What do you do if you decide to give a revolution and most folks give it a pass? If you are the organizers of the St. Louis version of the stimulus tea party protests (see earlier diaries here and here), you fib. According to conservative blogs, most of whom claim to have gotten their information from the organizers, anywhere from 1000-2000 people attended the St. Louis protest Friday. However, the local Fox affiliate reports that only about 400 people showed up. Given all the build-up and pre-publicity, 400 souls is a pretty poor showing. Nevertheless, it is higher than reports of attendance in most other cities, which seemed to hover at about 100-150 people.
Of course such dishonesty is not out of character for the organizers of these demonstrations. Though the tea parties have been represented as a spontaneous response to anchorman Rick Santelli’s diatribe last week, they may have been planned for some months — a pre-packaged PR scam waiting for an occasion where it could be trotted out to unify the roiling conservative masses. And what better way to elicit a Pavlovian response from the dead-enders than to let them play at being revolutionary heroes fighting valiantly against the evil socialists?
The people behind these theme parties clearly intend to stir up a band of rag-tag stalwarts to do their bidding in the policy wars ahead. In this context it’s worth noting that some reports are calling these demonstrations “rehearsals” for some big 4th of July tea party extravaganza. According to a local organizer:
“… conservatism has been hiding for the past eight years, possibly longer. And this is sort of the flash point for the new conservative movement.”
Hiding for the past eight years! Give me a break.