The weekend's high-profile national Tea Party convention, which
attracted conservative luminaries from Sarah Palin to Andrew Breitbart,
may reveal the movement's national character in a way no other event
has. The once-fringe Tea Party rejected its birther roots
, indicating a more mainstream approach. It may have signaled the formal presidential ambitions
of Tea Party darling Sarah Palin. What else did we learn about the Tea Party this weekend?
- Tea Party's Coming Civil War CNN's John Avlon predicts
a split between two wings: fiscal conservatives and those with "Obama
Derangement Syndrome." He compares the first to "modern Paul Reveres"
with an "important civic role to play in our national debate." But the
second is just angry. "Their extremism will ultimately lead the
movement to self-destruct unless it is clearly repudiated." Avlon says
they'll either clash or both fade as a fringe.
On Friday night, Andrew Breitbart introduced “Generation Zero,” a
splashy documentary that argues that the financial crisis was
deliberately engineered by radical 1960s ideologues. Footage of dancing
hippies and pictures of Saul Alinksy — the radical organizer who has
become a household name among Tea Parties — were intercut with
conservative writers like Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund,
historian Victor Davis Hanson, and Manhattan Institute scholar Heather
MacDonald, explaining how left-wing theorists had long wanted to bring
down capitalism and replace it with a socialist society. In a breakout
session on immigration policy, Tancredo explained to Tea Partiers that
Democrats wanted immigration reform in order to enfranchise millions of
new voters to put them in perpetual power.
- Dedicated to Real Political Reform Instapundit Glenn Reynolds says in the Washington Examiner that it's not about Sarah Palin.
Over and over again, I heard from Tea Party Activists that they were
planning to take over their local Republican (and, sometimes
Democratic) party apparatus starting at the precinct level and shake
things up. The sense was that party politics have been run for the benefit of
the party insiders and hangers-on, not for the benefit of constituents
and ideals. And most of the conference, in fact, was addressed to
doing something about that, not to worship of Sarah Palin, with
sessions on organizing, media skills, and the like. [...]
Over the next couple of years, these multitudes of virgin political
operatives are going to acquire considerably more experience and
self-assurance, which means they’re probably going to become
considerably more effective, too. Politics may not be the same when
- Brutal Culture Warriors The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan is frightened:
"This is about Christianism, permanent war against Islam, rounding up
illegals (did you hear Tancredo?) and a culture war against the cities
and 'unreal Americans'. Unreal means not Christianist." Sullivan
dismisses Tea Party claims to fiscal conservatism, "They want much more
defense spending. And does anyone think they would
ever touch social security? Tell me of one speech this weekend in which
any serious spending cuts were actually proposed."
- Evangelical Christian Core Conservative blogger Jonathan Kay isn't wild about it.
"I think the one thing that really did surprise me was the high level
explicitly Christian social conservatism on display here. One of the
'breakout sessions' featured a speech from Pastor Rick Scarborough —
who is most famous for trying to get America’s preachers more
politicized." Kay reports on the "fire-and-brimstone" speeches that
feel more like Evangelical sermons.
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