THE SEQUELS ARE RARELY AS GOOD AS THE ORIGINAL…. The lasting impact of the “Tea Parties” in April has been minimal. A few months later, it’s still not clear what the point was, or what organizers hoped to accomplish. In mid-May, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and the Republican Governors Association organized something organizers called “Tea Party 2.0,” but it was a flop.
Apparently, today is supposed to be the third round of Tea Parties. We know this, of course, because Fox News told us so. Steve Doocy, always a font of useful information, told viewers on Tuesday, “This weekend, of course the 4th of July, Americans are gearing up for a second round of tea parties to protest massive government spending.” Some of the same lobbyist-run groups that helped push April’s far-right gatherings are apparently at it again.
David Weigel reports that there are nationwide events scheduled for today, but the excitement, publicity, and notoriety are all but gone.
[T]he collaboration between the official Republican establishment and the Tea Parties has not lasted into June. The RNC has no plans to get involved with any Tea Parties. A spokesman for Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), who jaunted around northern California to attend several Tea Parties, said that his holiday plans were private but would probably not include Tea Parties. Gingrich will not attend any of the Tea Parties, although he recorded video messages for events in Birmingham and Nashville “at the request of the respective organizers,” according to spokesman Dan Kotman.
Media coverage has also gotten a little bit more scarce. Coverage on Fox News has largely been limited to interviews with Tea Party organizers on the network’s morning shows. While sources at Fox would not discuss their plans for covering the weekend events, they confirmed that no anchors would be attending and that the attendance and news value of the events looked to be lower than that of the April rallies. Tea Party organizers are counting, instead, on local news coverage and on distributed reporting such as the conservative news site PajamasTV, which hosts an “American Tea Party” show and has asked readers to submit their own videos from their rallies.
“There are legitimate journalistic reasons for why there’s less coverage this time around,” said Seton Motley, a spokesman for the conservative Media Research Center — a group that blasted CNN and MSNBC personalities for joking about the April 15 Tea Parties. “There aren’t as many rallies this time, and there was a novelty last time that isn’t there now. Also, if you’re talking about the networks that made light of the Tea Parties back in April, they might have realized that opposite of love isn’t hate. It’s indifference.”
In other words, expect lower attendance today than in April.
Of course, I’m guessing some Tea Baggers will try to attach their rallies to the usual, non-political July 4th gatherings, made up of families who just want to enjoy a picnic and some fireworks.
Note to conservatives: when counting heads for today’s Tea Parties, those folks shouldn’t be included.