Sep 12 2009

Washington DC Tea Party 9/12/2009

(Note: All images can be viewed full sized by clicking image)

Update: I should have explained my rationale for assessing the Obama inauguration to the 9/12/09 Tea Party. The Inauguration took up more square footage on the mall, but the demonstration was not packed into seats but crammed in and hanging on top of everything in site (walls, statues, the reflecting pool, etc). Therefore the inauguration took more space in a less dense distribution of people. It could be equal in number, it is hard to tell. But half the size is probably the lowest it could be. – AJStrata

Update: If President Obama’s inauguration pulled in 1.8 million last January, then the 9/12/09 Tea Party demonstration was at best half of that number (maybe only a third) given the crowd shots I have seen of the Obama inauguration. That is still an incredible turn out for an event that is not a national ceremony and without any big name draws. Let’s see who shows up next summer. – end update.

I was able to ride my motorcycle downtown today and partake in the Washington DC Tea Party demonstrations for a couple of hours. I could tell pretty quickly this was a very memorable and historic event. I have lived outside DC my entire life and this demonstration was large, interesting and intense.

FYI: Radio Patriot has some great aerial shots (for those with access to the right spots). Michelle Malkin notes the crowds did hit 2 million (easily).

Update: Some liberals living on a different planet are claiming the protest failed to attract any large crowds, so I am adding this incredible shot just to underscore their blindness:

Yeah, nobody showed!

Update: Another great shot showing the size of the crowd – end update

My first observation was how main stream and ‘older’ the crowd was. Plenty of families and a noticeably large number of senior citizens. Not your typical DC event with lot’s of youthful exuberance on display.

This crowd represented the coveted core of America’s electoral voters. And it would be the bane of any party who becomes a target of their wrath. Especially the seniors, who had the strongest messages captured in their signs. I have never seen so much grey hair (as a percentage of the crowd) on parade in DC.

You could not avoid the signs, given the huge numbers of them. They are all unique. Another indication of how powerful this movement is getting (and don’t kid yourselves, we are seeing a fraction of what this could become next year at this time) are the signs and props. People are spending A LOT of time on these in many cases. That investment of sweat and toil is a indication of deeply held beliefs and strong motivation.

But even when the message has not seen a lot of effort, just about EVERYONE is carrying their own home-grown message (or  their favorite quotes from our founding fathers). This is not Astroturf, this is more like some rabid kudzu taking aim at our political leaders – mostly the democrats. It is not staged, it is explosively honest. You have to experience it first hand to really appreciate it.

There were maybe 2-3 signs blaming politicians in general, but this backlash is aimed in one direction. Obama and the Dems may be seeing something firing up out here in the country that is much worse than 1994. President Clinton was spared the tarring of the arrogant left last time around. This time around, with a miserable economy and rampant job losses, I think this political storm will make 1994 look like a mild ‘adjustment’.

Here is what I took from my couple of hours roaming around taking it all in.

  • These people are not an ‘out of control’ angry, they are serious and they are not happy. There is no yelling, no getting in the face, no threatening gestures, no livid faces. They are taking on this country’s liberal leaders with gusto and determination.
  • This is all Main Street America. No irrelevant or impotent margins out here. It could have easily been the fourth of July (which I have also done on the DC Mall many times). Except this time the mood and message was not how great America is. The message is “throw the bums out”. It was clear Main Street wants DC to keep their hands off OUR country, off OUR health care, off OUR income. Main Street doesn’t see DC as the center of leadership for this great country anymore. In the mind of Main Street, DC is a cancer that needs to be removed.
  • Seniors are the heart and soul of this movement. They were out in large numbers, including large numbers of walkers and wheelchairs. They had the strongest anti-government, anti-democrat, anti-obama signs out there. They were everywhere.

The last two observations should worry any Democrat with two brain cells to rub together. This is a rising tide of broad opposition – and this phenomena is not done coalescing or growing yet.

We have a page up at Photo Bucket of the pictures I snapped down at the Tea Party. Be sure to peruse them and zoom in to see some of the signs and characters. It’s definitely worth the time. (and if anyone uses these, please give Strata-Sphere credit).

But let me highlight a few here in this post. First, in the category of investing time and sweat to the cause we have this Obamacare Hearse. How motivated do you have to be to put this together?!

Here are a couple of shots of the crowd around the reflecting pool. Note how relaxed everyone is – they are here showing their support and determination, nothing more:

I had to stop this woman and her daughter to get their picture because it embodied the political tsunami rising in the country. Two very nice and pleasant people, clearly a sweet child. But the message is harsh. It indicates to me how deep the backlash and anger is, and how it has infected the normal, every day family. The message is blunt, even more so given the velvet glove sending the message:

Update: Check out this crap from a left wing site:

Angry mobs of right-wing tea party protesters are converging on our nation’s Capitol today to protest President Obama, health care reform, government spending and anything else they can think of. A passerby forwarded Politico a photo of a sign that was being handed out by tea party organizers that reads: “Bury Obamacare with Kennedy.”

Yeah, right. Check out the angry mobs, of children and mothers. – end update

Finally, this picture just expresses the beauty of the day, the power of the day.

This was when Main Street marched on DC to tell DC to back off. It was a force you could feel, and intensity of purpose. I suspect I will be shooting many more of these as we head into the 2010 election cycle.

35 responses so far

35 Responses to “Washington DC Tea Party 9/12/2009”

  1. […] about Michelle Malkin as of September 12, 2009 Washington DC Tea Party 9/12/2009 – 09/12/2009 (Note: All images can be viewed full sized by clicking image) […]

  2. Alert1201 says:

    Thanks for the post and making the time and effort to go AJ. For every person like you who was there there are thousands like me who wish we could be

    Great pics.

    Here are some more from

  3. kathie says:

    Obama did a campaign type gig in Minnesota today (he left town). He is now saying that 50% of all people who are insured will loose their insurance sometime in their life. But with Obamacare this will not happen. If you insure with the government you will be safe for your lifetime is the message.

    You know, I think that Rush was right. Obama and the left are very scary, and with all my heart I hope he fails. Not only because of government run Health Care, but because the way he is going we will be like Europe, a mediocre Country, with mediocre aspirations, with mediocre success, with mediocre achievements. I’m a winner, I hate the idea of being mediocre.

    Great pictures AJ, thanks for going.

    One other thought. We have sanctioned Honduras, cut off all funding, pulled passports, and Iran is storing things in Venezuela. I wonder what they are storing?

  4. kathie says:

    Obama is sending Michelle to stand in for him to get the Olympics for Chicago. This is important because Obama needs to ram through Health Care before Oct 15th with reconciliation. My bet is he will not loose this fight, and will ram it through. Any bets?

  5. Toes192 says:

    2,000,002 revised crowd count
    My wife & I couldn’t quite make it from Alaska but we were there in spirit…

  6. kathie says:

    I wonder how many Americans feel as I do. The soaring rhetoric makes my stomach churn, I question every word, I trust nothing that comes out of his mouth, I’m looking for what he is not saying, are his words just too slick, I am angry. This is a real problem for Obama, and the march on Washington is a big problem because I think 2 million Americans feel the same as me.

  7. lurker9876 says:

    I just hope that Obama will not repeat Clinton’s actions after he lost the Democratic seats to the Republicans and win the second term.

  8. Terrye says:

    Thanks for the pictures AJ. There has been a lot of debate on the numbers. I watched part of it on C-Span and was impressed.

    BTW, what happened to Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs? He is turning into Andrew Sullivan…he compared these people with John Birchers. Moron.

  9. Terrye says:


    I would say it could go either way. Some folks say that not all of this can be rammed through with reconciliation, it is not budgetary.

    and I think more and more Democrats are getting nervous.

  10. AJStrata says:

    Charles was insulted out of the conservative fold. The GOP cannot lose people like him.

    There is still too much arrogance on the right.

  11. Alert1201 says:

    LGF is calling it a Naderite protest.

    He was not insulted out of the fold. He walked out.

  12. AJStrata says:


    He has been under attack for months. Going to chase me out too? (like I’m in)

  13. Frogg1 says:

    Time lapsed aerial video of the march

    Lets you see even more how powerful that snapshot really is because it was only a snapshot of a long continuous march.

  14. Frogg1 says:

    Two million… or 306?

    Jim Hoft says that ABC and CNN have reported that more than two million protesters attended the protest in Washington today.

    Other estimates:

    • Up to 2 million: London’s Daily Mail
    • 1.5 million: Tea Party Patriots organizer Debbie Dooley
    • Tens of thousands: Associated De-Press-ed
    • Tens of thousands: Washington Com-Post
    • Thousands: New York Tass
    • 306: Keith ‘Strap-On’ Olbermann

  15. Frogg1 says:

    What did the White House have to say about the expected 9/12 Tea Party march on Washington when asked about it the day before ???

    “The White House on Friday claimed it was unaware of the planned rally.

    “I don’t know who the group is,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters with a shrug.


  16. Frogg1 says:

    Great post on your personal experience and your sense of the movement from being there, AJ! Wonderful photos also.

  17. Redteam says:

    if you can be insulted out, or walk out, you were never in..

  18. Frogg1 says:

    Charlie Martin — a computer scientist with extensive intelligence experience — emails from his secret bunker near Boulder, CO:

    I did a back-of-envelope based on the photos and reports. A pretty dense crowd is about 1.8 people per square meter, and the National Mall alone is about 125 hectares, 1.25 million square meters. So that would be 2.3 million people.

    Given the report from Steve of an actual literal count of 450K early on, I think the 2 million number is *very* plausible.

  19. Frogg1 says:

    And, from a NYT’s article:

    “In conversations with demonstrators, people identified themselves as Republicans, libertarians, independents and former Democrats. ”

    They were also from all over the country. So, don’t let anyone tell you this is a fringe right wing racist wacko group.

    This movement doesn’t belong to Republicans either. I think it is libertarian/conservative based at the heart. The people were angry with Republicans over spending/corruption/lack of common sense. Now that the Democrats are proving to have the same bad qualities (on steroids)… and the people have no where else to go…..they are protesting to reform Government as a whole. Whoever listens will garner their political support. And, they better be listening because they are about ready to turn the building upside down and start dumping politicians who represent special interests and money instead of the people.

  20. kittymyers says:

    I figure there must have been 2 million people there because the State Run Media is not really saying how many. (And what’s with Fox reporting “thousands.” Gimme a break!)

    The left tried to raise expectations beforehand by predicting 2 million thinking they could then label anything less a failure. They must be shell-shocked by the pictures of the crowds. Judging by the aerial shots alone show a crowd comparable to O’s inauguration.