The Protest Vote Cometh
Posted on September 13, 2009
The Protest Vote
I was running late, driving out to the Arlington Knights of Columbus to meet my brother in law to watch the Notre Dame game, when I ran into bad traffic on I-66.
It dawned on me as I crept along, that this was protest traffic. Folks were just leaving a pretty amazing event on the Capitol Mall, and they were going to make me late for kick-off. As it turned out, I wish I would missed the game, which the Irish should have won if their coach had a half a brain, but that is not the topic of this column.
In the beginning of college football season, when presumably most Americans (and most Republicans) have their eyes and hearts fixed on their favorite team, a million Americans (or so) came to Washington to protest excessive spending and lousy, corrupt government here in the nation’s capitol.
They were screwing up traffic, but that was okay. They were sending an important signal to the folks here in Washington. The question remains if anybody was listening.
President Obama held a counter-demonstration in Minnesota on behalf of his trillion dollar plus health care plan, and he too drew a big crowd. But he is the President, and he is supposed to draw a big crowd. Dick Armey, on the other hand, the organizer of the Washington protest, is a retired Congressman. But the protest wasn’t about Dick Armey. It was about the Obama Administration, and their ambitious plans to take over the health care sector of this country.
It was interesting watching the cable networks coverage of these competing events. MSNBC barely mentioned the tax protest. Fox barely mentioned the President’s counter-demonstration. And CNN barely mentioned either (at least for the time I was watching it).
I am fairly certain that most Americans were watching college football and not either protest. But the fact of the matter is that when the midterm elections come, it will be the protestors who go the polls, the not the vast majority of college football watchers. Midterms are traditionally low turnout elections, and that gives an outsized influence with those who follow elections closely.
I would be very nervous if I were in the Obama Administration. Conservative and Independent voters are very concerned about the leftward direction taken by the President and his allies on the Hill, and it seems that they are ready to continue their activism for the long-haul.
Even on the Second Saturday of college football season.