I asked yesterday whether a liberal protest outside the Capitol would draw as much media coverage as a Tea Party. Answer: Sort of! Today's Rebuild the Dream rally, which brought around 250 or 300 people into some blistering heat, had almost as much media present, but at a ratio of around one reporter for every seven activists. The Tea Party was one to one. The crowd contained dozens of union members and progressive activists -- AFSCME, AFT, Planned Parenthood, Common Cause, etc and etc.
But who cares? This rally was something new under the (hot, hot, oh so hot) sun, even if it didn't reflect the reality of the current debt debate. Van Jones led the crowd in cheers for the proposition that they would not let Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid be cut. Some of those things were on the guillotine for a Grand Bargain, and may be threatened by a commission, but they're not in either the Boehner plan or the Reid plan. Instead, I heard a new focus on the threat posed by a Balanced Budget Amendment.
"This amendment would attack the very foundations of our democracy!" said Rep. John Garamendi, D-Ca. He warned the crowd that in his state -- he was lieutenant governor -- the 2/3 requirement to raise taxes has "ruined" things.
Republicans are aware of this. Tomorrow, they'll have votes on the BBA and what Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., now calls the "clean BBA" -- the amendment that only requires a balanced budget. The dare to Democrats: Vote against that.
(Photo by David Weigel)