As even detractors
reluctantly argue the Tea Party movement is here to stay, Sarah Palin is set to align her fortunes with the surging political force
by headlining the "first-ever Tea Party convention," according to the Christian Science Monitor
While this seems like a turning point for the grassroots movement--and perhaps for the ex-Alaska governor herself--commentators are
sharply divided on whether Palin's presence signals a gradual takeover by professional politicians, and whether the Tea Party will mount a legitimate third-party contender in coming elections.
- The End of the Tea Party This is a "bad idea," says conservative blogger Dan Riehl.
"It'll go on, become partisan, and may even do tremendous good in 2010.
But this is the beginning of the end of [the Tea Party] as a ground up
movement. Let the co-optation begin. Happens everytime there's money to
be made." To clarify his objection, he adds,
"anytime professional politics gets involved with a genuine grassroots
movement, I believe it's a good idea to understand just waht's [sic] going on
and who's pulling the strings." He also suggests that this move might
"alienate [Palin] from part of the base."
- Mixed Feelings, Particularly About Pay Lonely Conservative
writes of being "torn," sympathizing with the Tea Party movement but
thinking "all this talk of a third party ... is counterproductive," and
likely to lead to Democratic victories. Instead, "I'm hoping the GOP
will learn something from the Tea Party movement and behave
accordingly." Also, Lonely Conservative isn't nuts about the report of
Palin taking a hefty sum for speaking at the event--while a big Palin
supporter, the blogger says that being paid $75,000 for the event, as
rumors are having it, makes her seem "fake."
- Tremendous Potential "On its face," writes The Christian Science Monitor's Patrik Johnsson,
whose analysis piece helped set off the online discussion, "the gig
would seem a step down for Ms. Palin. But with an NBC/Wall Street
Journal poll ranking a generic “Tea Party” as more popular than either
Democrats or Republicans, and Palin herself rivaling the charming Mr.
Obama in poll popularity, many experts see the Tea Party event as a
potential milestone for a mounting, even transformational, force in US
politics." Furthermore, he writes, "agreeing to appear at a major Tea
Party event also gives Palin a larger
platform to criticize the president and Congress, and it guarantees
news coverage, potentially building momentum for a future campaign."
- Problems and Promise in the Tea Party The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart,
writing before the Palin news broke, discusses the particularly tricky
dynamics of the Tea Party movement with regard to established parties,
both Republican and Democrat, that Palin will be stepping into:
Tea Party movement is] best known for attracting ideological wing-nuts
who want to lurch the GOP even further to the right. But as David
Brooks noted yesterday, it has become the life of the Republican party
-- and could destroy it. Tea partiers took down Florida Republican
Party Chairman Jim Greer, who said had he not announced his resignation
Tuesday, his critics would have attempted to "burn the house down and
destroy the Republican Party" ... No one knows what impact any of this
is going to have on the November elections. A lot can happen between
now and then. But one thing is clear. The American people are mad as
hell. They want those in power to come up with solutions to their
economic concerns. Still to be determined is whether Democrats and
Republicans in Washington can actually quell their anger.
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