SACRAMENTO, June 20, 2013 — A pair of separate political rallies on two different continents provided a stark contrast in enthusiasm.
The Tea Party Patriots held an “Audit the IRS” rally on the capitol steps in Washington. Meanwhile, President Obama returned to Berlin to address the German people nearly 50 years after President John F. Kennedy intoned, “Ich bin ein Berliner.”
Berlin was a high point of Obama’s march to the White House. In 2008 he spoke there to 200,000 cheering fans. His campaign of hope and change became a global phenomenon.
The tea party movement soon followed after trader Rick Santelli had his famous 2009 rant against government spending and the pending healthcare bill that would become Obamacare. One rally in Atlanta had 30,000 people, and other rallies across the country were attended by thousands as well.
Despite receiving a “shellacking” in the 2010 midterm elections, Obama rebounded to win reelection in 2012. The media narrative was that Obama and the left had triumphed, and that the tea party was in the past.
This narrative was flawed because it confused campaigning and politics with governing and policy. Obama was personally more popular than his 2012 opponent, but his signature policies were disliked by a majority of voters.
The tea party movement did not wither on the vine like Occupy Wall Street and the occupy movement. It simply matured into a serious movement. People no longer came to rallies by the thousands, but they did gather in restaurants and libraries by the dozens to focus on serious issues. The first battleground was healthcare, where Obama won an initial victory but still sees the Affordable Care Act under legislative and judicial attack. Now the fights have turned to the environmental and education battles, signified by Agenda 21 and Common Core.
While the liberal media focused on a couple of tea party candidates who lost, there was no way to ignore the many candidates who won their elections from this grassroots conservative movement.
Scandals affected both sides. A couple of tea party candidates made controversial remarks about rape and lost their elections. Yet Obama has been battered by scandals ranging from Benghazi and Fast and Furious to IRS abuses and NSA data mining. The IRS was the impetus for the latest tea party rally by the Tea Party Patriots, while Obama’s German rally saw him face stinging criticism over the NSA. When Obama tried to pivot to reducing nuclear warheads, the man of hope and change was accused by some critics of merely changing the subject.
While numbers alone do not tell the entire story, they are still a useful metric not to be discounted.
Tea parties held gun rights rallies on February 23rd, 2013. The largest one, in Bakersfield, California had about 2,000 people. To say that more than 10,000 people combined met at rallies nationwide would be a very conservative estimate.
On June 19th, between 10,000 to 12,000 arrived in Washington. Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell spoke to this large, passionate crowd.
In Berlin, Obama saw his crowd drop by 98 percent from 2008. Only 4,000 people showed up to hear him.
This does not mean Obama is finished. He has proven himself quite resilient. Yet the demise of the tea parties has been, as the expression goes, “greatly exaggerated.”
The tea party advantage in this skirmish is that they are speaking about an issue that the American people care about. They are also on the right side of history. Americans are fed up with an abusive government out of control, personified by the IRS.
Obama is speaking about an issue that is not on the radar of most Americans, nuclear disarmament. Outside of Hollywood and some universities, most Americans are against unilateral disarmament.
There is always ebb and flow, but the numbers are there for all to see. Obama’s governing agenda runs the risk of exhausting itself less than a year into his first term. Meanwhile, with the 2014 elections around the corner, the tea party seems very energized.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian. Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.”
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