Update: The holder of the "Thanks Tea-Tards" sign has taken claim for his work on Twitter, calling it a "joke" and claiming that he is not affiliated with the protesting group, Organizing for Action. D.C. man David Roper, tweeting under @dwroper, sent out a picture of a friend creating the sign last night, and he tweeted at Slate's Dave Weigel calling himself "the tea tard guy" in posts that have since been deleted (Twitchy has the screenshots). He added: "glad everyone likes my sign. I am not part of OFA I just showed up."
Original: A protester held a "Thanks Tea-Tards" sign at a protest against the government shutdown on Tuesday, a sign made all the more obvious because of the rally's sparse attendance. The group Organizing for Action held the protest in response to recent conservative rallies near the capital, and neither of which have made their parties look particularly good.
The few who did attend the liberal rally didn't do much to help their side's cause. Politico's Reid Epstein tweeted a picture of the "Tea-Tards" sign, which drew plenty of negative attention to the protest's cause by belittling the mentally handicapped. That sign is already being picked up by conservatives like Rep. Steve Stockman. "Will @NBCNews ask @WhiteHouse why @BarackObama's official @OFA events mock the mentally challenged?" Stockman tweeted. In all, only about 16 people attended the OFA rally, which its leaders billed as a "Budget Shutdown Day of Action event."
OFA was created out of the remnants of President Obama's reelection campaign, and is now independent from the president. But even with that lineage, the group has thus far had trouble organizing rallies. A climate change event back in August drew no protesters because of rain, and this event had similarly sparse results. "A protest this big deserves a panoramic shot #OFAprotest," Washington Examiner's Charlie Spiering tweeted sarcastically with the photo above.
The protests from both sides in the past few days have each been their own sources of embarrassment. On Sunday, a Confederate flag-wielding man in front of the White House managed to undermine the momentum being gained from strongly attended Tea Party protests. That didn't look great for conservative protestors. In a sillier faux pas, Glenn Beck's rally at the National Mall supposedly featured Tea Partiers picking up trash along the mall, except that there wasn't much trash to be found anywhere.
The OFA protest wasn't all offensive, though. One more bizarre photo-op came when a shirtless man played guitar in his underwear in front of the Capitol, as National Review's Betsy Woodruff tweeted (right). But whether with 16 people or plenty more, activists on both political sides really haven't helped their causes in the past few days.