When the Brawler left the lakefront as festivities were beginning on September 19, it looked like the Milwaukee Tea Party had maybe drawn north of a thousand souls*. So you can imagine his surprise when he saw some of the estimates coming in. The Sheriffs Department claiming 8,000 to 10,000 (please note that Sheriff David "Slim Jim" Clarke was a speaker, as was Scott Walker, neither of whom can be said to be unvindictive personages). The MacIver Institute claimed about 10,000. The AFP claimed 15,000 (even though the MacIver Institute, as you'll see, claims the AFP said about 10,000).
The Brawler has no problem believing that the crowd grew after he left. He can even buy the estimate of his co-religionist Dad29 that 3,000 to 5,000 people attended. But 8,000? 10,000? 15,000? Did they parachute in? As the Brawler left he saw people coming in -- in ones, twos and threes. He saw the same as he biked past the proceedings. But dumping an additional 7,000 to 8,000 people on that spot in a 2-hour span would be all but a logistical impossibility given the constricted access of the parking along the lakefront -- not to mention that once they parked, they'd have to hike a ways to get there. So basically the 10,000 attendee argument is it took all day for north of a thousand people to get there but just 2 hours for 9,000 people to show up. Right.
And the Brawler might be more inclined to believe that the partydrew that crowd if there was some documentary evidence. But there ain't. And the footage offered up by the MacIver Institute claiming about 10,000 attendees belies that claim given that there's nowhere near that number in any of the footage. Note the visible verdant green space and abundant personal space (not to mention space occupying chairs) in the footage.
If there were 10,000 people there, let alone 15,000, you wouldn't have that kind of green space visible.
A crowd of 10,000 would represent a little less than half of the 23,000-person capacity of the Marcus Amphitheater. Seriously, does anyone there believe it was that big?
Now, I understand the right wants to inflate the attendance of its rallies to whip up a sense of resentment among the folks ("The media ain't reporting our true numbers!) as well as keep hope alive during what must be a time of dejection among a group of people who cheered us into a war based on lies, have had their ass handed to them in two consecutive election cycles, and are forced to watch the nation come closer than it ever has to large-scale health care and health insurance reform.
But saying 10,000 don't make it so and self-delusion has a tendency to come back and bite you.
Also, shouldn't the Journal Sentinel look into whether the Sheriffs Department is inflating the crowd estimates for political reasons? Seems that's an abuse of Milwaukee County taxpayer money -- most of whom are, of course, ideologically opposed to the teabaggers they so politely hosted. I mean, I pay more in taxes than, say, Patrick McIlheran, and it ticks me off my money's been used in this way!
*(While the Brawler is not a crowd countologist he has routinely been at large events and is intimately familiar with venues that hold 1,000 plus people and thus has a sense of what a crowd that size looks like. He also walked through the crowd and observed it from numerous angles, counted people in the hot dog line, and even, truth be told, chatted with a couple folks who liked his shirt and otherwise seemed like decent enough, if misguided, folks.)