In Columbia, South Carolina, local Tea Party leaders said between 2,000 and 3,000 right-wing activists would be on hand for a rally at the State House.

In a sign of the times, the event fell a little short of expectations.

The Columbia Tea Party went from Donald Trump to jilted chump after the celebrity businessman canceled his appearance at Thursday’s State House rally, and state legislators approved tax breaks and spending that the group opposed.

Trump’s decision to not enter the GOP presidential race left local Tea Party leaders stewing about the way they had been treated. But about 30 people were on hand Thursday to thank Gov. Nikki Haley, lawmakers and activists for their work to require more on-the-record Legislative votes. [emphasis added]

Yep, “about 30” showed up for an event that was supposed to bring together a crowd 100 times as large. Apparently, when Trump backed out, so did attendees.

With that in mind, if this is the most dramatic photograph of 2011, this is the funniest.

Even with Trump out, shouldn’t a sitting far-right governor headlining a Tea Party rally in one of the nation’s most conservative states draw more than 30 people?

I mean, really. This is the biggest Tea Party bust since the last Tea Party bust two months ago.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.