I went to the NYC Tea Party yesterday. The tea parties have been held around the country to protest the stimulus bill. The parties seem somewhat small right now, and amateurish. The one I attended in New York had a bunch of people in City Hall Park listening to a series of folks speaking through a megaphone.
The crowd was maybe about 150-200, though to be sure, I am poor at judging these sorts of things. It did not seem angry and in fact was more light hearted. I did see quite a few Ayn Rand acolytes and Ron Paul supporters. The only angry guy I saw was an anti-immigration type wondering about.
Many of the signs were based on the principle of the stimulus bill leading to socialism. My favorite sign was "Pork -- the other red meat."
OK -- it is a beginning. Conservative/libertarian protests rarely come close to the protests the left is able to put together. Mostly I think it is cultural. The American right tends to be more individualistic and somewhat distrustful of protests. Protests too uncomfortably look like mobs.
Further, as PJ O'Rourke used to say "conservatives have jobs" and generally have better things to do other than stand around listening to people complain. They would rather sit at home and watch basketball or spend time with family.
Also, conservatives do not have groups that exist to organize action. The Left has ACORN and an array of activist groups. They call a meeting and within a day have professionally printed signs and rhyming chants. Conservative groups tend to be more like think tanks, and unfortunately, lobbying groups. Not as much street action oriented.
And yes, I would argue that much of that cultural difference is good. We do not think everything revolves around politics. Which is probably why the only major "right" protests tend to be ones that the churches are involved in -- most importantly abortion. But the churches have their own agendas and cannot really be considered part of the Right (though the more churchgoing you are the more likely you are on the right). The Catholic Church for example helps get the annual March for Life protests going, yet it also was the force behind the immigration marches (at least initially).
The rally was mostly positive and lighthearted. There was a Minuteman type running around. But the crowd seemed a mix of conservatives and libertarians, with Ron Paul supporters and Ayn Rand disciples sticking out.