Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax Day Tea Party

This should be interesting. The right wing is pushing a nation-wide protest today. I don't know how well-attended it will be. I suppose I will know by the end of the day since my office is at the base of Boston Common, just below the Massachusetts State House, and I suppose I will hear the protests, as I usually do. See here for a web site about the planning.

On February 19th, Rick Santelli, via national news television, said what millions of Americans wanted to say, and he said it in a way that represented a rally call. Whether or not Rick really meant what he said is not relevant, what IS relevant is that fact that so many of us heard it, and were ready to react.

So here we are… just under two months later and looking at a Historic day ahead of us. Today we’ll be protesting nationwide in almost 800 cities. Many of these protests will see thousands of Americans pour into the streets, some will see tens of thousands.

Our estimates show that we’ll easily be in the six figures when all is said and done.

Tomorrow, April 16th, will represent a new day for the freedom movement. New leaders will come into play, new coalitions will form, new tax groups will be born, and a new energy will surround us all across the country. Tomorrow, a completely new face will be put on a movement that has suffered at the hands of attempted top down control and old school political hacks over the years. The individuals and groups that have attempted to control the freedom movement have literally been shoved out of the way by tens of thousands of Americans, and it happened in just nine weeks.

This is all because of you. People from all walks of life joined in on this effort, and the collaboration that occurred over the past month was ground breaking. There is no doubt in my mind that we would not be where we are today had it not been for 800 or so local organizers, the graphics designers, the coders, the server admins, the data volunteers, etc.

The work that went into this has been nothing short of remarkable. In fact, for me, it’s been rather awe inspiring.

So, with that said, I want to personally thank everyone for the work put in. It’s extremely encouraging to see this all unfold, and I believe that at the end of today, we’ll all look back in shock at the results of our labor.
From the Houston Chronicle,
a national movement in which thousands of people in cities across the country plan to stage Tax Day Tea Parties on Wednesday to protest the federal government’s billion-dollar economic stimulus packages and bailouts for the banking and auto industries. (snip)

The rallies take their names from the Boston Tea Party, the 1773 event in which colonists dumped tea into the Boston Harbor to protest taxes imposed by the British monarchy.

That is how many people today feel about government spending policies that have racked up trillions of dollars in debt, local organizers said.
“The message to the politicians is, we want them to repeal the ridiculous spending and the out-of -control financial shenanigans or we’re going to retire them,” said Cravens, a Katy resident and part-time teacher.

Cravens said she got the idea to organize a Houston tea party while chatting on social networks with other conservatives energized by CNBC reporter Rick Santelli’s televised rant on the Chicago Trading Floor on Feb. 17. Santelli was cheered on by traders as he railed against the government for subsidizing bad mortgages for people who could not afford to buy the homes.
And a skeptical report from Agence France-Presse yesterday:
Critics of President Barack Obama's handling of the economy are planning nationwide "tea parties" Wednesday -- and not for the sake of polite conversation.
Coast-to-coast demonstrations against Obama's big-spending economic stimulus package are promised for the day that is also the deadline for filing federal income tax returns.
Whether Republicans -- in disarray since losing the presidential election last year -- can deliver is open to question.
Pro-Republican organizers say they are plugging into widespread popular anger at Democrat-led Washington.
An even bigger claim is that the catchy "tea party" idea and heavy use of Internet tools like Facebook, YouTube and blogs signals a historic first attempt by Republicans to rival Obama's renowned e-network.
"Conservatives may be catching up with their liberal counterparts in building a Web-driven, grassroots campaign to push their agenda," the Fox News television network said on its website.
Skeptics point to Republican disunity in the wake of last year's electoral defeats and pan the protests as a skillful fake.
"The tea parties don't represent a spontaneous outpouring of public sentiment. They're AstroTurf (fake grass roots) events, manufactured by the usual suspects," liberal economist and Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman said Monday.
The protests are named after the 1773 Boston Tea Party in which disgruntled Americans rebelled against British colonial taxes, an iconic moment in the path to US independence.
This time, ire is directed at Obama's 787-billion-dollar anti-recession stimulus package and the projected ballooning of the budget deficit.
The man credited with sparking the idea is CNBC television's spectacularly loud-mouthed commentator Rick Santelli, who called on air from the Chicago Board of Trade for a "Chicago tea party."
Santelli's earlier tirade in February against government bailouts for mortgage defaulters, which he said encouraged "bad behavior," has been viewed on YouTube more than a million times.
But what makes the tea party protests stand out is the use of Web-savvy marketing, something barely seen in John McCain's unsuccessful battle for the White House against Democrat Obama.
Online sellers report a roaring trade in tea party T-shirts, bumper stickers and, of course, tea mugs. boasts a YouTube video that ends with a shot of a blonde girl wearing a T-shirt with the slogan: "Obama, get your hands out of my piggy bank!"
There's an eye-catching initiative to deliver a million tea bags to officials in Washington.
We'll see. Watch in your neighborhoods. I would not have even heard about this -- I don't have a T.V., guys, if my friendly, conservative Westlaw rep had not mentioned it. Tip of the OOTJ hat to Mark Jackson! The image is, of course, the original Boston Tea Party.


Jim Milles said...

Who needs TV? I get my news from Twitter and blogs.

Betsy McKenzie said...

Well, I haven't been looking at the right blogs or Twitter feeds, then, Jim. I hadn't heard of the Tea Party gambit til my Westlaw rep mentioned it. I merely thought if I had a TV playing in the house, it would have blurted this more mainstream (read right wing) piece of news into my consciousness.