From the National Tea Party Convention — Day 2

With all the news coverage of the event, many readers no doubt are being subjected elsewhere to the highly charged reports of supposed controversies and squabbling between TEA partiers here and nationally.

Listen, I’m here, and see no evidence of anything except good people getting together to learn and share experiences and ideas about how to retake the country from left-wingers and the Republican Party from idiots.

Okay, nothing is perfect. One of last night’s speakers at the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tennessee was Joseph Farah. I don’t know much about him except that I’ve seen his face on the website of World Net Daily. I guess I know more about him now — he admitted to being “obsessed” with the issue of Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

I was told the rest of his speech was better, but after he spent much too long discussing his obsession, I figured it was time to see what else was going on and left the hall.

Despite Farah’s speech — which I understand was the first of the convention covered by C-Span — my assessment of the convention is unchanged. The other speeches and the breakout sessions have been excellent. People I’ve met from all over the country have been fantastic.

Most of the attendees seem to be in their 50s and 60s, though scattered through the crowd are plenty of younger faces. The sessions are hardly controversial. Here are examples:

Young Americans for Freedom: “How to Involve the Youth in the Conservative Movement.”

The Leadership Institute: “Grassroots on the Ground” (this was a 3-part session).

Others included — “Why Christians Must Engage,” “How to do Voter Registration Drives and Where to Find Conservative Votes & Women in Politics,” and “How to Organize a Tea Party Group.” That’s not radicalism — it’s just good grassroots stuff.

Over twenty years ago when working at the Republican National Committee in Washington, D.C. I had the opportunity to attend their two-week-plus campaign school. Day after day they brought in experts to teach us the ropes. The quality of the presentations here in Nashville is similar.

A word about the ticket price — which the media loves to highlight. I agree with a friend of mine who argued for even a higher price. Yes — $550 is a lot of money. But as someone who has been around politics for a good while, having a barrier to keep out stragglers is a good thing.

Obviously, plenty of nuts have trust funds, so that’s not a foolproof way to keep them out. Illinois Republicans had two such goofs on the ballot for statewide office just this past Tuesday.

Also, it’s high time for conservatives to get serious about fundraising. If a person couldn’t raise the needed funds to attend this event, they might want to learn how to dial for dollars before pretending, like the movie character Ferris Bueller — to be the Sausage king of Chicago — or a political powerbroker in their home state.

Up next: Day 3.