What the Tea Parties Represent

On Wednesday, over 200,000 ordinary Americans gathered at nearly 1,000 locations around the country. Fed up with high taxes, increasing debt, and expanding government encroachment into their private lives, they gathered to express their displeasure with the Obama administration's policies and to rally around conservative ideas to push for a new way forward for America.

From the 400 people squeezed onto a tiny grassy plot in Macon, Georgia, where I spoke at noon, to the 15,000 gathered in downtown Atlanta, grassroots activists and community leaders at every location joined together in the Peach State and across the country to spread a message of American values: individual responsibility, equality of opportunity, fiscal responsibility, and governmental accountability.

The reaction from liberal media and pundits to this widespread demonstration of and for traditional American values was predictable, to say the least. With that most ingrained and dependable of leftist traits -- projection -- on full display, liberals from California to Capitol Hill, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D), declared these hundreds of grassroots gatherings to be "astroturfed" --  events funded by "corporate front groups" --  and (according to one senior Democratic aide) attended by "neo-Nazis," "secessionists," and "racists."

How far we've come from 2008, when "community organizers" were being compared to Jesus (and government executives to Pontius Pilate) and dissent and protest were being hailed as the highest possible forms of patriotism!

Perhaps the biggest misconception about the tea party movement was that it was focused solely on "anti-tax" protests. This perception was egged along by the mainstream media, which referred to these rallies in print exclusively as "anti-tax tea parties" and attempted to restrict the focus of television interviews with attendees to tax matters alone.

This attempt to cast the nationwide grassroots tea party phenomenon simply as an "anti-tax" movement demonstrates that the media are as clueless about the source of mainstream Americans' displeasure as folks like Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill (D), who posted to Twitter that she was "confused" why people were unhappy with the state of the nation and its government.