I know I seem really long-winded about last Saturday's Washington D.C. Teabag party. I just want to make sure that, as far as possible, we figure out just how many people were there, because the teabaggers are claiming that their ludicrously inflated numbers indicate a powerful national movement.
I think otherwise. I think the entire tea party thing has been, largely, a synthetically generated hoax, using a group of pathetic, frightened white suckers to advance the interests of big business. Here's my case for this particular event.
I have scoured right wing websites for pictures showing the largest number of people, and will now attempt to guess at the number of people they show. The largest number of people by far are to be seen in this photo and a couple like it, showing teabaggers marching down Pensylvania Avenue. The shot shows the area from the point where Pennsylvania Avenue turns to go past the White House, down the street to somewhere close to the Capitol. How far they go is unclear, as the photos are quite fuzzy. Here it is:
Now, the Teabaggers' argument, which they used to justify their claim that between a million and two million people showed up. The back end of this parade is about as far from the Capitol as the back end of the crowd at Obama's inaugural, which is believed to have been between 1.2 and 1.8 million. So, say the teabaggers, they must have turned out the same number of people.
Let's look at a map of Washington D.C. to see how reasonable that claim is (as if you couldn't guess.)
The area in red shows the approximate size of the crowd that attended Obama's inaugural, occupying the mall, the two adjacent streets and the space across the streets up to the adjacent buildings, and the area in front of the Capitol. The area in dark blue indicates the maximum extent of the area of Pennsylvania Ave. shown in the teabagger photo. In fact, this map, like most urban maps, exaggerates the width of streets, in order to fit their names in, so if anything, it favors the Teabaggers.
Notice anything about the map? Yes, it's true that the teabagger march was as long as the Obama inauguration, but it was (in my estimate) about one eighth as wide. So, if we take a middling estimate of the attendance at the inauguration of 1.5 million, we are down already to a maximum of about 180,000. Now, consider that walking people, like those on Pennsylvania Avenue, take about twice as much room each as the people crowded closely together on the frozen mall last January 20th, and you are down to 90,000 or so, assuming that the crowd in the blurry picture reached as far as I have shown. That is, unless large parts of the crowd were goose stepping in close formation. If anyone who was there could confirm this, I will be willing to raise my estimate, but otherwise, I believe we are looking at no more than 90,000 people, and likely less- a number very close to D.C. Fire Department estimates of 60-70,000.
As a bonus, I have also indicated in light blue what I remember to be the extent of the last antiwar march in Washington, which I attended, and which is believed to have had an attendance of about 350,000. The people were somewhat more dispersed, as is common at large demonstrations, but again, the area they occupied dwarfs the teabagger rally.
Let's also remember that 2-400,000 of the attendees at the Obama inauguration were in the large area between the Capitol and the mall, so my rough calculation again actually favors the teabaggers. A more accurate count would undoubtedly make the D. C. fire department's estimate look very good indeed.
Some guesswork involved here? Yeah, but guesswork sure beats baloney.
Now, one final picture. This one is from Crooks and Liars, and I already stole it on Saturday. It's the only picture that I found that looks away from the Capitol, and it tells a sorry story:
The second picture is, of course, a telephoto picture of the Obama inaugural. The first one appears to be taken on the mall, fairly close to the Capitol, looking toward the Washington monument, showing just about nobody. You know, I saw on a couple of scumbag right wing blogs, pictures showing the mess left behind on the mall by the inaugural, contrasted with the neatness left behind by the teabaggers. I guess this photo explains why.
Okay, that's enough of that. Of course, this evidence will have no effect whatsoever on the teabaggers, who willingly believe that Obama is a Marxist Muslim Hitler who is bent on killing everyone's granny, and who also believe that the world is 6000 years old, and that...well, you know the rest. After that, convincing themselves that this pathetic demonstration is Teh Biggest Demonstration In The History Of The World is easy.
Well, just for the record, there it is. Thanks to any of you who made it this far.