Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Tea Party Begins: Nashville Asks, Who Are These People and What Do They Want?

Posted By on Thu, Feb 4, 2010 at 3:28 PM

click to enlarge oie_teaparty.JPEG.jpg
They're here! Tea partiers are pouring into Nash Vegas for their first-ever national convention, attracting a gaggle of media to rival country music week's. Sarah Palin is on the way to climax the big event by giving a speech Saturday night. Until then, reporters are on the prowl for news. A little far-right nuttiness would do nicely to put some sparkle in their copy, but this convention might disappoint. Tea party organizers insist they're all about business, focusing on grassroots how-to tactics--the phone banking, door-knocking and online networking that wins elections. You betcha! According to the Washington Post:
Unlike the mass protests and town-hall rage that has come to define the movement in its first year, the convention is designed to demonstrate that the Tea Party movement is "growing up," said convention spokesman Mark Skoda, chairman of the Memphis Tea Party. There are sessions on leadership, political philosophy and such nuts-and-bolts political topics as "how to do voter registration drives," as movement leaders try to turn grass-roots power into political gain in November's midterm elections and beyond. ad_icon "We are all very mature people -- without the pointy hats and the signs," Skoda said. "You will see people of quality and maturity to help bring this movement to a pinnacle whereby we actually change politics."
No pointy hats? The Tennessean's Jennifer Brooks was so excited at first that she started live blogging. But she's only managed to come up with one post all afternoon, and it was a bitch-fest about her failure to secure credentials. Newsweek blogger Daniel Stone is so bored he's resorted to writing about the niceties of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel like it's the Taj Mahal. "It's not often I write while sitting on a leather chair at the foot of a massive Southern-style white staircase, and beside a fireplace powered by real wood," he writes. We're not sure how much more of this we can take. Where are the nutjobs when you need them?

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