Tea partiers came back to DC today, two weeks after Glenn Beck's evangelist/civic-good event drew tens or hundreds of thousands (depending on the estimate) to the Mall on August 28, for a follow-up to the massive Glenn Beck 9/12 rally last September.
This time, there weren't quite as many people. Though the event's organizers at Dick Armey's FreedomWorks reportedly took out permits for 300,000 to potentially attend, maybe a few thousand people gathered on the West lawn of the Capitol building, having marched from the Washington Monument, milling about and planted in camping chairs while conservative speakers addressed them from a stage.
Last year, the first 9/12 rally, launched by Glenn Beck and promoted for months ahead of time, drew tens of thousands to the Mall according to media estimates or 1.5 million according to activists. It was viewed as one of the bigger moments in the rally history of the Tea Party.
Speakers from Congressman Mike Pence to assorted Tea Party activists to Bob McGuffie--the author of a leaked memo that encouraged some questionable practices in sowing last year's August protests at Democratic town-hall meetings--addressed the crowd.
The Tea Partiers in attendance had come from all over, waving flags and anti-Obama signs on a humid, cloudy day. One woman had driven about 23 hours from Macadocious, Texas, picking up her brother in Akransas along the way. A couple sported Tea Party gear from Alaska.
The Capitol rally was heavy on anti-Obamaism and the standard fare of Tea Partiers and their events: "Don't Tread on Me" flags, signs, accusations of socialism and promises to take back the country in November met with mild applause throughout a warm afternoon. The Tea Partiers are angry, and they're angry as ever
Simultaneous Tea Party rallies took place across the country today, with other major events planned in Sacramento and St. Louis, and countless others planned. On the whole, the DC rally was low on much new, and less of a moment than last year's, as the movement tries to sustain itself and ramp up enthusiasm before November.