Well, that didn't take long

It appears that the Tea Party Movement has already started forming its circular firing squad. (Someone should explain to them that, if they keep this up, people will start mistaking them for Democrats.) While one would usually expect a movement to actually go to the trouble of losing an election before turning on itself, given the movement in question this is no big surpise.

From TPM:
In the latest sign of rancor in Tea Party circles, a convention billed as an effort to bring together conservative activists from across the country is being attacked by some leading Tea Partiers as inauthentic, too tied to the GOP, and -- at $549 per head -- too expensive for the working Americans the movement aspires to represent.


Tea Party Patriots, which helped put together a September rally that drew tens of thousands to Washington, view the confab -- which is being held at Nashville's swank Opryland Gaylord hotel -- as the "usurpation of a grassroots movement," according to Mark Meckler, a leader of the group. "Most people in our movement can't afford anything like that," Meckler told TPMmuckraker, referring to the price tag. "So it's really not aimed at the average grassroots person."


The convention's prime organizer, Nashville criminal defense lawyer Judson Phillips, founded Tea Party Nation, a for-profit company that runs a networking site for activists. Phillips, a former local prosecutor, didn't respond to several requests for comment, but he told Politico that the convention was intended to make a profit so that Tea Party Nation can "funnel money back into conservative causes" through a 527 group it plans to set up.


Lurking beneath the concerns about the price-tag are vaguer fears. First, that Phillips and his allies are using the convention to boost their group's resources and its profile within the movement.

"The tea party movement is a grass-roots movement; it's not a business," one skeptical Tennesee Tea Partier declared to Politico.

"Who are they and what do they stand for?" another conservative activist asked TPMmuckraker, describing Phillips as "someone who is trying to make a grab."

If I were a better person, I would not find this so delightful. But here I am, chortling and clapping my hands. (Draw your own conclusions.) Someone ought to write a song.

There has, of course, always been "rancor in Tea Party circles." The entire movement is built on rancor. That's its raison d' etre. It certainly doesn't have a positive agenda or any coherent ideas for how the goverment should be run. (Which is why Palin is an obvious choice to lead them.) All they know is what they're agin, with a constant "us vs. them" refrain. It was only a matter of time before this loosely-organized rabble decided to draw "us" and "them" borders within itself.

I don't know if political movements need conventions to succeed. (Probably not would be my guess, but I suspect that the successful movements know what the hell they're trying to accomplish as a starting point.) I don't know what they would do at the convention, anyway. If it's really important that they get support for they're convention, and it's really important for Sarah Palin to support the movement so clearly consistent with her own political philosophy, maybe she'll be willing to show up without a fee, out of the goodness of her heart and a commitment to her principles.

Let me know how that pans out.


  1. Fascinating. I would observe that as far as "positive agenda" and "coherent ideas for how the government should be run" all one needs is to look to the remarable example of the Democratic Party of today. Of course, "our friends and family make out like bandits" isn't a positive agenda that appeals to the Great Unwashed, and as David Brooks puts it "pragmatic prefessional leaders with professional expertise have the power to implement programs" to accomplish our positive agenda is working out so well in the how government should be run department. I mean, just look at how the professionals at the TSA, DHS, NCIC, and other groups have professionally managed airliner security. President Fortunate Son has so eloquently testified to his Administration's competency, agenda, and coherent ideas in that one area in the last few days. Needless to say, his achievements on the economic and foreign relations fronts are just as spectacular.

    Buddha forbid that those crazy tea partiers actually have a voice in the agenda or working of the massively competent government of today. The should simply pay up and shut up, then go along with the Most Honest, Transparent, Ethical Government Evah.

  2. John, whatever you think of Obama (and what you think has been made eminently clear), he ran on a clear agenda. He said he was going to try to reform health care, and that's been his signature piece of domestic policy. One got a sense of what he would do in office.

    On the other hand, I have no idea what the Tea Partiers would actually do if they somehow (God forbid) gained control of the government. Would you care to explain it to me? Yes, of course they should have a voice. But now that they've yelled really, really loud, maybe they'd like to say something?

  3. For a serious counter to the anti-tea-party snark, read Tunku Varadarajan's In Defense of Tea Parties over at the Daily Beast.

  4. Mr. Obama was clear in his campaign promises, and he is proceeding to break every single promise he made. I have no idea what healthcare reform will consist of because it is being made behind closed doors, despite the CSPAN promise. His economic policy is in tatters, and his foreign policy has not survived contact with the real world.

    Tea Party philosophy? I would expect to see waaaay less government spending and a more realistic foreign policy. I'll take my chances on all the rest, which I grant is murky, because bankrupting the Republic will destroy our rights for sure. And if the Tea Party can't deliver, we'll toss those bums out, too.

  5. Huh. When I read that defense of Tea Parties, I see a series of postures and straw men (David Brooks! The Ivy League!) and no clear defense of what the Tea Partiers stand for. Yes, yes. The "free market." Which means what, in terms of policy?

    On that note, "waaaay less government spending" on what? What specific services are they willing to do without? And what is a "more realistic foreign policy"?

  6. drdanny, Republicans always claim to be in favor of spending less, but never come up with actual spending cuts (tax cuts, you betcha). The greatest expansion in a generation came under Bush and his prescription drug/ big pharm handout bill. Payment of such to come via the magic fairy dust of growth in the economy due to Republican tax cuts. And, like you, I have no idea what "more realistic foreign policy" means, unless that is just a trope for bury your head in the sand Ron Paul isolationism.

    The stupidity of these people is frightening, and I think evidence that Darwin was wrong in one crucial respect. A species can devolve as well, one need only look at the face of any tea partier to know this.


  7. Waaaay less spending on Education at the Federal level. Why filter precious education dollars through the pig-trough at the Dept. of Education? I'd put Education under the National Science Foundation as a research only aspect of the Federal government.

    Waaay less spending at Homeland Security. I'd disband DHS completely, along with the TSA, and put airport security back at the FAA. DHS isn't doing anything for US security, and the TSA is about 98.8564% security theater.

    Somewhat less spending at the DoD, which I would rename the Department of War. Our military services need a complete rethink in a post cold war world. I'd start by suggesting that the Air Force be disbanded, with the Army doing close air support and a new, small Space Force handling suborbital on up.

    We need to totally disband NASA and start over. The space program at present is not working well at all, and there is fantastic potential going down the tubes because NASA is completely mismanaged.

    And we need to start working towards less future spending on SS and Medicare to bring them in line with demographic realities. Means test SS, means test Medicare (with the Feds recovering medical expenses from estates at death).

    Implement medical reform by eliminating State restrictions on insurance, providing every American with catastrophic coverage (say, expenses of 18% of income and up), and also...

    Look to reform the DoJ and American Jurisprudence in general, not just with respect to medical malpractice. IMVVHO the US spends waaay too much on legal jousting and not enough trying to find the truth.

    Blow up Freddie and Fannie, period. Eliminate Congressional retirement, and transfer all Congressional retirement funds to the SS general fund. Finally, eliminate all Congressional exemptions from laws (such as EEOC and OSHA regulations). Anything Congress passes applies without exception to Congress.

    How's that for a start?

  8. I can't fault you for laying out a coherent package of cuts you'd like to see made. That being said, do you honestly think anything even vaguely similar is being propounded by the Tea Party set?

  9. Politics is the art of the possible -- and yes, my list isn't possible, I admit -- but the Ts are closer to my beliefs than the Ds or Rs. As you can tell, I think we need to scrap quite a bit and start over with a rethink. Things got the way they are for a reason -- Rs built up defense, Ds built up social entitlements, and each side let the other do so in order to get their pet project funded -- but a lot of those reasons have changed or were never valid in the first place.

  10. gadfly, so you propose on replacing politics as the art of the possible to that of politics as wishful fairy tales? I got no problem with what you wish for, hell I wish for a winning lottery ticket and a pony, that doesn't mean I am going to make an ass of myself by thinking it is realistically going to happen.

    You also seem to have little understanding of one fundamental aspect of humanity, which is power once accrued is seldom surrendered willingly, especially when the power is institutional.

    The tea partiers seem to have such small minds, I guess that comes from living in small communities where small problems can be handled fairly quickly and immediately, running an empire, though is utterly beyond these people.


  11. charo, no, I don't propose a politics of fairy tales. I was asked for a wish list and I gave a sample, just to show that there are places to cut in DC, including the DoD.

    I didn't say anything about term limits, but yes, if I decided where the lightning goes, I'd limit Congressional office to 12 years max (6 House terms, 2 Senate terms). 12 and out. IMVHO, seniority is problematic because the nutters on both sides come from sinecures filled with nutters (Pelosi in CA, for example) who vote them back in regardless. Limit the damage from far-left and far-right districts with hard term limits.

    And no, I don't want to live in nor run an Empire. I want to live in a Republic. I don't want Mainers makeing decisions for me, and conversely, I don't want to tell Mainers how to live. OTOH, I am realistic enough to know that the US ought to have a united foreign policy and federal military.