Several groups have now compiled total attendance numbers for the April 15th Tea Party . SurgeUSA.org estimates between 400,000 and 480,000 total attendance. RedState has compiled a total of 310,000 from 156 parties. The latest roundup from PajamasMedia puts the number at 551,000. And Chuck Simmins at North Shore Journal has compiled the various other compilations and put them all together in a nice chart.
I think the best way to keep this in perspective is to realize that just a few weeks ago, Organizing For America, the Obama Campaign’s professional pitchfork brigade, worked over their list of 13 million registered Obama supporters and came up with a measly 114,000 signatures (less than 1%) in support of the Obama Administration’s stimulus plan. And after an additional nationwide neighborhood canvassing effort by trained volunteers, only 100,000 additional signatures were collected.
Naturally liberals are branding the turnout of half a million Tea Party supporters on Wednesday as a “failure.” But so far, the nascent Tea Party movement has either matched or exceeded the turnouts reported for the first liberal “meet-ups” that were the precursors to the Netroots phenomenon of 2004 – 2008.
Of course those meetings garnered massive nationwide press coverage by a news media desperate to report anything that might damage the Bush Administration. The April 16 New York Times, by contrast, failed to publish a single word about the Tea Parties.
For all of its alleged “failure” this week, Fox News ratings soared during its Tea Party coverage, while over on the other side, the New York Times just announced that it will eliminate several weekly sections of its newspaper in order to cut millions of dollars in operating costs. No further comment should be necessary.
One more noteworthy item: this interesting little discussion from Instapundit about “what’s next” after the Tea Parties. Some great suggestions – hundreds or thousands of Tea Partiers start showing up at local political “meet and greet” or town hall events; regular protests outside of local ACORN offices alleging voter fraud; a sit-in at CNN headquarters in Atlanta. Looks like fun, plus I think Alinsky would be proud. The last time I checked, there was nothing in Rules for Radicals that said “liberals only.”