Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bill Hennessy's Fuzzy Math

Bill Hennessy, leader of the local tea party movement, writes in a recent letter to Senator McCaskill:

Claire, there are 10,000 people who come to tea parties in the St. Louis [region]. For every one who comes, at least 1,000 support the ideals.
Let's see, 10,000 x 1,000 = 10 million St. Louis area residents supporting the tea parties. That pretty impressive, considering that the total number of people in the greater St. Louis metro area is estimated as a little less than 3 million.

So there you have it. 7 million more people than the actual population support his movement. Or, the other possibility is that both his 10,000 attendees number and his claim that 1,000 people support it for every 1 who shows up are complete BS.


  1. I'm a big fan of this blog, but this is strictly middle-of-the-night ranting done poorly. If you examine his statement, he never stated that there are 1,000 people in St. Louis who support the St. Louis tea-partiers; he merely said that there are 1,000, never specifying where these 1,000 might live. Thus, the population math error is merely an error in your interpretation.

    There are plenty of ways to pick apart this statement, but it's obvious that you're only mentioning this because you /want/ to bash conservatives. Please stop making liberals look like angsty trolls with no open-mindedness toward conservatives, plzkthx

  2. I'm all for a bipartisan look at this issue, but if you follow the provided link, the man says: "Claire, there are 10,000 people who come to tea parties in the St. Louis." (sic) He says St. Louis, although the total meaning is lost to improper syntax. But it seems to me that this post is a statement of fact. This is what the man actually said.

  3. As Anonymous #2 suggests, I think I captured Hennessy's statement correctly. However, I suppose since he used improper syntax there could be different ways of trying to reconstruct the sentence; however, none of them are good for Bill Hennessy. For example, maybe he had something slightly broader than St. Louis in mind. But the entire population of Missouri is only 6 million, so his statement would still be ridiculous. On the other hand, he might be talking about the tea party movement in general. But in that case, 10 million people would actually only represent a very small fraction of the United States population, and there would be no reason for McCaskill to take them seriously as a political force. Bill Hennessy made a ridiculous statement, and I am merely point that fact out.