Sunday, February 7, 2010

Tea Party, Anyone?

The Tea Party movement, which has been virtually ignored and sometimes outright mocked by the mainstream media, gathered last weekend from across America in Nashville to rally, share ideas, get information and basically share a camaraderie that they feel is missing from the mainstream Republican party.

Whether you agree or not, the Tea Party movement is about lowering taxes, less government, state’s rights and national security. If you think that’s the definition of the Republican Party, you’d be wrong according to the national spokesman for the National Tea Party Convention, Mark Skoda. He told Fox News that “in the sense that we [fellow Tea Baggers] believe in our freedom and liberty, lower taxes and fiscal responsibility, unfortunately up until recently, the Republican party hasn’t embraced that fully in their actions…”

The convention looked nothing like a GOP or Democratic convention. In fact, that was the goal, according to Skoda. He said it was more of a grass roots effort to bring like-minded people together, get people elected to represent them in Washington DC; not create a third party or a new wing or a splintering, schismatic change in the GOP.

While I get that, one thing that I do not understand is whom the Tea Baggers invited to give the keynote address.

While watching Sarah Palin speak about what “the party of Ronald Reagan used to be,” railing against president Obama, politicos and cogs in Washington, and ratcheting up the disenfranchised on the right, I couldn’t help ask: Why her?

Palin’s speech, full of her usual folksy style, actually reminded me of President Obama’s style of much enthusiasm with little details. The speech made it seem that she is an “outsider;” someone who is not connected to status quo in the political sense.

Look, just because she’s not going to parties inside the beltway or currently holding political office, don’t kid yourself – she’s still more than connected.

Did the Tea Baggers forget Palin was the vice presidential nominee…on the GOP ticket? She is more connected and less of an “outsider” than people realize. She was a governor of a state, groomed (poorly) by John McCain’s staff, and now a contributor for Fox News. The same network who has hired another GOP stalwart – Mike Huckabee.

The whole notion of her going rogue is preposterous. She didn’t change, the GOP saw what a liability and non-factor she had become and quickly scuttled her as a viable candidate for any major office, so now she has become her own attraction, her own circus side show. Scott Brown has gained more relevance than she does in a shorter amount of time.

The Tea Party thinking Sarah Palin as the “outsider” is a mistake. This grass roots movement, or as Palin referred to them in her speech, “young, fresh and fragile” group is not doing itself any political favor or increasing their viability by hitching their collective wagon to her fading political star. That’s like calling John McCain a “maverick.”

The next question the Tea Party people should ask themselves is, “one lump or two?”

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