They resemble nothing so much as the anti-war protests during Bush's first term. ...I'd say that the protests, which were largely peaceful, respectful affairs, are filled with folks who are neither ragged nor naive. They sure as hell are resentful, though. As well they should be.
[A]nd just as George W. Bush benefited from having opposition to his policies identified with peacenik marchers in Berkeley and Ann Arbor, so Barack Obama probably benefits from having the opposition (such as it is) associated with a bunch of Fox News fans marching through the streets on Tax Day, parroting talk radio tropes and shouting about socialism. ...
Still, here we are in the sixth year of the Iraq War, and all those anti-war protests, their excesses and stupidities notwithstanding, look a lot more prescient in hindsight than they did (to me, at least) when they were going on. So if you're inclined to sneer and giggle at the Tea Parties, keep in mind that just because a group of protesters looks ragged, resentful, and naive, that doesn't necessarily mean they're wrong to be alarmed:
Bush was a very popular president, once. Many folks forget, since he was so radioactive by the time he left, but Bush's approval ratings were well above 65% for more than two years. Currently, Obama's rating is between 60-65%. Of course, having the media in the tank for him should help him initially. As time passes, though, I expect Americans -- even Liberal dittoheads -- to weary of the Soviet-style adoration that every network besides Fox gives him. As Bush found out, nemesis always follows hubris.