Since the Tea Party movement made its big splash in backing Republican Scott Brown’s election, it has been cast by many as that special blend of populism for the right-leaning masses, brewed to perfection.
Someone, however, seems to have forgotten to tell that to the organizers of the National Tea Party Convention planned in Nashville next month.
The cost of admission, reports Kate Zernike of The New York Times, is a steep $549. Add in hotel, airfare and a $9.95 fee, and this “grass roots” convention is beginning to look more like a low-budget Caribbean cruise or high-end theater weekend in New York than a gathering of beer-drinking, truck-driving, red-meat-loving, genuinely-pissed-off anti-Obamaites.
Of course, the ticket does buy entry to the Opryland Hotel and chance to bathe in the aura of Sarah Palin, who, Zernike notes, is reportedly “Going Rogue” to the tune of $100,000 as the convention’s keynote speaker. (Palin’s brand of populism, it seems, is always accompanied by expensive wardrobes or lots of cash.)
Both the cost of the convention and Palin’s reported speaking fee are causing problems for at least the convention, if not the Tea Partiers down-home image. Philip Glass, national director of the National Precinct Alliance, which has led a grass roots effort to take over the GOP by commandeering precinct-level jobs, has announced that his group is pulling out.
Nor is he the first. Writes Zernike:
The American Liberty Alliance withdrew its support earlier this month. And Erick Erickson, the editor of the influential blog RedState.com, recently wrote that something seemed ‘scammy’ about the convention.”
For Pete’s sake (or at least Palin’s). Let’s hope this does not end up as “Tea, for two.”