They Will Be Heard [UPDATED PRETTY CONSTANTLY]
I'M BEGGING YOU
From Ed Driscoll.
PLAYING IT DOWN
Here's the WaPo lede:
Conservative protesters by the tens of thousands crowded outside the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, a massive demonstration aimed at stopping what organizers called the over-expansion of the federal government under the Obama administration.
Tens of thousands? Technically accurate, but...
CABBING IT HOME
Calling from a taxi on the way back home, Stacy McCain said:
On our way out we spoke to Judith Knapp and her granddaughter Savannah Jackson, and they are from Baltimore. They were both wearing t-shirts that said American Patriot. I stopped and talked to them. Knapp said, "I'm not going to put her in debt, that's my point." And Jackson said, "Oh yeah!" to "are you a Beck fan?" after the subject of Cass Sunstein came up. "You wouldn't believe what it's like in the schools," the indoctrination before and after the election, she added.
Plus this quip from Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), "You have redefined gridlock in Washington."
BUT WHERE ARE THE HOT UNDERAGE GIRLS?
Courtesy of JeffDubya on Twitter.
It's ABC (TV, radio? Not sure.) that pegged the crowd at two million, not CNN. Official estimate is 1.5 -- but those numbers always sound inflated. Settle for a million and call it a damn fine day.
LIVE FROM THE MALL
Mike Pence again, addressing the crowd: "After years of fighting runaway government on this hill, you people look like the cavalry to me." And: "I believe we are on the verge of a great American awakening."
HERE IT COMES
Stacy was back on the phone, telling me about radio host Mason Weaver's speech -- "I came here because I thought you might want to hear a black man speak without a teleprompter" -- and then Ron Paul stepped onto the stage.
The crowd went so wild, I couldn't hear Stacy anymore.
CORRECTION: It was a mere rumor of Paul then drove'em wild.
COMMENTING IT IN
I arrived at Freedom Plaza around 9:30 and the place was well stocked. We started marching at 10 towards the Capitol but it was hard to tell just how big the crowd was while amidst it. I got to the West Lawn which was covered with folks and their signs, and turning to look up Pennsylvania avenue, I was heartened to see a stream of marchers still flowing. I don't know what a million people look like, and I would be surprised if it was anywhere near that, but we can leave that to others to argue. I thought it was an impressive turnout.....I wonder how the WAPO will cover it...front page or Metro section?
EMAILING IT IN
No photos this time, but Barbara says, "Reports roads closed marchers streaming from capital to washington monument."
Anyone know anything about this?
PHONING IT IN
Stacy McCain just called in with a bunch more protest signs spotted on The Mall:
Congress are you foolish enough to bet against our vote in 2010?
If you're not outraged you're not paying taxes.
Obamanomics - our dollars, no sense, trickle up poverty.
2009 Intolerable Acts - Cap & Trade, Bailouts, Obamacare.
Stace also talked to Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) who said he feels today's "strong turnout will make a difference. Congress will listen."
There were also chants of "nah nah nah, hey hey hey." Aimed at Congress, I assume.
Barbara tells me CNN is estimating the crowd at two million, but half that seems more realistic according to other folks on the ground. I'd say CNN (or someone) is gaming the expectations.
Still, that's a lot of people.
Again, from Barbara.
It's clipped off, but the sign on the far right says, "Go Green, Recycle Congress." Again, I'm really delighted by the truly bipartisan aim to tar and feather.
Griff Jenkins, arriving in style.
WORKING THE CROWD
Brendan Steinhauser, lead organizer of Freedom Works, is the main speaker right now. He said, "I understand Nancy Pelosi is out of town, but Madam Speaker, if you're watching on TV, we just replaced replaced the grass on the Mall with astroturf."
Stacy McCain is reporting all this from backstage right now, although there's really no telling how he snuck back there.
WORKING THE PHONES
Stacy called in to report on a Navy vet's sign which read, " Pelosi Reid & Obama - Three Stooges and Two Boobs." Although I'm not sure how to do the math on that.
Also, lots of state flags, too, including Colorado, and as far away from DC as Oregon.
More photos on the way from Barbara Espinosa, too.
There's at least one unhappy Democrat in the crowd today, too.
Could President Obama heal the rift... between economic conservatives and social conservatives? Stacy McCain reports that the two groups are both out in force today, and getting along just fine.
Hit "More" and keep scrolling.
Also from Barbara Espinosa, this sign hand-lettered by a Russian immigrant.
OH NO: Stacy McCain called in with a few more tidbits. Lots of "Don't Tread On Me" flags and a couple signs he found amusing:
Guantanamo: Terrorists Out, Capitalists In?
Finally, a legit use for torture! And I'm amused and gladdened that that second sign wasn't party-specific. Throw all the bastards out.
Remember, click to embiggen.
UPDATE: Barbara emailed this pic and said, "One of my favorite signs."
More updates coming.
ORIGINAL POST BELOW
Just got off the phone with Stacy McCain, who's trying his damnedest to get into DC for the big TEA Party march today. Stacy was calling in to tell me about his talk with Barbara Espinosa. She's on the ground at 11th & Pennsylvania Avenue, where they're metering the crowd. We're not talking about taking sample counts from a helicopter than extrapolating some dumb figure.
They're actually counting people.
And as of about noon Eastern, more than 450,000 people had walked by.
And as Stacy can tell you from the traffic, there are more coming in. Many more.
Barbara will have pictures and video in just a bit -- check back here for links and/or pics and vids.