Obama,  Stateside

Tea Party Day/Glenn Beck is scary

Did any of our American readers go to one of today’s “tea parties” heavily promoted by Fox News and conservative talk-radio hosts?

April 15 is the highly symbolic filing deadline for US federal income taxes. Tea Party Day is supposed to recall the original 1773 tea party in Boston, when colonists dumped tea in the harbor to protest the taxes imposed on it by the British government without representation in Parliament. Nowadays the only Americans who are taxed without representation are residents of Washington, DC, but I don’t think that featured in today’s events.

As far as I can tell, the focus of the protests isn’t so much anti-tax as anti-Obama-the-socialist-oops-fascist, a formulation propounded by Fox News’s crazed host Glenn Beck. (I’ve read lots of scary stuff about Beck, but this is the first time I’ve seen him for more than 10 consecutive seconds. He really is that horrifying. Note his weird rap about the fasces on the back on the Mercury dime introduced in 1916– before Mussolini adopted it as the symbol of Italian fascism. Do Obama’s opponents really want to take that route?)

For his part, [Eric] Odom [of TaxDayTeaParty.com] insisted that Mr. Obama was not the focus of the outrage, and that government in general was the target.

“This is a protest that has been in government the last few years,” he said. “Bush himself was guilty of socialist policies.”

Yet GOP.com featured the Tax Day Tea Party on its web site in the last two days and implored people to send virtual tea-bags (in four categories) to President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid.

“It’s obvious they’re trying to ride on the brand that we created,” Mr. Odom said. “It’s somewhat insulting.”

On the positive side, from the photos I’ve seen, there’s a refreshing lack of giant puppets and face paint.

Update: I’ve occasionally linked to Zombietime’s photos of some of the more extreme “anti-war” and anti-Israel demonstrators in San Francisco. In the name of balance, here are some photos from Wednesday’s rain-soaked “Tea Party” across from the White House.