Posted by: samhenry | September 13, 2009

Size of the 9/12 Protest Took Authorities by Surprise – 3.6 million

Update -from the editor, SamHenry –

September 14, 2009 – The US Park Service has estimated that 3.6 million were in DC for the Tea Party.

editor’s choice from SamHenry

So often we have to travel outside the US to find a perspective that rights our ship.  This has happened and at a key moment in the history of the Obama Administration when a larger number of people marched to let the President know of their displeasure.  This article off sets an earlier article in the TIMES that reported the President had “won over the public” following his health care speech before a joint session of Congress.

From Times Online
September 13, 2009

We have averted second Depression, Obama claims

Tim Reid in Washington

Protesters against President Obama's health care reform
The size of the protest took authorities by surprise
here with the id “dynamic-image-navigation” is used so that the innerHTML can be written to by the JS call below.

President Obama will declare tomorrow that his economic policies saved America from a second Great Depression, but his words of reassurance risk being drowned out after a tumultuous 48 hours of protests and debate over his spending plans.Mr Obama will speak on Wall Street a year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, an event that unleashed a global financial meltown and the worst economic crisis since the Depression.

In his speech, a week before he hosts the Group of 20 financial summit in Pittsburgh, Mr Obama will argue that February’s $787 billion (£472 billion) stimulus plan staved off economic catastrophe. He will call for action on the financial, regulatory and structural problems that triggered the crisis and that still dog what is a slow recovery.

Yet his remarks come as the debate over his $1 trillion plan to reform the US health industry spilled at the weekend into broader concerns that public spending may be out of control.

Tens of thousands of protesters converged on Washington DC, the largest anti-Obama rally since he took office.

The size of the protest took authorities in Washington by surprise, as demonstrators from across America descended on the capital to express not only opposition to the health reform plan, but broader anger with the expansion of government.

The greatest source of concern, and the issue looming largest over Mr Obama’s presidency, is the exploding federal deficit, at a time when he is proposing hugely ambitious and costly spending programmes – with health insurance reform at the heart of them.

Many protesters carried signs highly demeaning to a sitting president, as the organisers sought to invoke the spirit of anti-British fervour – exemplified by the Boston Tea Party – that preceded the Revolutionary War.

Some signs even liked Mr Obama to Adolf Hitler, because of debunked claims that his health reform plan includes “death panels” that will order the euthanasia of elderly patients. Others carried giant posters of Mr Obama painted up to look like The Joker in the Batman films, with the slogan “Socialism” underneath.

Some held placards declaring “Bury Obama Care With Kennedy”, a reference to Senator Edward Kennedy – a veteran champion of health reform – who died a fortnight ago and lies buried in the nearby Arlington cemetery.

Although few in the crowd would have voted for Mr Obama in November, the demonstration was watched closely by the White House because the anger speaks to wider public misgivings about Mr Obama’s presidency.

In recent weeks, because of concerns about the deficit and rising spending, a growing number of independents and moderate Democrats – crucial to his victory last year – are deserting him, according to polls.

Mr Obama acknowledged in a television interview last night that he will “own” any health reform legislation, and that if it does not ultimately lower rapidly rising costs, he will be blamed.

“I intend to be President for a while and once that bill passes, I own it. And if people say ‘You know what? This hasn’t reduced my costs, my premiums are still going up’ I’m the one who’s going to be held responsible. So I have every incentive to get this right.”

The White House is making enormous efforts to woo Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, a Republican who supports a compromise Bill. With the death of Mr Kennedy, her support would probably give Mr Obama the 60 votes he needs in the upper chamber to see off a Republican filibuster.

There is also growing confidence that a nascent liberal revolt in the House can be contained. The powerful liberal caucus has demanded that any plan contains a government-run health option – something that will never pass the Senate.

A compromise, which would allow a public option to be introduced at a later date and which has been proposed by Ms Snowe, now appears likely.



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