Tea Party Convention: Failure To Launch

The much ballyhooed Tea Party Unity Convention has announced that they will be postponing plans for their summer gathering. Originally scheduled for mid-July, organizers are now looking at an unspecified date in October. Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips attempted to characterize the rescheduling as strategic asserting that…

“…it would more [sic] advantageous to hold the convention in the middle of October just prior to the November elections.”

I’m not sure why delaying a conference of activists until a couple of weeks before an election is advantageous. It seems to me that it wastes the efforts of their most motivated allies. They could have been working all summer to achieve their electoral goals instead of waiting until the last minute when it is too late to have much of an impact.

Tea CrusadersMoreover, additional comments by Phillips suggest that the convention was actually suffering from a dearth of interest. He cited the summertime heat in Las Vegas as a deterrent to attendance. He also revealed that many potential guests complained that they would have to decide between family vacations and attending the convention. And finally, he claimed that the delay would allow other Tea Party groups more time to participate.

All of these explanations point to a more plausible reason for the postponement: Not enough people were registering.

It seems unlikely that this list of excuses played a role in their plans. First of all, the air-conditioned eco-system of Las Vegas hasn’t kept millions of people from visiting regardless of the season. In fact, July will see many conventions take place, including Netroots Nation (which I will be attending) and the conservative RightOnline. It isn’t as if the conventioneers are going to be spending much time outdoors.

Secondly, if conflicts with family vacations were a real concern, then how is it better for families to go in October when the kids are stuck in school? The parents can’t just leave town without them. Also, with three months of summer why would there be any conflict in scheduling to begin with?

Lastly, are there really any Tea Party groups that have not had sufficient time to prepare for this event? It was originally announced last February. I can’t imagine that in the four months that have transpired they are just now becoming aware of groups who haven’t been able to make plans to attend.

It seems obvious to me that the real reason for the postponement is to buy time. They probably don’t have enough participants to make the event viable and they hope that three extra months of promotion will fill the empty seats. The delay will give them more time to get the Fox News machine cranked up to sell tickets.

This looks bad for the Tea Party Convention and for the Tea Party in general. If they can’t whip up enough excitement to populate their big “unity” conference, they are going to have a hard time motivating voters who are not nearly as engaged as the sort of people who flock to these gatherings. Time will tell if the rescheduling has the desired effect. If not, the next press release we see may be the one announcing that the convention was canceled.

This Just In, 8/1/2010: The convention is now scheduled for October 14-16. Be sure to snap up your $400.00 tickets and reserve your $160.00 per night rooms ASAP. I’m sure they’re selling like hotcakes.


4 thoughts on “Tea Party Convention: Failure To Launch

  1. The last strong 3rd party bid fell into chaos when Perot decided to take his ball and go home. Endless shouting matches of parlamentary rules and who controls the agenda. This bunch doesn’t even have a leading figure unless you count the Princess, a woman with a price tag. Not going to get much mileage out of “I don’t believe in government and taxes” nonsense.

  2. I have mixed feeling here.

    Sure, I agree with you there’s a lack of interest in another convention. Hard to argue against that. However, I’m not sure that indicates the Tea Party Movement is losing steam. How many paid conventions a year are going to milk the faithful in the name of the Tea Party Movement? This one is $399 to register and $132/night for 3 nights at The Palazzo. Add travel. Add meals. Maybe add an additional night or two. Did I mention there’s a recession going on which must be affecting the Tea Party crowd because I think keeping their money for themselves in these though times is at the heart of their resentments. Heck, other than blindly parroting their heroes like Beck, Levine, Church, etc. with misspelled signs they can’t articulate an argument except I want my tax money back unless it’s spent on Socialist programs that go directly to me.

    This election is critical for them and will be interesting to watch. This is the far right’s high water mark. They’ve been the chattel of the establishment Republicans for decades used for their votes and nary given a crumb. They’ve got the Republican establishment running scared. However, there’s a big difference between Tea Partiers spending all their spare time writing emails to their Congressmen or calling up Rush Limbaugh to cry on his shoulder and doing the hard, costly work of organizing political campaigns.

    I think the key to Tea Party success isn’t conventions or even giving their approval to Republican candidates like nut-job Sharon Angle, though the latter is important. According to Rasmussen, the experts on tapping the pulse of conservatives, Tea Partiers top establishment Republicans in popularity.

    • I was willing to grant that your argument was plausible until you got down to the part where you said that Rasmussen was an expert on something. Rasmussen is a dishonest hack whose polling has zero credibility. Even when it concerns conservatives, its goal is to artificially skew results that favor them.

      • Well, I’m not ready to completely kick Rasmussen to the curb. Their conservative bias is what I value in this poll since that’s the pulse I’m trying to take. The “Democrats” they poll you won’t see me quoting here.

        BTW, Salon has an piece on it. I recommend you read it. They include my skepticism of Rasmussen’s bias and my open mind in interpreting them.

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