Tom Maguire's shows just as silly they [you] are, Mark.

    Your own facts make you into a Liberal Fascist, you know, the type that edits out any real facts that show you're a loser and a p.o.s.

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