From the Tea Party Convention in Nashville

You might have read about some of the drama surrounding the National Tea Party Convention here in Nashville, Tennessee.’s Bruce Donnelly addressed the row the other day here, and after his remarks he posted the response of those who are hosting the event that started yesterday and runs through tomorrow.

One email that was forwarded to me probably typified the silliness (I removed some of it for the sake of space):

“[T]hat ‘event’ is pretty much a sore spot for a good portion of those involved in the grass roots movement. Without going into any great detail (which I surely won’t), the event was put together by [INVECTIVE DELETED] who seemingly set it up for self-aggrandizement and profit. … Unfortunately, while the ‘concept’ of the event is good (unification, blah, blah, blah), it has become, in fact, a disruption in the gelling of the movement as a whole, and is generally looked upon as a wasted opportunity. Organizationally, it was doomed from the very start because of his propensity for ‘using’ people (verified). Sad story/sad chapter.”

Holy Toledo. What theatrics. What horrors! Many conservative Republicans enjoy such dramas more than they do actually winning elections. If that sounds too harsh, too bad. As a conservative living in Illinois I’ve been watching (what I call) emotional activism for more years than I care to count.

Emotional activism gets you nowhere because it blocks out the work of real political activism. People gossip and talk endlessly about personalities and ignore the hard work of reaching voters where they live. And make no mistake — reaching real (or potential) voters where they live is not easy.

Anyone involved in the foolishness as demonstrated in that email text above probably isn’t spending enough time trying to actually accomplish the task at hand. Winning in campaign politics almost always requires a great deal of time, effort, and money. Energy expended living a soap opera is detrimental.

The Convention, by the way, is sponsored in part by Eagle Forum, the National Taxpayers Union, and the Leadership Institute. From my experience, those groups aren’t new to the fight and each carry credibility the drama queens complaining about this event can only hope to one day obtain.

On this page the Convention’s organizers explain their purpose:

“The convention is aimed at bringing the Tea Party Movement leaders together from around the nation for the purpose of networking and supporting the movement’s multiple organizations’ principal goals. This event is co-sponsored by other national groups that believe in a responsible and limited federal government that is responsive to all the people…”

For the record, the abbreviated first day of the convention went well. Media from around the country and from around the world were in full force interviewing anyone who would give them time. Among the notable people,’s Andrew Breitbart is in attendance. Evidently part of his role is to introduce Sarah Palin Saturday evening. (You can read her statement on why she’s addressing the convention here.)

Conventioneers were entertained by the legendary singer/songwriter Ray Stevens, and we heard a good speech from former Congressman Tom Tancredo as well. I can’t say Tancredo stood out for me when he ran for president in 2008 but his remarks yesterday were impressive.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Tancredo said of the tea party efforts spread out across the country. I have to agree. He spoke of the nation’s leftward drift under both Republicans and Democrats for the past several decades except for the Reagan years (1981-1988).

Tancredo noted that liberal Democrats and RINO (Republican in Name Only) Republicans have usually treated citizens like the proverbial frog in the pot of water — heated ever so slowly as to avoid alerting it to the fact that it was being cooked. Obama made the mistake of turning up the heat too quickly — and now the frog is up and in motion.

Up next: More From Nashville.