This last Wednesday I happened to flip channels (while the Mrs was on our only computer, which fact is going to change sometime this year) and caught the beginning of Geraldo At Large on Fox. He was covering a tea party convention where Sarah Palin was about to give the keynote speech. So I watched.
She gave her usual common sense arguments against the follies of the Obama administration and championed limited government and so on. Unfortunately she grounded many of her arguments in religion. I don’t want to discuss those arguments here. Suffice it to say they were standard religious right positions.
As I watched I began to suspect that this was an event intended to align the Republican Party with the Tea Party movement. My suspicions were confirmed by later events. After the speech Geraldo interviewed a panel of commentators one of which was Juan Williams who flatley declared Mrs. Palin as the new leader of the Tea Party movement. “No she’s not” I nearly shouted at the screen.
A few days later I received an email from the Tea Party Express announcing that they had nothing to do with the organization of that convention but added that they were having Ms. Palin speak at one of their parties in March and at another in April.
Then on Sunday the 7th I got an email from the other national group Tea Party Patriots. They had this to say in part:
“Dear Fellow Tea Party Patriots,
Tea Party Patriots, an organization with a reach of millions of members and over 1,000 voluntarily affiliated tea party and 912 local groups asks: WHY WOULD 600 PEOPLE AT A RALLY CREATE A MEDIA FREENZY?”
Good question since the media have routinely ignored much larger events. And
“Why did the media choose to show up at a tea party rally in Nashville that marketed itself as a “national convention” with only 600 participants who claimed to speak on behalf of the movement?
Why would the media show up just because a national figure was asked to speak? National figures spoke all over the country in local tea party rallies all year and in DC on September 12th.
We believe the answer to “Why?” is this:
There are heavy efforts underway to align us to a political party.
There is great concern that the Tea Party Movement will become a third party.
The media did not do their homework on this “national convention” and is now creating misinformation on the movement.”
I’m convinced that this event was covered to designate the Tea Party movement as a right wing Republican movement. I doubt it will work because the parties I attended last year were mostly independent voters with some Repubs and Dems as well. But they may get some mileage out of it. Stay tuned.