In this week's Time magazine, Bill Bradley has a column. Bradley was a three-term US senator, ran against Al Gore in the 2000 presidential primary, was a Rhodes scholar, plus he was some type of athlete. Smart guy. You can read his full column here. I agree with parts of it, disagree with others, and was struck by this:
The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street offer contrasting examples of citizen involvement. The Tea Party promulgated a very specific objective — roll back government — and immediately converted its energy into electoral politics. The result was that in 2010, 49 Tea Party Republicans won election to Congress. Through their leverage in the Republican caucus, they almost forced the country into bankruptcy during the debate on the debt limit in the summer of 2011. That's how quickly things can change. That's how easily the status quo can crumble. Occupy, on the other hand, while full of passion and solidarity and armed with a catchy slogan — "We're the 99%" — failed to have much of an impact on policy because it had no specific objective. (Emphasis mine.)
Think about it: one election, one group, all that power. And it's more extreme than Bradley counted, if you include the state governments in Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, just to name a few. If you doubt the power of a few, remember that yesterday, Jan Brewer signed legislation effectually banning Planned Parenthood, which Rick Perry did in Texas (now struck down by the courts), and that today marks the Democratic primary to challenge Scott Walker next month, and where Amendment 1 will likely pass in North Carolina.
I don't know that Bradley's conclusion about Occupy is correct: the teabag contingent was already a movement without a name prior to their rising against the ACA in 2009. The people who comprise the teabaggers are the same racist, homophobic, anti-choice, anti-Semitic, gun-toting, poorly-educated, climate change deniers they've always been. The teabag banner just gave them a clubhouse they could all share with their vitriol.
Occupy, on the other hand, is relatively young, and has not yet gone through a legitimate election cycle: we'll see whether or not the power of that voting bloc can be harnessed in November. And it is incumbent on us, the Democrats, to reach out and bring them into our tent. It may be a transient location. In France this past weekend, Sarkozy was ousted and much of his party replaced by Socialists who realize that "austerity" is a disaster, and government spending is the only way for Europe to recover from the sins and excesses of the right wing and their bankers. By 2014, Occupy may well be organized enough to be fielding candidates who legitimately embrace the money-out-of-politics, and related, goals. This year, their choice will be to join us, or sit out the election, possibly causing further inroads on the part of the far right.
It's an "ich kreplach" moment for Occupy. (If you don't know "ich kreplach", it's after the jump.) The idea is that they hate the influence of corporations, their money and their power, on elections, politics, and sadly, democracy. They see both parties as having fallen into the grasp of that money pit. If you ask them about individual issues, Occupy identifies with the mainline Democratic positions: gay marriage, cap and trade, more money for education, etc. In the end though, many do not want to vote because they don't see enough difference between the two major parties, and consider them both equally corrupt.
It is up to US as individuals, to move them from that spot. Bradley's conclusion is different than mine, he thinks the answer lies in expecting more from our politicians, and making them give concrete answers. His conclusion fails in the fact that it's easy to lie, get elected, and change sides. Or just be Mittens and have a position for everyone, given the time of day. My conclusion is that we must realize that the GOP, circa 2012, is the problem, and vanquishing them is the solution. Through any non-violent way possible.
A shout out to John McCain, who is the last Republican to have done something decent. Yesterday, Mittens was faced at a town hall by a woman who said that Obama should be charged with treason. Like all Republican candidates faced with idiocy and racism on the part of an audience member, he just ignored it. Back in 2008, in the single best moment of his campaign, McCain was faced with a woman who said all sorts of nasty things about Obama in a similar forum. McCain took the mic back and said that while he disagreed with Obama on a number of issues, Obama was a decent man, and an American.
Mic check: Vanquish the GOP at the voting booth. Bring everyone you know. It's our only chance.
The polls say that Mittens has it today: between outspending Newt 3:1 (see chart) and running thousands more ads, as in:
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and his allies, especially the pro-Romney Restore Our Future, aired 12,768 television commercials in the state through Wednesday compared with 210 by former House speaker Newt Gingrich and his supporters, a study released Monday by the Wesleyan Media Project shows. [...]
Four years ago, outside groups had aired 1,763 ads — or 2.6% of all the commercials — in the GOP presidential primary, Wesleyan's data show. In this battle, outside groups have broadcast 30,442 ads or 43.6% of the total.
Through yesterday, super PACs spent $44 million (so far) which is 4 times what was spent by this point by outside groups in 2008. $44 million dollars would feed a lot of hungry kids, employ a lot of people....you know the rest. Just as an aside, it is NOT enough to set up a moon colony. Just saying.
If you looked at the chart I linked to, above, you'll notice that the spending is for negative ads. A HUGE amount of negativity. And I think that's one of the major reasons the Republicans are going to end up losing big in November. REALLY BIG. When the Teabaggers rose up in 2009, everyone was taken by surprise by the hatred. I remember my first brush with them. It was a town hall with then Senator Spector (also then a Republican) and Secretary Sebelius. I wrote then:
There were about 400 people on the balcony, and another 50 outside. All together, there were about 50 - 60 teabaggers, but they were loud, rude, angry and ugly. During the pledge of allegiance, they were close to chanting the "Under G-d" part. When Secretary Sebelius' name was mentioned in an introduction, they booed. When Senator Specter was introduced, they booed. When Specter tried to talk about his experiences as a cancer patient and how everyone deserved that level of care, they yelled to drown him out. When a woman from the audience, as part of her q-and-a with Secretary Sebelius, said that she was a retired nurse who would happily go back to practice under Single Payer, they called her names.
But it is different now. Sure, there are still the racist whites trying to hold on to America circa 1850, who believe President Obama to be "uppity", and who are completely fueled by hate. But there is also very legitimate anger, devoid of hate, on the part of most people in America. Are you angry? If you aren't, you should be. You should be angry that you, or someone you love, was unemployed for too long while giant corporations sat on piles of money that could have created jobs, and chose instead to offshore, in a lot of cases causing the deaths of underpaid semi-slaves to improve profits. (See here and here.) You should be angry that elected officials have spent every day since 20 January 2009 trying to thwart everything that Obama and the Democrats (non-blue dogs) endeavored to do. You should be angry that in the last years education, infrastructure, climate and civil rights have not been accorded the dollars and attention they deserve.
Your anger is righteous, and likely directed at the situation. Okay, okay, there are lots of targets, but think about it....as much as you were angry at Shrub when he was president, would you have gone much beyond calling him "Shrub"? Plotted an assassination? Threatened him in any way? OF COURSE NOT.
Republican anger is ugly and callous. Visceral and personal. In 2008, when Hillary Clinton lost to Barack Obama, even those who believed that the Democratic voters had made the wrong choice rallied for the party. Sure, there were a few PUMAs, but I'm betting that on Election Day, they were at the polls, and NOT voting for John McCain. Whether you supported Obama, Clinton, or one of those who dropped out earlier (and remember, we didn't know "all" about Edwards until much later) - you didn't hate the other candidates. You weren't angry at them.
When the Republican primary finally ends, it's likely that it will be Mittens who is the nominee. He'll be battered, bruised, but a better debater...and a lot of Republicans (and Independents) will viscerally hate him. Unable to vote for him. Newt's attacks have made Mittens run to the right, which down the line will cause him all sorts of problems with Independents. He's made many errors, including saying that he would veto the DREAM act: that will play to the Cubans in Florida, but not much elsewhere. (Yes, he'll do well in Nevada, but that's the Mormon thing on the Republican side. Most Nevada Hispanics are Democrats.) He's so rich, and yet too greedy to say "If elected, I'll be a dollar-a-year man, since $400,000 isn't that much, and I don't need it. I'll donate it against the Federal debt instead." Yes, I know, not going to happen.
I'm thinking forward to the Senate, House and state races: how many Republicans will run away from Mittens, giving us additional chances in all sorts of races? Lots, I'd venture. Simple example: can Republican candidates in Arizona, New Mexico, California and Texas run on an anti-DREAM Act ticket? Not and win...
And so today is the Florida primary. I'm guessing they'll call it for Mittens when the polls close.
I am on vacation for a week. If you know me at all, this means Fiona and I get to go to the dog park, twice a day, every day. "The Dog Park" is actually a multi-use place, with ball fields, tennis courts, playground, pavilion, stream....about 23 acres in all. Except when there are league games, it's predominantly dogs and people walking the loop. From the east parking lot across the fields, across the bridge as the dogs cross the stream itself, around the back ball diamond and back through a usually muddy area to the main fields. People tend to walk in pairs or small groups.
There are dogs of all shapes, ages and sizes, most are rescues. (The major breed of non-rescues seem to be Portuguese Water Dogs, as someone in the family has an allergy.) And there are an incredible amount of puppies. We're the same people who last year and the year before were walking very slowly, shorter distances, with our, um, older pets.
Many of us talk about how nice it would be if everyone in the world got along as well as the dogs did. We self-police: mean people and mean dogs are asked to leave. At another park in the region, a dog was killed by another dog earlier this year. We don't tolerate such bad owners.
Fiona has a few friends who were all born within weeks of one another. "Puppies playing" is a whole different thing from dog play or dogs and puppies. So anyway, yesterday I'm walking with the dad of one of these puppies and we're talking about how nice it is to see the glee in our dogs running together. "It would be nice," he said, "if the rest of the country came here to learn how to act." "Especially Congress," I said. He asked which side I was on, and then told me that he was a teabagger. We were off to the races so quickly that I had to break in with a commercial interruption and make sure this was good-natured banter, because I was actually concerned about Fiona being allowed to play with Lucy. He assured me it was. He also explained to me that Herman would be a better President than Obama. I asked about his not being able to name the countries of the world, the teabagger was unconcerned. I kept trying to steer the conversation to actual issues, but he kept explaining to me that Fox was the only news source that could be trusted and that all other sources were lies.
I ended up leaving the conversation because my phone rang, and then I had to leave because of the phone call. I'm near the parking lot and a woman ran up to me. She asked if I was Fiona's mom, and when I said yes she said that she heard I was on vacation, and wanted to know if that was "vacation from everything." I didn't know what she was talking about. Turns out her niece is moving and she needs a voter registration form, and heard I had them. I guess she thought I worked for the county. But no, I'm NEVER on vacation from voter registration....
Saw my teabagger later in the day. We talked not about issues, but that it really would be nice if Congress could talk. And then we talked mud puddles and tug toys.
It's a few days until the Catfood Commission II's results are due. For an interesting take, I recommend this article from Paul Krugman on why it would be best if they failed. I've printed out a copy to bring to the park.
If you have ever had a conversation with me that lasted more than 15 minutes, you've heard me say, either, "most people are morons, and most of the rest are idiots" -or- "most people are idiots, and most of the rest are morons". I once had the-boss-from-hell (for other reasons) who used to correct me by saying "no, most people are average, and it's the best they can ever hope for."
We all know there is a different between the classic definition of "moron", and the colloquial definitions of "idiot" and "average". And this morning, I'm unsure who is who, but having watched the reviews of tea bag nation from yesterday's tax day protests, I'm thinking....hhhmmmnnn.
These people actually believe that their taxes rose under the Obama administration. That is conceivably possible if one made more than $250,000 in 2009, but if one is earning that kind of money they don't take a day off to protest. Everyone else's taxes DROPPED at the Federal level. The sole federal tax rise last year was the additional $1.00/pack cigarette tax. And that's not an income tax, that's a voluntary sales tax. Did some state and local taxes rise? Sure. But there is a huge difference between state and Federal. It's in that Constitution document...
So where do they get off believing the lie?
My guess is that whether moron, idiot or average, they have abandoned actual thought for belief. This is always a bad thing. My fundamental construct relates back to racism, and a hatred so base it transcends the desire to think, only to hate. But I think there are a few other things, too.
Most people don't actually care about politics or government. They know there's something to it, but it's not daily life for them. Therefore, they find someone to believe and just follow blindly. I know this in my personal life. There are people I have known for many years who vote every year, but don't actually know anything about who's running, nor what the specific issues are, and every election, they call me up and ask for whom they should vote. I give them pre-marked ballots and they take them over to their polling places and follow the check marks. Is this a good thing? No, not really. For these folks (there are generally between 30 and 100 depending on how big a deal the election is) they believe that my choices are correct. Don't get me wrong, I've tried to get each and every one of them interested in politics, but to no avail.
I'm pretty clear on who I support and why. In the vast majority of cases, it's the Democratic candidate in a general. Albeit in some local races people run for certain people on a number of lines, so that blurs. In addition, sometimes there is a third party candidate worth voting for. (Love you, Bernie!) In every race, in every election, I can explain the positions held, my reasons for supporting the specific person, and if the person is an incumbent, the record.
My rationale for any candidate is always straightforward, and emanates directly from a set of beliefs, often codified as a party platform.
I lack hate. I never recommend candidates because I hate "the other guy". My recommendations are positive.
Contrast this with tea bag nation: they don't care who you support so long as it's NOT person X. They don't care what policy you support so long as it's not pro-civil rights, pro-human rights, pro-government action.
How do you change a mind closed like a steel trap?
Rationale doesn't seem to work. As in asking an individual how much they paid for Federal taxes in 2009 vs. 2008. Not the size of the refund, but the total amount paid. I'm betting most people don't know how much they paid: not in terms of percentage nor total dollar amount. They also don't know that fully 75% of the taxes taken in by the Feds go to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the defense budget. Yup, 75%. So if someone is receiving any of those things (and yes, that includes defense contractors) or a derived benefit (we have a standing army and it's a big deterrent to being attacked) the next question is: are you willing to give it up?
Will humor work? The President mentioned yesterday that he was amused. He's a great orator, and I'm betting tea bag nation will make it into the next speech he makes at a comic relief speech. It will be hard to be funnier than "I'm really from Krypton...." but it will be funny nonetheless. To the rest of us, the ones who still think.
Will education work? I'm thinking no, since we now teach to the test instead of how to think at the lower levels.
I'm thinking what we need is entertainment. Some funny, some poignant. Film clips showing what happens if we DO do what tea bag nation wants. Commercials, You Tube videos, feature films.
But I am certainly open to ideas. What are yours? What are YOU going to do to help stop the madness?
Greetings from snow central. The DC portion of the Federal government is closed today.
Spunky was the keynote speaker at the Tea Bag Convention on Saturday night. She put crib notes on her palm. My question is who did the actual writing? And thinking. But I digress.
It appears that she wants to run as a Republican AND a Teabagger. I understand easily that running as a Republican gives her ballot access, while running on a non-party would be difficult in many states. But it begs the question if Teabaggers are anti-government, how will they feel about voting Republican? OR if Spunky is able to BE the voice, face, and soul of the Republican Party, where do the remaining 12 Republican moderates and 37 AA Republicans go?
And what about Todd? The new email release shows that he passed proprietary data from his employer to the Alaskan government, "helped" make and break nominations and other hiring and firing decisions, and truly was a "shadow governor". And that's just what we've seen so far, much has been redacted, and more is coming.
While married couples certainly share information, do the teabaggers want Todd to have the launch codes? Maybe they don't care.
But the thing I'm really thinking about relates to the teabag supporters. I understand that people don't like paying taxes. I'm not one of those people because I believe in paying taxes. I want to pay taxes, because I believe in government services. I like roads, schools, libraries, a court system, and all the rest. I want some of the money I earn to go to services for people who need them. While I have a strict no-kill policy and therefore detest that a single dime of my money has ever gone for war, I am glad that some of my hard earned dollars have fed the hungry and provided medical care for the poor and helped to keep seniors solvent. But still, I understand the teabag rage against taxes. I understand that there is waste in government: I think we all realize it's part of the system that could use some improvement.
But the teabaggers have no implementable ideas. They seem unable to say where they would cut if they did decrease income from taxes. Do they want to do away with compulsory education? Do they feel libraries are superfluous because if you have a bible you don't need any other books? How will they pay for the wars they love so much? What will they do when children start starving to death? Have they forgotten what the world was like in the age of Upton Sinclair?
I don't think that Sarah Palin is electable for national office. Certainly not president. If she were able to capture the Republican nomination, it would be lightening rod for all of the progressives, moderates, non-voters, and anyone else who can read to rally to re-elect President Obama in 2012. But the fact that she has so much pull is indicative that we really are becoming, as my brother calls it, the United States of Entertainment. That being cute and dumb as a board plays well with far too many people.
We've written a little about the Tea Bag convention. And a little more. And still more. We can't help ourselves.
We're just a week a way, and today, that bastion of Teapartydom has dropped out. That's right, just hours after Marsha Blackburn said she just couldn't, Michele Bachmann is going to be a no-show.
That leaves Spunky, who is rumoured to be getting $115,000 for her speech. And they can't sell tickets. People who bought them want their money back. (Remember, that's $349 PER TICKET for dinner - your choice of steak or lobster - note no vegetarian option.) To wit:
[Tea Party Nation Judson] Phillips has bragged publicly that the tickets covering both the convention and the speech have sold out. Yet Tea Party insiders say that's not the whole story. Anthony Shreeve is an activist in Dandridge, Tenn. who quit the convention organizing committee over the expensive ticket prices. He says he has it on good authority that most of the approximately 500 speech-only tickets have not been sold. Shreeve adds that Phillips "isn't going to sell any more," and says other would-be attendees have been demanding—and receiving—refunds. Late on Tuesday afternoon, I tested his claim by attempting to buy 10 tickets to the dinner.If I’d been prepared to shell out $3,587.10, that would apparently have been no problem. "I really hope that Sarah Palin doesn’t come to this event because it's going to be really embarrassing for her to walk into a half-empty room," says Shreeve.
Amazingly ANTI-Choice people will be protesting against Spunky.
For the Denver-based American Right to Life, when it comes to abortion, Palin is as impure as any godless feminist. “[H]er words and actions prove that she is officially pro-choice and stands against the God-given right to life of the unborn,” they write in a new report. ARTL members plan to educate reporters about Palin’s many alleged failings as a true believer, particularly her March nomination of a former Planned Parenthood board member to the Alaska Supreme Court and her refusal to call for a ban on the morning-after pill.
I'm SHOCKED that a Republican would steal the intellectual property of a music legend like Joe Walsh. Meet Joe Walsh... Republican candidate for Illinois' 8th District.
Attorneys for rock star Joe Walsh of the Eagles are demanding that Walsh's campaign discontinue the use of a music video "Lead the Way," due to copyright infringement and violation of trademark laws.
A letter from Los Angeles attorney Peter Paterno says the United States Copyright Act prohibits the use of "someone else's song for your political campaign promotions unless you get permission from the owner of the copyright in the song. Maybe you got so busy with the campaign that you just forgot. But that's not OK."
"Now, I know why you used Joe's music -- it's undoubtedly because it's a lot better than any music that you or your staff could have written," Paterno wrote. "But that's the point. Since Joe writes better songs than you do, the Copyright Act rewards him by letting him decide who gets to use the songs he writes." - Lake County News Sun
Yesterday, I met my first teabagger. I'm not talking about being at an event and watching the crazies, like what happened last summer. I'm talking about being in a room stuffing charity envelopes (non-partisan, for an MDA fundraiser), and actually spending the better part of the day with someone assigned as my partner for the day.
We looked at each other and she said "You look familiar, where do you live?" Turns out we live about a half mile from one another, so we went through the normal places we could have met: dog park, regular park, National park, supermarket, PTA, library, and finally I said "Do you vote?" And she said "That's IT...you're always at the polls, and don't you run that big voter drive?" Turns out she always wanted to sign up to help register voters. And then she said..."I don't think you'll let me, since I'm a teabagger." After assuring her that all voter drives MUST ethically, morally and legally be non-partisan, she signed up for this spring. She told me that she used to be a Republican, but she changed her registration to Independent to send a message to the GOP.
I'd instinctively like to say that she was a horrible person and that I hated her on sight. But she was nice, reasonably smart (um, not in terms of the propaganda she's swallowed about politics, but overall), and when the other team in the room decided to taunt me, make fun of me, and be actually cruel, she defended me. A truly interesting experience.
I found it very interesting that the teabagger was not evangelical. She's actually not even religious. Her fundamental belief is that government has grown too big, the idea of reasonable government was abdicated by Shrub when he went into Iraq, and spent way too much money, and that the Republicans need to be taught a lesson to get out of the religion business and get back to defending the borders, printing the money, and leaving everyone alone in other areas. I was pondering this when one of the non-political morons said that the worst thing the current administration was doing was putting forth a health care program that would kill everyone over the age of 65 and force abortions on women. The teabagger thought that probably wasn't true, and her sole problem with health reform was the mandates: government, she felt, should not force anyone to buy insurance. She didn't understand that the money went to private companies, she thought it went directly to the government, but at least she was pretty sure there was no forced killing.
The list is out of which press outlets will be participating in the Tea Bag convention next month. I'd say "I'm shocked, shocked I tell you" that DCW isn't on the list, but hey, we would NOT WANT to be on THIS list:
The Wall Street Journal
World Net Daily
While we have the clothes, here at DCW we strive to report actual facts, plus retractions when we make an error, and we're committed to the Code of Journalistic Ethics. So, obviously, you can see how we didn't qualify. Plus, we didn't apply.
I should say, though, that it would have been fun watching Spunky. She had another bon mot yesterday when she was asked which of the Founding Fathers was her favourite. She used the old "all of them" that worked so well in her Couric interview. When pressed, she came up with George Washington. Good for her, and I mean that. She surprised me. I didn't think she could name one. She actually did better than Mika Brzezinski, though. Listen carefully, and you'll hear her name Lincoln....
Trust me, her dad is at home asking himself where he went wrong...
Don't say we didn't warn you - just three short weeks to the first national Teabag convention and the snark keeps coming.
First, let's look back. The "tea baggers" are really a bunch of different group using variations on the theme of "tea bag" and "tea party" - they all seem to hold the same anti-choice, anti-government, anti-civil rights, anti-LGBTQA, anti-tax, pro-gun, pro-war, pro-illiteracy sentiments, but they're not as organized as the "regular" IIE.
One of the early groups was Tea Party Nation. Tag line: "quench your thirst for freedom", or as I read it: "quench your thirst for getting rid of anyone who is not an old rich white guy, or a woman who will kowtow to him." Tea Party Nation was one of the first sponsors of the February convention. The one with so very much transparency that press are banned. Um, they'll have to let Spunky in as she is both press AND the keynote speaker. Probably also Rush and Glenn. But then again, are they REALLY press? I'm thinking not so much.
Anyway, the first problem is that most political parties are non-profit. Good of the people, get people elected. Like that. Yadda yadda. Kevin Smith (no not THAT Kevin Smith) was the webmaster of the Tea Party. He quit when he found out that founder Judson Phillips decided the Tea Party should be for-profit. His disdain did not stop there....
This is the story of the tea party movement in Nashville and the duplicitous behavior, dishonesty, authoritarianism, and downright fraud that this movement is trying to ferret out of our Government. Unfortunately, this particular case comes from the inside. It’s lengthy, but important. What began as a short blog post has become a novella. I left out as many extraneous details as I possibly could and this is the boiled-down result.
“It’s become clear to me that Judson and his for-profit Tea Party Nation Corporation are at the forefront of the GOP’s process of hijacking the tea party movement. What began as cries for true liberty and a public showing of frustration with the big government policies of both Democrats and Republicans has now been co-opted by mainstream Republican demagogues determined to use this as their 2010 election platform.”
Earlier yesterday we announced our support of the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville this February. At the time, we were basing our support on limited knowledge of those involved and we trusted that all was well. [...]
However, throughout the evening we were met with a plethora of replies, emails and Facebook messages that revealed a high level of concern across the board. [...]
I will not go into too much detail about the evidence. I’m fairly confident that it will present itself during the next few days. [...]
In summary, the controversy surrounding the event involves conversations about the infrastructure of the Tea Party Nation and the way its finances are channeled through private bank accounts and paypal accounts.
To be clear, the for-profit model has its place in the movement. Many, MANY groups in the movement operate this way. But these groups should always have boards and oversight, and should never, ever process donations through personal paypal accounts.
In this particular case, it’s entirely possible that those involved are operating in a fair way. But when we look at the $500 price tag for the event and the fact that many of the original leaders in the group left over similar issues, it’s hard for us not to assume the worst. [...]
The American Liberty Alliance will pass on being involved with the Nashville event, and we’ll ask to be removed from the sponsors list.
Did you see it? I bolded it - they're taking the hundreds of dollars per head through PERSONAL PAYPAL ACCOUNTS!!!! Tea Party activists are seemingly stealing from one another.
They don't believe the government should accept money in the form of taxes, but wow-oh-wow they're following the evangelical model of taking money from the poor and churning it into mansions, boats and the like for the inner circle. I wonder if the C Street boys will get in on this....and hey, Spunky surely needs another Bergdorf's shopping trip....
Tea Party Nation is pleased to announce the First National Tea Party Convention to be held February 4-6, 2010 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN. The convention is aimed at bringing the Tea Party Movement leaders together from around the nation for the purpose of networking and supporting the movements' multiple organizations principle goals. This event will be co-sponsored by other national groups that believe in a responsible and limited federal government that is responsive to all the people.
Keynote speaker? Spunky herself. Also speaking? That bastion of truth and sanity....Michelle Bachmann.
Notice that they're interested in a government responsive to all the people. You'd think they'd lead in that, but no. Guess how much it costs to attend the convention.....in a recession year....for the "regular folks".....$549 a head. Here's their reasoning:
Fifty people in a small tea party group for example each investing $10-20 dollars would take care of most of the costs to a delegate. This is not a huge investment money but information wise it will yield huge returns.
I'm thinking they're not expecting many minimum wage workers.
And that $549 price (plus fee) is waitlist only. You can still get into the banquet for $349 (plus fee) or the convention only, no banquet,for $349 (plus fee). That doesn't include hotel, travel or incidentals. Not that you would, but you can register here.
Here at DCW, we're just snarking about the money. However, the actual teabaggers are legitimately upset:
Tea Party Patriots, which helped put together a September rally that drew tens of thousands to Washington, view the confab -- 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."
Robin Stublen, a Tea Party Patriots volunteer, echoed that view. "This convention is $550 dollars," said Stublen. "How grassroots is that?"
Indeed, one conservative activist who has organized Tea Parties with several local groups told TPMmuckraker that even though she lives in the Nashville area, she still can't afford to attend. "To me its not worth it," said Toni, who blogs at Bear Creek Ledger and asked that her last name not be used. "I'm not gonna throw my money around for that."
"The Tea Party I know never had $1000 to pay for anything," another conservative activist told TPMmuckraker.
The high cost may be driven by the speakers' fees that organizers are shelling out. One activist who is familiar with organizers' plans told TPMmuckraker that Palin is being paid $100,000, much of which is said to have been raised by wealthy local donors. That figure could not be confirmed.
It's not bad enough for the GOP that they're splintered - now it looks like the teabag splinter group is splintering. Wait, wait...a branch of the Republicans catering just to the rich people? Nah, couldn't happen. Anyone want to guess how many non-white people will attend? Remember, there were 36 African-Americans at the GOP convention in '08....
Friend of the Teabaggers Jane Norton isn't backing down on the crazy:
Former Lt. Governor Jane Norton said she was spurred to try to win Colorado Democratic Michael Bennet’s U.S. Senate seat by what she sees as the dramatic expansion of government in the Obama era. In stump speeches, emails and interviews, she has vowed to work to cut federal spending as a way to end the “government takeover” of the private sector. One of the ways Norton proposes to trim spending is to eliminate the federal Department of Education. That dramatic proposal has predictably shocked members of the left-leaning Colorado politics-blogosphere, but it also surprised at least one conservative member of the small crowd gathered two weeks ago at the Lamplighter restaurant in Alamosa, where Norton reportedly first unveiled the proposal.
Randall Smith, an Alamosa Tea Party organizer, reported the comment at his conservative Perlstalker’s Ramblings blog. Smith told the Colorado Independent that he went to the Lamplighter event to hear Norton’s ideas “straight from the horse’s mouth.” He said he liked what he was hearing from her that night and that, as he recalls, her comments on the Department of Education came unprompted as part of a larger discussion.
“We were talking about what spawned the excessive size of government… and part of that discussion was on how to cut spending.”
Smith’s account as it appears at his blog:
There were fifteen or so people where when I arrived (I was a few minutes late), most of whom I recognized from the local Republican party and my Tea Parties. We met around a couple of tables and had a very frank and open discussion…
Mrs. Norton said all the right things regarding small government, low spending and low taxes. One thing I found especially interesting was that she felt that the federal Department of Education was part of the bloat that should be cut. Completely. It was her opinion that individual states should be responsible for education in the state and the federal government should stay out of it.
In using the word “cut,” Smith is sure Norton didn’t mean merely trimming the size of the department. She was definitely proposing to eliminate the department, he said.
“I stand by the version that I wrote the day after the event,” he said. “She was talking about [education] as not a federal responsibility, but as a state responsibility.”
Michael Bennet (or Andrew Romanoff) should start seeing higher poll numbers after Norton's teabaggery becomes more widely known. Rasmussen (and we take it with a grain of salt being from Rasmussen) had a poll last week showing Norton with a healthy lead over both Bennet and Romanoff.
DCW covered the Democratic National Convention last year. We had press credentials, and Oreo did a great on-site job. We also were delighted to have delegates reporting from there, too. We're planning on covering both the DNC and RNC 2012 conventions, although it's likely that if the RNC gives us press credentials, we'll look at each other with that look as to who goes. But there might be a third convention, and THAT would be fun to watch. Ultimate Kabuki Theatre.
It's started in Florida: the Teabaggers are a party! They're going to run candidates! Nationally!
A Florida conservative has registered an official "Tea Party" with the office of the Secretary of State, and is promising to run candidates against Republicans and Democrats in state and national races.
Obviously, their next target is Charlie Crist. It will be interesting to see how the actual Republican Party responds. Could the Teabaggers push them to be more centrist? Or drive them further to the right? We'll see how that plays out, and you can bet we'll be ALL OVER IT as it unfolds.
For today, though, I'm thinking c-o-n-v-e-n-t-i-o-n. First, the signs. We know teabaggers can't spell. Will that carry over to the banners the party itself puts up? Will the advertisers come down to their level? (Speeches at the Poopsi Center anyone?)
Who will they get as keynote speakers? Will Spunky abandon the GOP as too moderate and strut herself at Teabag Central? If so, who will pay the thousands on thousands for her clothes?
What will they hand out in their swag bags? Is there a tea company that will want to be the "proud sponsor"? Will they insist on AMERICAN tea? Do we even GROW tea? Actually, there is one tea farm in the US. However, they grow black, green, and herbal teas. Not white tea. Do you think that will be a problem?
And on that issue, is it possible that the 37 African Americans at last year's RNC convention could dwarf the number of African Americans at the teabagger convention?
Will they have mandatory evangelical Christian services every morning?
You get the idea.
If you think this sounds snarky and perhaps written by someone who would be called by Spiro Agnew a member of the "effete core of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals"...well...I actually am waiting to see if they can come up with a leader with an advanced degree (say, a Nobel Prize winning economist).
For now, I'm just impressed that they picked as their name "tea bag" - something that collapses in water and then goes out with the trash.