Inside the Beltway

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Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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The progressives are coming, the progressives are coming - so light the lantern in the old tower. Or something. Massive “tea party” rallies have been a frequent fixture on the Mall. But come Saturday, tea partiers must cede their familiar turf to “One Nation Working Together,” a rally to be staged on steps of the Lincoln Memorial, organized by 300 civil rights, union, peace and environmentalist groups. Tea party imitation may be flattering, but the footprint of the upcoming rally could be vast, thanks to a friendly press.

“The leftists are trying to emulate both Glenn Beck and the tea party movement by having their own march on D.C.,” said Warner Todd Huston, editor of Publius Forum. “Surely this will be a test of the left’s strength just ahead of this midterm election. Will they be able to get the ‘hundreds of thousands’ they are claiming? Or will it be little else but thousands of union members bused to the site and paid to be there?”

Mr. Huston adds, “More interesting will be to see how the ‘old media’ establishment cover this thing. We’ll see inflated numbers and all sorts of happy-talk coverage, for sure.”

Organizers include the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Democracy for America and Code Pink - all aspiring to “seize back the debate from Sarah Palin and the right wing, who have dominated the political conversation in this country as though they won the election in 2008,” said J.A. Myerson, a political blogger with

“The coalition it is made up almost entirely of groups that endorsed Barack Obama for president and provided electoral foot-soldiers and field organizers for his campaign two years ago,” Mr. Meyerson said.


“Twenty seven percent of self-identified gay and lesbian voters chose JohnMcCain and Sarah Palin in 2008. That’s a figure that translates to roughly 1.7 million gay votes for McCain/Palin. If gay conservatives are unicorns, our herd is huge.”

- Christopher Barron, president of the gay conservative group GOProud, writing in the Daily Caller


“The United States will do our part. But we all must do everything we can so that when those brave men and women wearing those blue, wonderful-looking - what are they called?” (Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton)

“Helmets.” (unnamed participant)

“Helmets, those blue helmets. I was thinking of the soft one that I like.” (Mrs. Clinton)

“Berets.” (participant)

“Oh, berets, that’s right. … I knew it was a French term, of course.” (Mrs. Clinton)

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About the Author


A graduate of Syracuse University, Jennifer Harper writes the daily Inside the Beltway column and provides additional coverage of breaking national news, plus long-term trends in politics, media issues, public opinion, popular culture, Hollywood foibles and “eureka” moments in health and science.

She has been a frequent broadcast commentator on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, C-SPAN, Voice of America, Citadel Broadcasting, ...

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