Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Pecking Order in American Politics

There are a lot of ways to lie with numbers. But these crowd numbers tell some truth about where things stand in American politics.

At the top of the totem pole is Barack Obama.

Inauguration: 1,800,000
St. Louis and Kansas City, MO (Oct. 18, 2008) 175,000
Democratic Convention in Denver: 84,000
Portland, Oregon (May 18, 2008) 75,000

Considerably lower on the scale are the Tea Parties of April 15. The semi-official estimates were gathered together and published by Nate Silver of Although moderately successful, the tea parties were still dwarfed by Obama.

Largest crowd--Atlanta--15,000
Next Largest--Phoenix, Denver, Madison WI--5,000
Average crowd size per 346 sites--900
Total Attendance--311,000

However, the Tea Parties were an enormous success compared to the recent National Council for a New America event launched by Eric Cantor and featuring the Republican "elite leadership" of John McCain, Mitt Romney, Bobby Jindal, and Jeb Bush.

Event in Arlington VA pizzeria--100
(May 2, 2009)

In other words, the Republican political leadership is far outranked by the Tea Parties in the pecking order of American politics. Qualifications--yes, there are a few. Most importantly, the Arlington event was designed to be a town hall event as part of a GOP leadership listening tour and thus had natural limits on the crowd size involved. However, it is also likely that attendance was boosted because the meeting was promoted on all the major mainstream media outlets.

It is a hard cruel fact that national Republican politicians are so low in the national political hierarchy that they can't be compared to a Fox News media event.

The bottom line is that there just isn't that much interest in them.

They don't know it, but the national Republican leadership is much closer to losing their party altogether than they are starting the process of regaining Congress or the Presidency.

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