Thursday, April 16, 2009

The 'Tax Day Tea Parties' are about the people. Not about Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh or Michael Steele

With her popular blogs and, Malkin is arguably the single most influential blogger and "Internet community organiser" in the world. This was evident in the successful turnout for the Tax Day Tea Parties. Michelle Malkin downplays her considerable role in shepherding the movement, focusing the limelight on the grassroots who should be Centrestage.
VIDEO: Neil Cavuto interviewing Michelle Malkin during the Tax Day Tea Parties
MICHELLE MALKIN: ... That's why I'm not onstage because it really is about the grassroots here and as you'll notice Neil, neither [RNC Chairman] Michael Steele nor ["Defacto Conservative leader"] Rush Limbaugh are speaking at a Tea Party today...
I think it's the most effective way of communicating to the White House which apparently isn't aware of what is going on today. Apparently the White House has said that it is unaware of what's happening. Listen, look. You can't deny the existence of the outrage and the anger at both parties in Washington
Read Rush Limbaugh on the "origins" of the movement:
Frightened Liberals Sling Mud at Grassroots Tea Party Movement
The truth is, these tea parties are a completely grassroots movement. There is no specific leader or origin. I mean, you might be able to say that Rick Santelli of CNBC on February 16th talking about a tea party led to this, and you might want to say that somebody in the media, or there are politicians trying to claim credit for it, which is standard operating procedure. Some media people are trying to claim credit for it, that's standard operating procedure as well.
- View the Rick Santelli rant which is seen as the main catalyst for the Tea Party demonstrations
- Read about Michael Steele being rebuffed from speaking at a Tea Party rally
- Read about the White House allegedly not being aware of the Tea Parties
- Read Glenn Reynolds' (PJTV, Instapundit) illuminating piece on the "smart mobbing" phenomena that fueled this movement.
Tax Day Becomes Protest Day
In the old days, organizing large groups of people required, well, an organization: a political party, a labor union, a church or some other sort of structure. Now people can coordinate themselves.

We saw a bit of this in the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns, with things like Howard Dean's use of Meetup, and Barack Obama's use of Facebook. But this was still social-networking in support of an existing organization or campaign. The tea-party protest movement is organizing itself, on its own behalf. Some existing organizations, like Newt Gingrich's American Solutions and FreedomWorks, have gotten involved. But they're involved as followers and facilitators, not leaders. The leaders are appearing on their own, and reaching out to others through blogs, Facebook, chat boards and alternative media.

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