Tea Party events are known for rambling on forever -- see the tax day event in Market Square this year, which went on so long that one scheduled speaker got up and left early -- and last night's session in Shadyside was the same way. Speakers argued about the rules for arguing. They didn't want God mentioned in a statement on pacifism. They didn't want a statement on pacifism. Then they did. Then they didn't want to argue on arguing about pacifism. They didn't want to rally on a weekend when no one would be Downtown. Then they did.
"The discussion was messy. Little progress was made," the P-G's Liz Navratil wrote today.
So put me in the camp that says the two movements are alike -- or at least have enough in common for a Venn diagram showing overlapping worries about the state of the U.S. economy and how it's hurting regular people. I don't expect them to come together and all sing "The Rainbow Connection" or anything . . . though I would pay a lot of (the newspaper's) money to see that.
Last night's Daily Show started with a bit on major media figures, especially on Fox, belittling connections between the two. It featured this quote from Sean Hannity:
"The average American taxpayer knows at the end of the day they're going to be on the hook for the trillions and trillions of dollars that we're using to bail out these companies, some of whom have been irresponsible, and they are expessing their frustration, which I think is quintessentially American."
Except he was talking about the Tea Party, in 2009. Last night's Pittsburgh crowd certainly contained what Stewart called "college roommate" types, with some crossover with the G-20 protester crowd, but he answered Hannity with this:
"How are they not like the Tea Party? Ok, some of them smoke. And have pants made out of pot. Call them the THC party. Aren't these folks real citizens with real problems? Aren't they also speaking for America?