The Tea Parties went off around California and the nation Wednesday, gaining attention for those concerned about tax increases and federal bailouts. They were certainly a success by the measure that they displayed an anger simmering amongst many voters throughout the country. But, controversy was stoked by the way some media outlets portrayed the events as a front for Republican activism.

A CNN reporter claimed the event was “anti-government” and “anti-CNN” because the tea parties were so heavily promoted by Fox News. The Los Angeles Times coverage of the TEA Parties focused on the charge that it was a Republican inspired event. Meanwhile, Fox News broadcaster Neil Cavuto, covering the Sacramento event, stated over and over that there was no political party agenda to the rallies and that Republican as well as Democratic officials were criticized for supporting big spending and higher taxes.

Judging by some polling I’ve seen, Democrats are also concerned about tax increases and the consequences of the federal bailout. However, I expect the debate over the media coverage may overshadow the rallies in some quarters.

Some California Democratic legislators made the pitch FOR taxes on Tax Day. As reported in the San Diego Union-Tribune blog, Democratic legislators unrolled a 150-foot scroll at a news conference identifying budget cuts made since 2003. Assemblyman John Perez of Los Angeles argued that the protesters who emulated the Boston Tea Party missed the point of that event. He said the Bostonians were protesting taxation without representation, and if modern day Californians wanted to get into that revolutionary spirit, they would dump the two-thirds vote.

Perez argued the two-thirds legislative vote "is the 21st Century equivalent of taxation without representation — and that’s what the people of California should be working to repeal so a minority can not hold the majority of the state hostage."

Sorry, John, but that twist of logic won’t fly.

In our day, elected representatives don’t necessarily do the job of representing voters’ views. Look at positions taken by the legislature that are at odds with statewide initiative votes of the people. A recent example is the gay marriage issue — a majority of the legislature voted for gay marriage, the voters rejected it. A majority of legislators in recent years have supported an oil severance tax also rejected by voters.

As pointed out by different scholars, Bruce Cain at UC Berkeley, John Matsusaka of USC and Eugene Volkh of UCLA, California has, in essence, two electorates. As Cain puts it, one electorate filtered though legislative elections and the other, the direct electorate. The two will often yield different outcomes on issues because of the nature of the voting population in the legislative districts as compared to the statewide voting bloc. Initiatives appeal to statewide voters, who often express a different opinion than legislators.

Without the two-thirds vote, we would face taxation with representation, but that representation would not necessarily reflect the will of the people.