Congratulations, Teabaggers!

Wow! You drew 2 million people to Washington on Saturday! I mean, someone said ABC News said you did, and clearly that’s totally accurate, just as accurate as the thing I heard where Fox News is reporting that Barack Obama currently has an 193% approval rating. Also, you’ve got really convincing pictures, like this one, that show a totally full mall from a rally that occurred over a decade ago, thus proving that Al Gore once grew his beard out.

I mean, hey, it’s a pretty nice picture. But frankly, it’s a bit of a wide shot. I, for one, would use a more intimate one, one that shows some of the joy of the moment. Here’s one that is at least as accurate as the one you used, and I, for one, like it:


You’re welcome. Oh, and just to show I’m fair and balanced, here, via ODub, is  an image of one of the actual teabaggers, with a message that sums up the right-wing view of the world as coherently as anything I’ve ever seen:


Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.

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25 Responses to Congratulations, Teabaggers!

  1. 1
    Robert says:

    Medicare isn’t socialized medicine, it’s a collective government funding of a charity program for a segment of society.

  2. 2
    Robert says:

    Also, I was at the rally (but not the march). From the USA Today attendance map of Obama’s inauguration (showing the Mall and who could fit where), we had a minimum of 250,000 people. I would be surprised if it was more than 500,000, however.

  3. 3
    RonF says:

    I rather enjoyed this sign:

  4. 4
    RonF says:

    Hm. So, can’t embed images in comments without getting them marked as spam, eh? Well, I guess you’ll have to link through then. Anyway, I rather enjoyed this sign.

  5. 5
    PG says:

    Medicare isn’t socialized medicine, it’s a collective government funding of a charity program for a segment of society.

    Medicare is provided to all legal residents over 65 and all persons with disabilities and (to a limited extent) persons with end-stage renal failure — whether they’re millionaires or broke. What kind of charity is that? It’s no more a “charity program” than Social Security.

    we had a minimum of 250,000 people. I would be surprised if it was more than 500,000, however.

    Yep. Nate Silver estimated turnout at 300-400k.

  6. 6
    PG says:


    I’m wondering what the reaction from conservatives like Mark Tapscott would be if a liberal carried a sign depicting Washington using an obscenity.

  7. 7
    RonF says:

    I guess he wouldn’t like it. Me, I’m a little harder to offend. Do you think that being offended by the public use of obscenities is only a property of conservatives?

  8. 8
    RonF says:

    You know, think about the ways that other marches in Washington with similar numbers have been covered. I can’t recall marches and gatherings of hundreds of thousands of people getting less coverage than this. The Chicago Tribune buried it on page 14. Think of the Million Man March. There was coverage for days leading up to it and pictures were all over the front pages. The same for the Million Mom March supporting more restrictive gun legislation. This is quite suspicious to me.

  9. 9
    Ampersand says:

    Ron, I’d like to see an actual, empirical comparison.

    It seems to me that right-wing protesters — not just this one, but all the teabagging protests, and also the protesters at town halls — get far, far more coverage than anti-war protesters got during Bush’s administration.

    But maybe I’m mistaken. I’d like to see some organization do a systematic comparison of multiple sources.

  10. 10
    Robert says:

    I haven’t got any systematic data, but I have attended a few Washington protests in my day, and I can remember left-wing/liberal events I was in, with similar feel and crowd-sense, also being reported as “thousands” when it was obviously ten or a hundred times that.

    Authority of any stripe has a built-in tendency to downplay democracy-in-the-streets of any stripe.

  11. 11
    Ampersand says:

    Yep. Nate Silver estimated turnout at 300-400k.

    You misread his post. He estimated that the earlier, nationwide teabag protests got somewhere in that range.

    He doesn’t offer an estimate for the recent march; he does say that “ABC News, citing the DC fire department, reported that between 60,000 and 70,000 people had attended the tea party rally at the Capitol.” Like Robert, I think authorities tend to downplay crowd sizes, so I’m taking the 70,000 estimate with a grain of salt.

    Nate also notes, I think correctly, that estimates of 1 or 2 million attendees are not at all credible.

    * * *

    Ron, I strongly suspect that this week’s anti-government march gets a lot more coverage than the 2006 immigrant rights march, which was at least as large, and probably larger.

  12. 12
    Ampersand says:

    FWIW, this Salon writer argues, I think somewhat persuasively, that this wasn’t all that large, as unbelievably huge crowds go.

    That said, 70,000 people — if that is the correct number — is nothing to sneeze at, and (as the writer points out) surely represents the views of millions more Americans who stayed home.

  13. 13
    PG says:

    Oops — thanks for the correction, Amp.

  14. 14
    Ruchama says:

    From the USA Today attendance map of Obama’s inauguration (showing the Mall and who could fit where), we had a minimum of 250,000 people. I would be surprised if it was more than 500,000, however.

    If you’re estimating based on that, you’ve also got to remember that the crowd at the inauguration was packed together much more closely than the crowd was in any of the pictures I’ve seen of Saturday.

    Anybody have an accurate info about how far down the mall the crowd stretched? I was actually outside in DC that day, for a different event, but I was at the other end of the mall, so while I know that there wasn’t any significant crowd past the Washington Monument, it seems like I’m hearing all kinds of different estimates about how far it did go.

  15. 15
    Ampersand says:

    From the Salon piece

    …as I noted in a post to Twitter that I wrote from the Mall, the crowd “all but end[ed] at 3rd Street.” There were some protesters scattered through the block from 3rd to 4th, but not many, and after that it was green space all the way beyond 7th Street, at which point the tents — which were for an unrelated event — took over. (If you’re not familiar with the geography of the Mall, there’s a map here.)

    Don’t believe someone from Salon would accurately report what he saw on the Mall on Saturday? That’s fine — take a look at this photo, from a post on a conservative blog that’s been used as evidence of a big crowd. Just past all the people in the foreground, you can see a bright blue blob — that’s a Freedom Works bus, which was parked on 3rd Street. (For perspective, look to the far right of the photo, where you can see the two buildings in the National Gallery of Art; the first stretches from 3rd to 4th.) Beyond that bus, up until the tents begin, all you can see is green grass.

    Here’s part of the photo he’s talking about, enlarged a bit to make it easier to see.

  16. 16
    Ruchama says:

    Thanks. From looking at that photo and the description, I’d guess that as a bit smaller than the 2006 Save Darfur rally. (That’s the last one that I can remember that was on that side of the Mall and filled up about that much space.) Looks like the crowd estimates for that were around 50,000 to 75,000. (Though wikipedia says 100,000.)

  17. 17
    Robert says:

    The crowd was very dense (it took us a long time to pick our way forward) but yes, it was sparse by the time you got to 4th.

    Why would it have been denser at the inauguration?

  18. 18
    Ruchama says:

    The crowd was very dense (it took us a long time to pick our way forward) but yes, it was sparse by the time you got to 4th.

    Why would it have been denser at the inauguration?

    At the inauguration, you wouldn’t have been able to pick your way forward. There was no room to move, anywhere. When it was over, all the way back by the Lincoln Memorial, the crowd was literally streaming into the streets for at least half an hour, maybe 45 minutes, with people still leaving over an hour later. And by streaming, I mean filling the sidewalks and the streets. I’ve been to a bunch of protests on the Mall, and I have never seen a crowd remotely like that. Most protests that I’ve been to, the center of the crowd was dense, but then there was plenty of room on the edges for people (like me) who didn’t want to be actually touching the people next to them, or wanted to sit down on the grass, or wanted some extra room for a kid in a stroller. At the inauguration, it was densely packed like the center usually is all the way to the fences.

  19. 19
    Ruchama says:

    Here’s a picture of the Obama inauguration crowd: You can see from the front of the picture that people were literally shoulder-to-shoulder. It would have been impossible to pick your way through that crowd — wherever the crowd pushed you was where you stayed.

  20. 20
    PG says:

    I liked this comment about the 9/12 protest:

    [T]he Sunday march in DC was sponsored mainly by Glen Beck’s Project 9/12, the attempt by Beck to get America back to the sense of camaraderie, self sacrifice, and co-operation we all felt in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

    Schuster asked: Where were the signs on 9/12/01 calling George Bush a socialist or nazi or muslim or wishing his demise or referencing his race or heritage?

    I wonder if the 9/12 crowd sees the fallacy of their situation.

    Dick Cheney (after the president’s swearing in) He will make us less safe.
    Al Gore (in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 attacks) George W. Bush is my commander in chief.

  21. 21
    Rosa says:

    I was at the 2004 March for Women’s Lives and I don’t remember it getting very much media coverage at all – but i was on the bus coming home the whole next day, so I could have missed it.

    That one was 700,000 at least – the organizers reported 1 to 1.5 million.

    Here’s a picture of that one:

  22. 22
    PG says:

    I’d be interested in seeing a good rebuttal of this. I couldn’t think of much they were getting wrong.

  23. 23
    Ruchama says:

    March for Women’s Lives was definitely way more people than this one. The crowd at March for Women’s Lives actually did reach to the Washington Monument, or at least really close.

  24. 24
    RonF says:

    A question about pictures; here’s one of the Washington D.C. Tea Party. I bring it up because I note that while you all are measuring the crowd by noting how far it went back towards the Washington Monument, this picture shows that the crowd spread out laterally quite a bit. Are there similar pictures that show crowds from these other events in the same perspective? Perhaps the difference in apparent numbers can be accounted for by the shape of the crowd?

  25. 25
    PG says:


    I think FreedomWorks has been somewhat discredited in its coverage of the protest it helped to organize, so I’d feel somewhat suspicious of a picture from them that’s clearly undergone the editing process.