(Update: We reviewed the tape — citizen Victor claimed 34 minutes’ worth of tax money was taken out each hour of his labor, not 45 as originally reported.)
They had another one of those Tea Party things this evening, this time right next to the Times Square subway station on Broadway. The anti-Obama pep rally occupied part of the street and part of the sidewalk and stretched from the subway entrance to the door of Ruby Tuesday’s, which is to say two-thirds of a block; by our estimate it was about half as well-attended as the City Hall tea party in April, so we’d say there were between a thousand and 1,500 people there — which we’re sure enthusiasts will correct to 2.5 million and “MSM LIES!!!”
Though the organizers claimed it was a non-partisan event, many of the signs and t-shirts were anti-Obama (“Don’t Blame Me I Voted for the Old White Guy,” Calvin peeing on the Obama logo, etc). Others celebrated the 2nd Amendment and denounced the Federal Reserve. The major theme, reflected in the paper signs handed out by sponsoring group TeaParty365 to protesters, was “Taxed Enough Already.” Speakers expressed concern for their allegedly endangered freedoms, but were most exercised by the prospect of giving up any more of their money.
“Reckless spending, unread legislative bills, and runaway government — I’m sick of it,” said Organizer Kellen Giuda. He was also sick of being ignored. “Fox is here… where’s the rest of the media? Millions of people across the country are protesting against their government and they’re refusing to put it on TV.” The crowd booed and bayed, which as always we enjoyed very much.
“It’s time to act and TeaParty365 is ready to lead,” said Guida. “I’m here to tell you that you won’t see bloated bureaucracy and the wasting of your money when you donate to us.”
David Webb, filling the interlocutor role he held at April’s rally, said they were there to “send a message to our leaders, doesn’t matter what party they’re in… you represent us, we elect you, and we demand accountability.” He also lavishly praised the NYPD for their support, bravery, etcetera, which is always a good idea when you have this many gun fans in your audience.
The first speaker was rightwing columnist Deroy Murdock (one thing you have to say about Obama — he’s been a one-man affirmative action program for black conservative speakers). Murdock set the non-partisan tone when he announced that he had been in the “free-market conservative movement” since volunteering in 1979 to work for Ronald Reagan, which delighted the crowd. Murdock said legislators were acting like “teenagers with mommy and daddy’s credit card,” of which he was “sick and bloody tired.” He also harshed on Janeane Garofalo — and George Bush, leading to a long, confused silence from the crowd, which deepened when Murdock added, “Shame on George W. Bush, and shame on his architect, the overexposed Karl Rove.” But then he got after Obama again, and “so-called global warming,” and all was forgiven. “The American taxpayer,” Murdock concluded, “is exhausted when he is not downright anemic.”
Then Webb returned to a schtick he’d availed at City Hall Park: bringing an Ordinary, Anti-Obama Citizen up from the crowd. This time he got “Victor,” a psychiatrist who sounded a little like Stewie from The Family Guy. Victor complained that from every hour he works, the government takes 45 34 minutes worth of his earnings. We didn’t think America did 75 56 percent marginal tax rates anymore, but it played well with the crowd. (Update: Thanks to our commenters for correcting the record!) “When do I become a slave?” Victor asked, presumably rhetorically. He predicted the tax rate would soon go up to 55 minutes out of each earner’s hour. Then people will really be mad!
Next came Herb London, president of the right-wing Hudson Institute, power-dressed in pinstripes and announcing “The Second American Revolution.” “I fell asleep in 1965 and woke up in 2009,” he said, presumably speaking figuratively, “and to my astonishment, GM is owned by the government…” He was enraged that a national health care program was in the offing, and that we were “entering a new age, in which computers will decide whether in fact that hip replacement you need will be a tin item or a titanium item, based on age and what some bureaucrat thinks is important” — as opposed to the current system, under which one gets what one can afford, as God intended.
Then another Ordinary Anti-Obama Citizen was hauled forward, a delightful Lawn Guyland “stay-at-home mom” named Maureen who was concerned that the health insurance her husband, who “works hard every day,” gets from his job, will be “taxed” under the Obama Socialist Health Care Plan. This, too, is news to us, but the crowd felt deeply for Maureen, who demanded that those politicians in Washington “leave us alone.”
Webb brought up another repeat visitor from April, the exceptionally uptight Tom Basile (“Look,” said a guy outside the protest pens, “it’s that dude from The Office“). Basile began promisingly, making a teleprompter joke, and there were more speakers promised, including the legendary Stephen Baldwin, and probably more Ordinary Citizens too, but you know what? Life is too fucking short.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 1, 2009