Monday, September 14, 2009

The 9/12 March: It Wasn't Just Numbers

My full report on the big Washington rally is now online at Pajamas Media:
His sign said "Save America First — Evangelize the World," and he stood in the parking lot near Constitution Avenue with a bullhorn. Thousands who arrived at Saturday's 9/12 March on Washington. heard Pastor George Luca proclaim his pro-life message. A black evangelist from Virginia, Pastor Lucas condemned those who support "murdering innocent pre-born babies" and accused "so-called black leaders" of betraying their own people.
Diversity of opinion was on display everywhere among the vast crowd, generally estimated in excess of 1 million, that gathered on the West Lawn of the Capitol and sprawled for blocks in every direction. . . .
Please read the whole thing. I very nearly didn't write that article, because Charles Johnson's LGF attack on me -- and on Steve Green at VodkaPundit -- put me into such a foul mood. Because of Johnson's destructive idiocy, I haven't had a chance to address the big argument over the attendance at the rally until now.

Dan Riehl has tried to address the dispute -- one million? two million? -- with something like objectivity. My friend Barbara Espinosa was the source of the first concrete crowd numbers: 450,000, counted by a people-meter at the intersection of Constitution Avenue and 11th Street, two blocks east of the starting point of the march to the Capitol.

There were many, many late arrivals, and many other attendees who, for one reason or another, decided to skip the parade and just show up in front of the Capitol. I parked in front of St. John's Episcopal Church in the 1500 block of H Street at 11:35 a.m., walked a block to 14th Street and hailed a cab.

The cab driver zigzagged by cross streets east and south, and long before we reached Pennsylvania Avenue, I saw groups of sign-carrying protesters walking toward the Capitol. These people had gotten a late start, or had arrived via the Metro trains which, as Dan Riehl later informed me, were experiencing long delays Saturday.

The sidewalks along Pennsylvania Avenue were very crowded with more protesters who had arrived too late for the march and were making their way toward the Capitol. Also, as we approached the police roadblock, I noticed something: Some people were walking away from the Capitol, even though the events on the stage were scheduled to start soon.

What was going on? The main thing was that there weren't enough portable toilets at the Capitol. By the time I reached the part of the parking lot where the toilets were located, the lines were at least 20 deep. Many of those walking away from the Capitol had decided to walk a few blocks to use the bathrooms at one of the nearby museums.

Also, there didn't seem to be adequate food vending in the Capitol area, and some people were looking for a restaurant where they could sit down and eat.

What I'm getting at is that, throughout the afternoon, there was a continuous process of people leaving and arriving in the main rally area for various reasons. Barbara Espinosa, to cite one example known to me directly, ran down her cell-phone batteries sending photos to Steve Green and left the rally sometime after 2 p.m.

Furthermore, as I noticed when I went down to the police barricade toward the southeast side of the Capitol lawn to try to locate Cynthia Yockey, many people were wandering around on the periphery of rally. Dan Riehl arrived late, and could give an account of how many late arrivals were hindered by jammed inbound roads and the snarled-up Metro system.

All of which is to say that any given photo of the mall, taken at any time during the rally, could not possibly have shown the total crowd that attended the rally over the course of the event. Given the 450,000 number counted along the parade route, I have no problem believing that the total attendance was in excess of 1 million, but beyond that I am unwilling to hazard an estimate.

However, I think the quibbling over numbers misses the point: It was freaking huge, far exceeding any reasonable expectation for a day of overcast weather following Friday's rain in the D.C. area. At PJM, I wrote this:
Yet the 9/12 March on DC wasn't about numbers, except perhaps the trillions of dollars of federal debt heaped upon future taxpayers by the stimulus-and-bailout agenda in Washington and the untold trillions more that ObamaCare might cost.
As the rally was winding down and I was walking toward Massachusetts Avenue . . . I spoke to . . . Judith Knapp of Baltimore, who was accompanied by her granddaughter Savannah Jackson, both wearing "American Patriot" T-shirts. Knapp gestured at her teenage granddaughter and said, "I'm not going to put her in debt, that's my point."
Read the whole thing.


  1. The lack of toilets & food reminded me of Woodstock, where I'm still not aware of an accurate count of people. I bet there were more 9.12 Tea Partiers in DC on 9.12.09 than there were hippies in Bethel on 8.17.69. And that was without the free music from 32 top bands And without drugs, although I can't confirm that (I don't recall a bad acid announcement this weekend).

    The times, they are a-changin.

  2. The best indicator of how large the rally was is the relative silence from the State-Run Media. Last week the left 'leaked' that DC expected 2 million to show up, thereby setting up what they considered impossible to achieve.

    Instead of the rally, they led with O's campaign stop in MN with a whopping 14,000 showing up. Big whoop. Then they discussed the missing Yale co-ed. Then Serena Williams' filthy outburst on the court. The rally was more of an afterthought -- filler.

    I interpret that as a form of a silent admission from the State-Run Media that they thought 2 million were actually there. Because had the number been any less, they would have trumpeted the event as a FAILURE, leading every newscast and blazoned across every newspaper.

    Just look at the pictures, especially the aerial shots. Does that look like a failure to anyone?

    The Left must be shell-shocked.


  3. I think its laughable that here we dispute a count of a million people, but the Won can mis-count by 17 million and the most reaction we get is a quick eye blink.

    I look at the crowds in DC from a number of sources and have to ask, how in heck you get more people into that space? It certainly looks like a bigger crowd than any I've seen photographed before.

  4. We packed our lunch/drinks and made our wait at the porta potties a social event.

    It was an amazing and massive rally in our nations Capitol, and DC wasn't the only city - over 200 cities nationwide were holding their own tea parties.

  5. Here's how many people attended: Enough to scare the crap out of every congressperson not representing a "safe" district.

  6. Aw, breaking up is hard to do. Booga booga!!!

    Note: I'm removing all links to Pajamas Media from LGF, after they decided to feature a white supremacist's article as their lead story today.

    And note the gist of the post that comment is on.

  7. I think you might have forgotten something from:

    "They started marching at 10 A.M. A meter had been set up two blocks from start of march after one hour meter had registered over 450,000 had passed that site."

    That translates to 450k per hour. I read somewhere the parade went on for 3 hours. I think considerably over a million might be accurate. Again however what's more important is why they were there

  8. So now Charles Johnson is purging Pajamasmedia, and organization that he helped start.

    Is anyone running a pool on when Charles Johnson is going to ban Sharmutta? Becuase at that point, LGF will just be Charles, hiding in his underground bike bunker.

  9. Charles Johnson responds: Here’s a private open thread, restricted to registered LGF users, for a mind-boggling Monday as the right wing blogosphere unites to support an open racist who associates with white supremacists and neo-Nazis, Robert Stacy McCain...

    God, CJ really is shameless. He loves calling people racist. Are your ears tickling?

  10. It was huge when you also factor in it was a college football Saturday.

    Mikey NTH

  11. There is not a lot else to say: Shake & Bake! The oven timer just went off.

  12. Down in the Lizard Bunker, Charles "Pony Boy" Johnson speaks:

    0 Charles
    9/13/2009 9:22:48 pm PDT 12downupreport

    OT: It's really bizarre how many right wing bloggers are stepping up to defend Robert Stacy McCain, even though his connections to white supremacist and racist groups are undeniable.

    The right wing blogosphere is receding away from me at the speed of light, and all I can say is good riddance.

    Funny how CJ can't accept that he just might be a wee bit wrong on this. You can't keep calling everyone who you disagree with a racist and get away with it.

  13. Linked to this:

  14. The fair and unbalanced guys on Fox News are completely misreporting the size of the crowd at the rally on Saturday. O'Reilly is claiming that the fire department estimate of 75,000 is official, and Bret Baier is not any better.

  15. I have done my own study base on a devised stationary methodology and calculation which you can find here:

    It's backed by visual evidence (pictures and clips) all available in the same entry, plus determining the boundaries of the rally and calculation of the final tally derived from the density of the crowd at each given block. My calculus puts the figures around 130k up to 160k.

  16. September 21, 2009

    "DC Fire Department Report" Quote Regarding September 12 Event Misrepresents Agency Policy"

    In reference to the September 12th Tea Party event held in Washington DC, quoting a “DC Fire Department Report”, regardless of what any media reported, the size of the crowd of those who attended this event were never estimated by DC Fire & EMS. Any reports contrary to this are false. The DC Fire & EMS Department does not estimate crowd sizes.

    A Twitter posting estimating the crowd gathering at Lafayette Park only as “large, possibly as many as 60 thousand” stated that it was an early estimation of that specific area (Lafayette Park),not the number of participants in the event.

  17. i have seen the photos and to me it looks like a million+ people, don't believe o's lipmen on the lower numbers