Recently I was invited - evidently through Facebook's ironic algorithms - to join the group "Nationwide Tax Day Tea Party." It's got 56,088 members, 27 videos and 2,060 photos.
The photo album is a particular source of enlightenment. For one thing, you don't see a single protest picture until you're 91 deep. Most of the first 90 are anti-Obama/anti-liberal graphics and T-shirts that are graphic, indeed. The gallery is open and spans across several groups, but this is still telling. (Though I don't know what the Tyra Banks obsession is all about.)
Then you see 22 protest pictures, most of which are anti-Obama signs. Then, more anti-Obama/anti-liberal graphics. Then, rattlesnakes upon which you shall not tread. Then, more protest pictures, nearly all of which are entirely anti-Obama.
After that, to be honest, I just stopped. I went through 33 pages of photos, about one-quarter of the gallery. The protests chronicled took place all through the year and took place in numerous different locations. The common thread in nearly every photo is anti-Obama talking points.
As long as we've been having these tea parties, I've been looking for proof of what I get told all the time: "This isn't about Obama or any president. This is about runaway spending in Washington, and how we're not taking it anymore." Circumstantial timing, I guess. But the more I look, the more I reinforce my own point that the protests are the work of people who simply hate President Obama for whatever reason (be it political platform or, seemingly more common, just because of who he is).
Frankly, I'd have a lot more respect for these people if they'd just outright say they don't like Obama. I didn't like George W. Bush, either as a leader or as the kind of person he came off to be. I had no problem saying that; I didn't pretend it was something else. I didn't couch my disgust in a pet issue that I suddenly cared about. I wish these people wouldn't either, because the façade is about as thick as the Emperor's clothes.
If I'm wrong about the tea partiers' true motivations, then I'm open to proof. Until then, consider me unconvinced.