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Why do wingnuts keep threatening to swamp Washington with a million trucker convoy, a million bikers, or a million gun owners?  Sure these things are announced, but there's no follow through.

Why do the Tea Party and militias think it is possible to rally a million bikers or whatever?  They seem to be brimming with misplaced confidence. And what is the philosophical importance of this theme?  

Well the original 9-12 rally in 2009 was a bit of a dud, but the Tea Party tried to claim that about a million Tea Partiers attended. And this is how they have rewritten history:

Remember the 2-million person march on WDC in September 2009? Washington and the mainstream media never even blinked.
No, actually we don't remember it because it never happened. It's fun to make believe, but there isn't really a Santa Claus or Easter Bunny either.  It's the same deal pretty much.

Two million?  You think?

In fact most of these people aren't even on the Mall - they are on the lawn at the base of Capitol Hill, east of the reflecting pool and Ulysees S. Grant Memorial and spanning First Street NW DC  Compare this to Google Earth images and you can see that the bulk of the crowd is in an area 450 north to south and 350 feet east to west.  Most of the crowd was in a well defined area about the size of a Super Walmart parking lot, and while that headcount is  nothing to sneeze at, it's not a million people.

You tell me, does this crowd perched on the edge of the Mall  look bigger than the entire population of Delaware (pop. 925,000)?
I did a diary on the size of the 9-12 crowd,  and my estimates the crowd size at maybe 40,000 was closer to the media estimates of about 70,000.  I based my estimate on my knowledge of the Mall and Capital Hill.  Also the Metro system did not record a significant increase in ridership.  

You can compare that crowd to the Comedy Central Rally To Restore Sanity, which was actually on the Mall and completely filled several sections of the Mall with a tightly packed crowd.  This small sea of people probably totaled 100,000 to 200,000 people, and they didn't need to offer charter buses and box lunches to bring people in, like freedom Works did with the Tea Party. You can see a shot of the crowd size at 1:36:31

Maybe the OathKeepers and Tea Party are just bent out of shape about Obama's inauguration. Note that the inauguration is using the same space as the 9-12 rally, but the fences are moved out much further. And the crowd extends for nearly a mile.  Lowest estimates put the crowd at over a million on a day so cold the Potomac was frozen.

The inauguration worked because it involved months of planning, and managing the crowds used the full resources of DC. From historical accounts of military maneuvers, we know that a crowd of a million people would be paralyzed without strict discipline and planning.  After the Civil War, the 300.000 man Army of the Potomac marched in review in DC, and it took all day for the men to pass the reviewing stand, even though these were people who marched like they meant business.  Apparently the Luitpold Arena where Hitler addressed the Nuremberg rallies only held about 150,000 adoring Nazis.  Even standing shoulder-to-shoulder in tight ranks, they seemed like an almost incomprehensible sea of (in)humanity.

And if we look at the Oath Keepers web site, we see that the mythical 9-12-2009 crowd size has grown to 2,000,000 wingnuts, a crowd so large that it would have mostly paralyzed the entire Washington region for several days.

In the quotes below, they complain over and over that their fabulous march was "ignored." And the fact that they are being "ignored" is seen as a terrible provocation, another excuse for violence against a system that won't take them seriously. And being ignored is just unbearable for people like this who have an overwhelming sense of personal insignificance.  But if you can make other people afraid, that proves you aren't insignificant, right?  This is primitive and violent stuff. Seriously, watch this clip and see how Glenn Close in fatal Attraction goes from homicidal rage at being "ignored" to gloating that she can "frighten" people:
What has the rank and file RWNJ baffled is why won't the leadership call for more million man rallies?  They "know" the numbers are on their side, they "know" they did it once and they can do it again, they "know" all they have to do is walk to the Whitre House and tear it down with their bare hands.  

But the leadership knows for a fact that the 9-12 march was largely a hoax.  And they could get away with lying about the crowd size because the  Park Service had stopped providing head count estimates.  But private companies have picked the slack, and the head count for Glenn Becks rally was done with a camera on a weather balloon. If the 9-12 rally was done today, some news organization would fly over the crowd with a tiny helicopter drone the size of a pizza box and get a headcount using image analysis software.

Anyway, let's see what the OathKeepers believe:

What has me concerned is after all that we have done, and all that we have said to our Reps, They still don’t get it! or they do get it and and just don’t care. Close to 2 million people show up in D.C. and they just snub their nose at us.
That was a lovely garbled Palinesque turn of phrase, by the way.

Remember the 2-million person march on WDC in September 2009? Washington and the mainstream media never even blinked.
I attended in Sept 2009 and there were well over 1 million people there.

The DC Police did not expect that many people and were scared shitless that things might get out of hand but, they didn’t.

(Notice there that he claims the cops were terrified?  Notice how "terrified" is one of their favorite words?  Shit, I'm still terrified of Fred Thompson!)

As far as those who would like to march on DC armed. You may have your chance sooner than you might think if this ocuntry does not turn around real soon.
It bothered me to read on Oathkeepers website the moderator stating that they believe the 2009 2 million man march on DC to have been a waste of time, or to state that the planned protest on May 16th is a waste of time and “unconstitutional.” How could our DUTY to remove a tyrannical government be unconstitutional when it is stated plainly in the constitution?
So, just what exactly do law abiding, patriotic American citizens do when they are being attacked from within their own government. They address their government with peaceful protests, and their government calls them terrorists. They form tea parties and march, peacefully, on Washington, two million strong and their government says it didn’t notice.
I disagree with the editor of this blog who said the 2 million march was a waste and that we should not gather again at DC to protest. WOW! Isn’t it our constitutional right to protest? Yes, it is. Along with the fact that we have a DUTY to defend ourselves against a tyrannical government, which today is fully established, and soon to be in full control of our lives if we do not stand up and protest until we have no other option but to bear arms.
What this guy doesn't understand is that the leadership doesn't want them to gather because we'll all be there making videos of the non-event that proves how small their movement really is.  


And I just want to refer people back to a earlier diary, Tea Party At Nuremberg: Umberto Eco on UrFascism,  in which Eco drew  on his experience growing up under Mussolini. Amazingly, in 1995 he talked about the future of internet fascism.  

Here's some quotes from his essay: is permanent Armageddon complex...there must be a final battle
The Tea Party is rife with these secessionists, militias, battle flags, and talk of civil war. Also one of their main demands is for a default on the national debt, triggering an international financial panic or collapse.  
Contempt for the weak...every citizen belongs to the best people of the world, the memebers of the party are...the best citizens
It seems like the last thing that animates the Tea Party is the making sure sick people don't get medical care.
Fascism is the cult of tradition...dreaming of a revelation...concealed under the veil of forgotten languages....we can only keep interpreting its obscure message
The "Constitution" is the version of the Cabala.  And we all know Glenn Beck/David Barton's Ouija board approach to history pretty well. Clive Bundy has a Skouzen pamphlet in his shirt pocket.  How many of the militia nut know they are following paranoid fringe Mormon prophecy from the McCarthy era? How dumb does someone have to be to square that with their idea of traditional Christianity?
Obsession with a plot
Where to begin? Birthers, deathers, AGW deniers, militia NWO freedom fighter wannabees (Wolverines!), ACORN haters, Census phobics, yep, that's the Tea Party all right.
Condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits

Judging by the 9-12 protest signs, these folk spend a lot of time thinking about sodomy. A lot of time.
Obsession with a plot
Where to begin? Birthers, deathers, AGW deniers, militia NWO freedom fighter wannabees (Wolverines!), ACORN haters, Census phobics, yep, that's the Tea Party  all right.
Selective populism....There is in our future a TV or Internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be represented and accepted as the Voice of the People...we no longer need the Piazza Venezia in Rome or the Nuremberg Stadium
Wow, Eco wrote that in 1995!  And that selective coverage is the Tea Party in a nutshell - 500 people in a small hall that did not sell out being covered like a national political convention, 60,000 marchers being covered like the Superbowl.
Cult of Heroic Death
Yep that is certainly a big part of militia culture
Ur-Fascism must be against "rotten" parliamentary government.
Everybody needs a gun to overthrow the government!

And in the myth of the Million Man 9-12 march that the media and government ignores (because it never happened, dumbass) we see they are convinced of their overwhelming power and constant sense of humiliation.

Followers must feel humiliated.......must be convinces they can overwhelm the enemies...continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, (their) enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak.
Eco mentions the too-strong-and-too-weak theme that was also central to Nazism, which said the Jews were weak, physically and mentally degenerate, and simply wrong about everything, but they were strong with all the cosmic destructive power of an exploding star.

And that's how the Tea Party and militias see America - weak enough that they can push it right over by sheer force of will, but America remains strong enough to ignore their might.

Maybe the governments decision to pull back from the Bundy ranch was wiser than we guessed - without an enemy to make them feel important, they have fallen into various pissing contests among themselves.

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