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Tea for the Bitter Man

IF you read the blog of Glenn Reynolds, the libertarian-leaning Instapundit who reigns over the right-ish blogosphere with a carpal-tunnelled fist, you see mention after mention of a “new American tea party.” There’s more in an ad by Pajamas Media, a new media network of which Mr Reynolds was a co-founder. “America is on the brink of another revolution,” reads the ad, “and protests about our government’s financial decisions have already begun.”

That’s sort of an overstatement.

There is, indeed, a viral movement afoot to stage protests against President Obama’s spending plans. They are really very small protests. The largest “tea party” Facebook group has a bit less than 3000, and it’ll probably pass that, but many members belong to other smaller “tea party” groups.

Look, I covered the Ron Paul campaign for more than a year, from his launch in early 2007 to his “vote for some third party candidate” press conference. I waded through crowds at Paul rallies that drew 4000 people, ten times the size of any “tea party” we’ve seen so far.

This isn’t to say that the “tea parties” will never, ever take off. Just that it’s quite easy to get attention for an anti-government cause, especially in the blog era, and easy to forget that it doesn’t really matter politically.

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