On the heels of Friday's remembrance of the September 11th attacks on the United States, a throng of conservative Americans gathered for a "9/12" rally on the national mall in Washington this weekend. There is a decent bit of controversy over crowd size—estimated between 60,000 and over 1 million—but the tone of the protest, a concentration of various grassroots anti-administration efforts, and remniscent of anti-tax "tea parties" held earlier this year, was *angry*.
REASON's Matt Welch gave a nice rundown of the events:
Nineteen out of 20 signs were hand-made. My favorite was "Stop spending our tacos. I love tacos." The most popular were variations on "Don't tread on me," "You lie," complaints about Obama's "socialism," warnings about the 2010 elections, references to the deficit or big spending, critiques of Obamacare, and (especially) cracks about various czars (including not a few that equated czars with Soviet Communism). Godwin's Corollary was satisfied on multiple occasions, including "Hitler gave great speeches, too," "the Nazis did national health care first," and someone comparing Obama's 2009 with Hitler's 1939 (alas, we didn't get to ask him whether America was about to invade Poland). Michael Moynihan did have a nice chat about George Marshall with the fellow holding a sign saying "McCarthy was right." There was an "Obama bin lyin," "Feds = treason," "Birth certificate," and "Glen Beck for president." Greatly outnumbering such things were references to the constitution, taking our country back, and so forth.
Sure, much of this is madness. (Communist, Nazi, fascist or terrorist?—the president can't be all four.) Sherrilyn Ifill and Maureen Dowd are speaking the same language about how Obama's race provokes some of this apoplexy. But all is fair in love and politics.
However, it's worth noting that in the absense of responsible thought leaders—a state in which the GOP has found itself since well before Barack Obama took office—the wild fringe of the Republican right is speaking for its whole. And it's not very articulate:
Covers the White House and Washington for The Root. Follow her on Twitter.