“Word from Nashville on Monday was that the First National Tea Party Convention next month will be closed to the press, other than for a limited number of ‘selected’ journalists. No word on who or how many.
“This from the people who brought us last summer’s media-saturated Town Hall meetings…
“If the secrecy sounds a little, well, un-American, Phillips has this explanation: It’s not a political convention, but a ‘working convention.'”
“This really is unusual. As a journalist, I’ve been allowed into sessions, dinners, everything at conferences hosted by the Eagle Forum and by Focus on the Family. Extra credit to Eagle Forum here — when I was covering the How to Take Back America Conference in St. Louis, Phyllis Schlafly’s son Andy, an organizer, invited me away from my media seat and into a seat at his dinner table to chat with more activists. And some of the most controversial speakers at the National Tea Party Convention, like Rick Scarborough, happily chatted with me inside and outside of their sessions at previous events.
“One major implication of this, of course, is that for the third time since the presidential election — the first at a speech in China, the second at a speech for a pro-life group in Indiana — Sarah Palin will give a political speech that members of the media are not allowed to attend.”
“Let me be blunt: charging people $500.00 plus the costs of travel and lodging to go to a ‘National Tea Party Convention’ run by a for profit group no one has ever heard of sounds as credible as an email from Nigeria promising me a million bucks if I fork over my bank account number…
“The tea party ‘leaders’, if there are any, are actively at work in their home towns changing things one letter to the editor, one contribution to a candidate, and one protest at a time. They are not on bus tours profiting off the hard work and sometimes the names of others (some also on the bus with no pay) headed to Nashville licking their lips at the $500.00 per person payments coming in to their for profit company.
“Sarah Palin is certainly giving the National Tea Party Convention legitimacy. But at what cost? I am fearful this thing will blow up and harm her. I am more fearful that a bunch of well meaning people from across the nation are going to show up, expect more, and then grow disaffected or burn out when the deliverables they expect do not come in.”
“‘I’m hearing through sources Sarah Palin is getting $75k to speak at this Tea Party convention,’ blogger Dan Riehl, an admirer of Palin and of the tea partyers, wrote recently after learning that she was charging a substantial fee. ‘That’s a lot of damned tea.’…
“‘She thinks she’s coming to endorse the tea party movement, but most tea party people won’t be there because they can’t afford it,’ said Anthony Shreeve, an East Tennessee tea party organizer who quit the convention’s steering committee. ‘The tea party movement is a grass-roots movement; it’s not a business,’ he said.”