As we await the start of the speaking portion of today’s tea party program here in DC, the 9/12 crowd has swelled from the small group gathered at the Washington Monument this morning. But even with the addition of new tea partiers, the crowd remains significantly smaller than all the other nationally-promoted, FreedomWorks-backed DC events I can remember.
[TPM SLIDESHOW: Scenes from the 2009 9/12 rally]The question of the day, then, is why? The tea partiers on the ground who I spoke to today blame two powerful figures: Mother Nature and Glenn Beck. The weather remains dreary — though at least it’s dry now — and folks marching to the Capitol this morning said the gray skies kept some tea partiers at home.
But they also blamed Beck, whose August 28 rally at the Lincoln Memorial stole almost all the the thunder from today’s poltical rally. One local college student I walked with for a few blocks said Beck’s rally did more than just suck all the air away from today’s event — it also turned some off to the movement itself with its weird Beck-centric religiosity.
[TPM SLIDESHOW: Tea Partiers Storm DC For Second (And Smaller) 9/12 Rally]
“I really don’t understand why he did that,” the student, who attends Catholic University here in town, told me.
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