Think that the fledgling Coffee Party movement wants bigger government, more social welfare programs and the higher taxes that inevitably accompany them? Well, think again. On CNN Sunday Morning yesterday, we learned that simply isn't accurate. Anchors T.J. Holmes and Brooke Baldwin set up a report from one Coffee Party:
HOLMES: All right. TEA party might have some competition out there. This time yesterday we were telling you about the national kickoff of a new political movement calling themselves the Coffee party.
BALDWIN: Well, they were heading out to coffee shops across the country yesterday. And apparently the turnout was pretty strong, but still we are asking, what is this group really about? Who are these people? These coffee drinkers?
CNN's Pat St. Claire (ph) takes a look at why some activists prefer their politics with a jolt of java.
After a couple of participants at the event identified themselves:
PAT ST. CLAIRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The folks gathered at this Washington coffee house Saturday came for more than just a cup of Joe.
Enter the Coffee party. A new organization that also says it wants smaller government and lower taxes, but builds itself as a more civil alternative to the better known TEA party movement, a group known for it's boisterous rallies.
D.C. area documentary filmmaker, Annabel Park, started the group on Facebook.
The report continued with a comment by Park and mention of her working for Barack Obama's election.
This isn't the first time the media have asserted the Coffee Party favors smaller government and lower taxes. That's belied in part by Annabel Park's own statement during a February 26, 2010 Washington Post online discussion:
Many of the people who have found refuge in the Coffee Party community are among the 53% of America who supported candidate Obama's vision for our nation's future. They are disconcerted by the vision that is being expressed through some of the Tea Party activities and some of their leaders' statements.
I don't know of many people who voted for Obama because he supported the concept of smaller government. And people "disconcerted by the vision" of Tea Parties don't sound like folks eagerly embracing lower taxes.
In a Saturday Christian Science Monitor piece, staff writer Patrik Jonsson noted this difference between the activist groups:
Even if the messages sound the same, the two movements differ in substantive ways. Tea partyers tend to berate the federal government as a whole (or most of it). Coffee partyers seem to be more in favor of government involvement – as in envisioning a greater role for government in the future of healthcare – but denounce the "corporatocracy" that holds sway in Washington.
And what of anchor Brooke Baldwin's statement that "apparently the turnout was pretty strong" at Saturday's coffee parties? That's vague; all she needed do was toss in an "allegedly." But what does "pretty strong" mean? In Peoria, Illinois, six people showed up at the coffee party there. The Pocatello, Idaho event "drew more than a dozen citizens." In Naples, Florida, it was a "small group that met at Burkett’s vitamin store." According to The Daily Caller, one meeting in Washington, D.C. drew five activists. Coffee parties attracted "about 40" people in Charlottesville, Virginia, Decatur, Georgia, and Kansas City, Missouri. A New York City participant was disappointed to arrive and find only five people - one was a reporter - there. Thankfully, others arrived although fashionably late and they ended up with about 25 in attendance. A picture of an event in Stowe, Massachusetts features only three people, with the comment "Small gathering given rain, last minute call, and busy lives."
ADDENDUM: Seton Motley spotted a great video, Coffee Party Group Therapy Session, on YouTube. Very therapeutic.
Looks like some of the folks at CNN have something new to drink. In addition to the usual Kool-Aid, they're favoring some steaming hot coffee these days.