One blog (Barbara Espinosa's) that I read yesterday, stopped counting after they are counted upwards of 1,500,000 people walking by. This wasn't an estimate, this was a small group of people who actually counted every single person who passed them.
cut and past link:
I believe that our "political elites" (a loaded phrase in America if there ever was one), and by this I mean the leaders of BOTH the Democratic and Republican parties are under estimating the importance of yesterdays protest. By this I mean that both parties will tend to think that this is a ephemeral movement that will fade with time. That the anger that is present will fade with time. What they don't understand is that this movement is now more than six months old...and the numbers of people attending these sorts of events are growing, not shrinking. Additionally, the people who are attending these protests are not "astro-turfed" professionals. They are people with jobs, who have actual responsibilities. People who have never, ever done this before. And...more importantly, that for every person who attended an organized event yesterday, there are at least a dozen more, who couldn't do so. I'm one of those, I had to work, else I would have been in DC among the throngs of people there.
I'm more of a belief that this may be the start of a new political party. One that is founded on the old "conservative" ideals of smaller, less intrusive government. Balanced budgets, and actually attempting to pay off the national debt. These are the sorts of things that the Republican Party has lost, at least those who are elected to the US Congress any way.
UPDATE: From Roger L. Simon:
Boy, was I wrong. I can remember telling Glenn Reynolds during CPAC that these Tea Party demonstrations were rinky-dink and going nowhere. Barely more than a half-year later, they’re putting two million people on the Washington Mall. Wow! If I were Obama & Co., I’d be afraid, I’d be very afraid.http://pajamasmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2009/09/12/america-goes-to-washington-i-was-wrong-about-the-tea-party-movement/
FURTHER UPDATE: Via Instapundit:
One interesting note: I’ve said this before, but those in the GOP who think that the Tea Party movement is for their benefit need to think again. Roger Stone spoke, and while nobody had anything against him in particular, several people told me that they thought the GOP was trying to co-opt the Tea Party Movement, and they weren’t happy about that. My advice to the GOP — and, for that matter, to those Democrats who care — is to try to find a way to address the Tea Party crowd’s interests, bearing in mind that if you don’t they’re just as happy to throw Republicans out of office as Democrats.