Evaluations of the effectiveness of yesterday’s anti-tax “tea parties” are split predictably down partisan lines, Chris Cillizza writes for the Washington Post. Republicans touted the protests, which brought out tens of thousands and garnered major media coverage, as a success. “I think something is going on out there,” said South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. Newt Gingrich likened the populist demonstrations to Ross Perot’s 1992 campaign.
Democratic commentators and bloggers were less kind, alleging dismal turnout at events nationwide and questioning claims of populist spontaneity. “The pushback against the ‘grass roots’ nature of these demonstrations has been remarkably successful,” one blogger wrote. “Nobody seriously thinks it’s a ‘grass roots’ movement and its astroturf origins are clear.”