Via Instapundit comes a major (albeit British) media report that the Tea Party protest in Washington turnout could be as high as two million.
As impressive as that no doubt upper-limit estimate is, I think that the raw number leaves out an important qualifier. To be truly accurate, the report should say:
Two million people with jobs…
Getting hundreds of thousands of kids, the professionally unemployed and government workers to show up isn’t that hard (especially if someone buys the bus tickets). Getting two million middle-class, middle-aged people with jobs, careers, children and businesses is way, way more impressive.
We can safely assume that for every individual who made it to the protest that there are dozens of people whose grown-up obligations prevented them from attending.
That thought should keep Obama and Pelosi up at night.
[update (2009-9-13 10:17pm): I should point out that I don't think anyone really believes that two million people showed up in Washington. One percent of the entire U.S. population is 3 million people so two millions gets you two thirds of the way to one percent of the entire population. I don't think there is a city in world that could handle that big an influx of people. Washington D.C. itself only has a population for 590,000 so having nearly four times the population of the city show up is really not credible no matter what the senior Democratic leadership thought. On the other hand, having hundreds of thousands of people, most who have never protested before, show up is significant and puts the tea party in the big leagues no matter how you cut it.]
[update (2009-9-13 6:53pm): For unknown reasons, all comments by Hippeprof were deleted from the thread below. This issue is being investigated and we will try to recover the comments. If anyone else saw their comments disappear please email me at the link to the upper right.]
[update (2009-9-13 8:02pm): 20 comments were found to have been removed by the spam filter. We have restored them and I will be cleaning up duplicates and removing the "hey, what happened to my comments?" post in order to keep the thread clean.]
[update (2009-9-12-10:16): The technical problems have resurfaced. Your posts may not show properly. We may have to freeze the comments. If you have an important point to make you can email at the link to the upper right and I will add your comment to thread manually as time permits.]