Tea Party Convention: Give Me Some Sugar

Posted: Feb 05, 2010 7:30 AM
I should've expected the first guy I met on the bus from the Nashville airport to the Tea Party Convention to be a German journalist. I also should've expected that the second person I met at the opening night cocktail hour to be a journalist from the Washington Post. But my naivete about the media and the conservo-world never fails to disappoint; I continually forget that these sorts of events are an orgy for those trying to fill column-inches on The State Of This Thing Called The Tea Parties or What Grassroots Bickering Means For The Questionable Republican Cause.

If you haven't read anything on the Tea Party Convention yet, I suggest you do a quick Google search and read several testy articles produced by vigilant Politico reporters who are keen on figuring out everything that's wrong with this entire ordeal. And then I suggest you forget everything you've just read.

I just don't think those things matter as much as the people in attendance, who I can barely even find under the barrage of news media. Kim Keelor, the director of public relations here at the Gaylord Opryland hotel, wasn't exactly sure how many media personnel were here. But it's something like one reporter for every three attendees, or maybe one reporter for every two attendees. That's enough for each journo to fully and accurately portray at least two different conventiongoers, without just using them for quick quotes on movement politics or forcing them to pithily defend themselves.

But that won't happen. Instead, expect to see even more vicious stories on the event's organization, lots of "this is the crazy thing that this speaker said!" and in the end, lots of "This whole event is kind of dull." It's not dull — it's filled with people who are genuinely excited about being here, and keenly interested in reducing the size of government — but who aren't part of some grand conspiracy to co-opt a national movement, or even plot their next plan of attack against Barry O. They're mostly here because they're looking for some camaraderie, some political direction, and a good time. And their intentions are far more benign than those from the pool of sharks circling around with notepads and video cameras.
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