Tea Party Convention Brews Uproar in Media


The blogosphere is in tumult over this weekend's first-ever national tea party convention at the Opryland Hotel, and we're running our metaphors through cement mixers in a desperate attempt to capture the momentousness of this event: "Just days away, the first national Tea Party Convention is collapsing under a cloud of scandal. Will star speaker, Sarah Palin, jump ship?" The answer is no, apparently, with Palin gushing to Greta Van Susteren "oh you betcha!" she's coming to Nashville. So now the question that everyone's asking is why would she do this to herself? Liberals, like Rachel Maddow, say the greedy wench is after her six-figure speaking fee. "That kind of money can buy a lot of patriotic we-the-people fervor," Maddow sneers. Conservatives defend their hero. John Hawkins at Right Wing News, thinks she's trapped in a Catch-22. If she goes to the convention, she risks a PR embarrassment by associating with such a debacle. If she cancels, she gets blamed for the debacle: "At this point, even if Palin would like to walk away, the whole convention falls apart if she doesn't show and a lot of good people would be disappointed." Then there are those who think the whole kerfuffle is overblown nonsense, a case of disgruntled tea partiers yapping to the media in a feud with the convention's organizers.
[P]lenty of groups are still backing the Tea Party convention, including Teri Christoph with SmartGirlPolitics.com, a site for conservative women. She says she thinks the group is "getting picked on because there are some sour grapes." "And believe me, there are sour grapes in many Tea Party groups," Christoph says. "It's just the nature of something like that -- trying to get a movement together."
"The controversy only proves there's no central authority," says John O'Hara, author of "A New American Tea Party" and one of the early tea party organizers. "And wherever and whenever people are getting together to talk about getting the nation on track, it is a positive thing." Glenn Reynolds writes it all off as just a little squabbling. Far from imploding, he says, the tea party movement is a growing power: "While 2009 was the year of denigrating and ignoring the tea parties, I suspect that in 2010, they'll be listened to quite closely. Those who fail to do so, are likely to find themselves out of a job." Update: Tea Party Nation owner Sherry Phillips sends an email to supporters to answer critics. "We will stay silent no longer."

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