As you can imagine, Fox News was all over the massive Tea Party rally on Capitol Hill today:
A small but vocal group of Tea Party activists gathered outside the Capitol on Thursday to urge House Republican leaders to hold the line and push for deeper spending cuts in the federal budget.
Chanting, “Cut it or shut it” and “We want less,” the activists directed their ire at Senate Democrats, arguing that the cuts they have demanded are not “extreme,” but necessary to right the nation’s fiscal ship.
As you can see, there were at least 8 million people there! Give or take about 7.9998 million.
Dave Weigel reports that there were about 200 in attendance, though he tartly adds: "If there's much media focus on how small the rally was, I think that would miss the point. There was a total sense of victory on display."
Yeah, not to mention a total sense of having a strangely mixed message. The Tea Partiers wanted to blame the Democrats for shutting down the government -- while simultaneously demanding a shutdown!
But some Senate Democrats have suggested those Tea Party principles are to blame for the current budget stalemate, saying they have led to infighting among House Republicans that is complicating negotiations. Republicans at the rally laid the blame for a potential shutdown square at the feet of Democratic leaders in the Senate.
"House Republicans have run headlong in to Harry Reid. Harry Reid actually took to the floor of the senate and said that our modest down payment on fiscal discipline was reckless, irresponsible, mean-spirited," Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., told the boisterous crowd. "If liberals in the Senate would rather play political games and shut down the government instead of making a small down payment on fiscal discipline and reform, I say shut it down."
Not to mention the total sense of victory Tea Partiers are enjoying with the general public:
The public's approval of the conservative Tea Party has reached a new low, according to a poll released Wednesday.
A CNN/Opinion Research survey showed that only 32 percent have a favorable view of the Tea Party, while 47 percent view it unfavorably. Seven percent said they have not heard of the Tea Party, and 14 percent said they have no opinion.
No doubt this has nothing to do with the fact that Tea Partiers are increasingly over-the-cliff-batshit-crazy -- to the point that longtime mainstream conservatives are distancing themselves from them:
The Tea Party movement is brewing up a far different ideology that the country’s traditional, so-called “mainstream” conservatives, according to a new multi-state survey conducted by University of Washington political scientists.
The UW survey found Tea Party activists more likely to believe President Obama is a Muslim, less likely to believe he is American born, and far more likely to want the 44th president to fail.
The survey found that just 6 percent of mainstream conservatives believe President Obama is “destroying the country: 71 percent of Tea Party conservatives believe this to be true.’
Would-be Republican presidential candidates have “good reason” to court them, because people who support the Tea Party are “incredibly more political active than those who don’t,” said Christopher Parker, a UW associate professor of political science who led the survey.
“It will be hard to mollify them,” said Parker, adding in an interview: “We are seeing a split in the Republican Party right now.”
Among the differences between mainstream conservatives and Tea Partiers the survey found:
–Sixteen percent of mainstream conservatives believe that President Obama is a practicing Muslin: 27 percent of Tea Party conservatives believe that;
–Forty-six percent of mainstream conservatives believe Obama is a practicing Christian; but just 27 percent of Tea Party conservatives believe that;
–Fifty-five percent of mainstream conservatives believe Obama was born in the United States, compared to just 40 percent of Tea Party conservatives;
–Forty percent of mainstream conservatives believe Obama’s policies are pushing America toward socialism, but 75 percent of Tea Party conservatives say he is;
–Thirty two percent of mainstream conservatives want Obama’s policies to fail, but 76 percent of Tea Party conservatives want this to happen.
Of course, Fox's Megyn Kelly featured an interview with a Tea Partier making exalted claims on behalf of the movement -- in this case, Kitchen Table Patriots' Ana Puig, claiming that "the Tea Party movement is strengthening in numbers."
Sure they are. At least 8 million of them today, right?