Party Smartly
The tea partiers who will assemble today are aware, savvy, and focused.


Michael Graham

Welcome to Tax Day 2010, or as it’s known at the White House, Obama’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

And if yesterday’s Boston tea party with Sarah Palin is any indication, it’s only going to get worse.

The first question I got after walking off the stage on Boston Common yesterday was “How big is the crowd?” The number — somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 — is irrelevant. The crowd was impressive, and not just for its size.

This was a smart, savvy, and disciplined group. They knew what the game was and were playing it to win. Liberals hoping to see the Tea Party Express careen off a political embankment were very disappointed.

The government-establishment politicians targeted by tea partiers are counting on one of two things happening before November. Either the tea partiers will get bored, lose focus, and move on; or else their passion and anger will inspire them to do something stupid and self-destructive that will marginalize the entire movement.

Both scenarios are possible. But judging by Boston’s event, they’re getting less and less likely.

For weeks, local liberal activists had talked openly about infiltrating the event with bogus racist or homophobic signs (quick question: If the tea partiers are racists, as the liberals allege, why do the lefties have to bring the racist signs themselves?). The local media was awash in handwringing about the “angry mob” descending on the Common.

One local alt-weekly, the Boston Phoenix, ran a less-than-credible cover story attempting to portray the tea-party movement as an active ally of racist militia movements. Another liberal publication published signs for tea-party opponents to use to “greet” Palin. One featured two elephants copulating. Another referred to her as a “crazy bitch.” And in a bizarre twist from the “feminist,” antiSecond Amendment Left, another sign showed Palin’s face on a bleeding tea bag with bullet holes all around.

In that climate, who knew what to expect? Would the nonstop insults and ridiculous accusations drive some attendees to react angrily, rather than thoughtfully, under the glare of the media spotlight?

I had nothing to worry about. The crowd was spectacular — funny, enthusiastic, happy, respectful. Many people I talked to seemed disappointed that so few liberal plants and counterprotesters showed up. They wanted the chance to prove that they were rational, reasonable, and ready to debate.

There were a few lefty cranks in attendance. Some of the published Palin attack signs were on display. One group of girls held signs reading “I heart abortions. They’re fun” that were clearly designed to provoke. Other signs simply declared everyone in attendance racists, sexists, homophobes, and “retards.”

Because liberals are classy that way.

The tea partiers didn’t even break a sweat. They ignored the provocation and enjoyed the show instead.