Because I live downtown, I hopped on my bike and road to the Halifax Mall to check out "Americans for Prosperity's" Tea Party.
First, it was a pretty good crowd. Not huge, but polite. Probably around 2K. I wore a local city councilor T-shirt and no one talked to me or harassed me. When Obama was there, several times bigger, and Anti-War rallies in Raleigh were significantly larger, but not bad for 6 pm on a Wednesday.
It was not the most diverse lot. I saw 5 African Americans, 3 Indian people, no Hispanics, and only two teabags. (I think they got the message.) Most were middle age white, some young folks, but hey, they did not strike me as the elite of society, and I applaud that they took the time. I don't agree with much they support, (I mean it doesn't take a lot of political courage to oppose a tax increase,) but on occasion they make a point that makes sense, and we should always welcome dissent, and take a look.
Most of the Signs were about liberty, and taxed enough already, but "Waterboard Nancy Pelosi" could be seen as a little extreme.
Durham native and fox news head Mary Katharine Ham was witty, and funny. I always prefer Obama jokes to McCain jokes. She told a supposed demonstrive story about using parents credit card to go to Myrtle Beach, and then making excuse that everything is going to work out and something will come along to fix it in order to mock the current Administration's approach, but it seemed like the story may have been all too true. I mean the 80's and 90's certainly were driven by a lot of free money all around. It was not a stretch to see Ms. Ham and friends taking off sometime to Myrtle Beach on their parents Card. Probably though not fair for me to speculate so.
She did give some advice that frankly I think was a mistake. She encouraged everyone to call their lawmakers and say, "Is it hot enough yet?" Frankly, that is probably poor advice if you are wanting your point to be considered credible by a Legislator.
Joe, Joe, Joe. Joe the Plumber. He came out and largely did not disappoint those who had come to see him. He read a letter from his son of how proud he was, and that politicians are saying anything and we have to keep them on their toes. He also mentioned the plumbing tax. AFP tried to make a big deal about Senate Finance Committee proposal to start taxing some services so we start moving away form 30's based taxation of manufacturing, but AFP left out the tax cuts included in that proposal. Oh Well, they are trying to build an organization.
Anyway, the most ironic thing Joe said was that one thing he has learned is that Washington thrives on Drama. That Somali Pirates were to divert attention from Chris Dodd who should be in jail. The irony was that it is that "Drama" that Joe is playing on to probably earn a decent living. Who can blame him. I can't help but wonder though how much AFP paid him.
In closing, it was a wonderful evening for a protest. I'm glad people are participating in our system, I understand AFP trying to build a base, but it seems they have a ways to go before they can build any real coalition to be more than what they are.