Thursday, April 16, 2009


Fit To A Tea

Rather than just reading the tea leaves, sabermetric poll analyst Nate Silver went, as best he could, for hard counts on the successes of the various "Taxpayer Tea Parties" held around the country yesterday.

Silver estimates a bit over 250,000 people. However, Silver estimates 2,000 at the New York TP, while the Post figures it to be closer to 5,000 -- which might make the actual figure closer to 270,000 (assuming that there are similar under-counts in the rest of the country. In any event, the old boss, Newt was the star attraction at City Hall Park. The parties aren't bad ideas, in terms of trying to get people to focus on out-of-control government spending (in that regard, they are reminiscent of the old Ross Perot/Reform Party/deficit hawks.

However, by focusing on "tea parties," these events remind the public of the Boston Tea Party -- which was a protest over taxes (as opposed to spending). In the minds of many, these are always linked (and, indeed, should be if the nation doesn't want to go bankrupt). But while Obama manages to continue saying that 95 percent of the public will see (or already has seen) a tax cut (even though the actual percentage of wage-earners that pay income taxes at all is barely 50 percent), it's questionable whether the tea parties can spark a real nationwide grassroots revolution.

UPDATE: Of course, dumb statements from people like Rick Perry hardly add much seriousness to these debates. Texas -- seceding? Oh, please make my day!

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