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Mike Littwin’s snarky coverage of the Denver Tea Party shows how little he understands about the protestors, the Republican Party, and the nation’s history. His errors are many, but they are not just his. They are typical of the liberal reaction to the tea parties; typical of people who can’t understand those who come out to protest without being paid.
It’s both untrue and petty to say that the protesters were there “to protest, well, whatever…” No, they were there to protest out-of-control government, primarily in terms of economics although a small minority of the protesters had other issues on their minds. And it wasn’t primarily about Barack Obama. As has been widely discussed on local talk radio since then, when some people tried to start an “Impeach Obama!” chant, other crowd members told them to quiet down as that wasn’t what the event was about.
Littwin and other liberal critics of the tea parties pick out a few anti-Obama signs, but the vast majority of signs were along the lines of “I work, you eat. That’s socialism”, “No! to socialism and trickle-up poverty”, and “I’ll keep my freedom, guns, and money. You can keep the change.” And the biggest symbolic message was the large number of Gadsden (“Don’t Tread On Me”) flags flying in the breeze.
Of course people do realize that Obama is not entirely to blame for the economic meltdown, but they realize that he’s mortgaging our children’s future. (For example, a recent Rasmussen poll shows people’s short-term economic optimism increasing as their long-term view becomes more pessimistic.)
It’s only someone desperately out of touch with Republicans who could claim that the crowd was “the face of the Republican Party.” It was no such thing. The crowd barely responded when any speaker said the word “Republican” and most speakers had the good sense not to say it. Indeed, the organizer of the event told me directly that he hoped and expected speakers who stray into GOP partisanship to be booed. It was a crowd of people who felt as betrayed by the Republican party, particularly at the federal level, as they feel abandoned and threatened by the current ruling Democrats.
Littwin talks about the “angrier faces in the crowd.” First of all, any such demonstration will have angry people, but this crowd, unusually for a large protest, was generally in a great, albeit cynical, mood, with the dominant chant of the day being a jeering “Where is Ritter?!?” Our courageous governor had left town for the afternoon, not surprisingly.
From calling the crowd angry (even though police officers at the scene said it was the best-behaved large protest they’ve ever managed), Littwin then moves to call the crowd “crazy”. When you can’t attack the message, slander the messenger, eh?
As for “what would Jefferson do?” Littwin sarcastically avoids what is actually a very good question. A quote from the author of our Declaration of Independence strikes me as applicable: “… [A] wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government ….”