MAD AS HELL: Not for All the Tea in Tennessee...

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Cheri DelBrocco and friend
  • Cheri DelBrocco and friend
That Glory Train, The Tea Party Express, has pulled into the station. For the next three days, Opryland is The Promised Land. After a series of rallies throughout the past year that looked like they were made for a Quentin Tarantino movie, Tea Party Nation is throwing a convention in Nashville. The love-in has begun. Or has it?

All the usual suspects have shown up. The Beckers, the Birthers, the Dittoheads, and their like minded posses of racists, xenophobes, homophobes, and other sundry phobic gangs in Winger World. And then there are the pro-lifers—who advocate for “justifiable” murder because it “saves innocent life which begins at the moment of fertilization.” Go figure.

According to recent reporting by the New York Times, and other media, there is trouble brewing in Tea Bagger Paradise. It seems as though the organizers who are charging $550 a pop to attend right wing fantasy weekend have chapped a few butts and raised more than a few eyebrows. Tension has mounted in the last couple of weeks, and while the rest of us are deciding between the Colts and the Saints, the Tea Baggers have been feuding like the Hatfields and the McCoys.

And it’s not just over money. Splintering and splitting is occurring over political identity. Libertarian factions who want a smaller government that stays out of personal life choices are sparring with religious groups who want a big government that uses its power to discriminate against people they don’t like.

Last week, Representatives Michele Bachman of Minnesota and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee both canceled appearances. No one in their camps are really explaining their sudden and last minute decisions as no-shows, although Blackburn reportedly felt that Tea Party brass had put guest speakers in an awkward position by extending an invitation to a for-profit convention.

Last minute switcheroos have also been made by several organizations who were expected to attend. Most notably canceling was a nativist group known as FAIR (for the Federation for American Immigration Reform). FAIR withdrew suddenly this week over concerns about the for-profit status of the convention organizers and the possibility of convention money flowing into unknown campaign coffers. The nativist slot is meanwhile being filled by a group known as NumbersUSA, founded by John Tanton, a retired Michigan eye doctor who’s written that to maintain American culture “a European-American majority” is required. The current head of NumbersUSA, Roy Beck, has made speaking appearances at the national conference of the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens.

But alas, there is that certain someone who will stop the bickering, however momentarily, and turn those sour grapes into red-state communion wine. She is the real reason most showing up have made their pilgrimage. They have come to honor their Madonna —The Lady of Perpetual Paranoia—-Saint Sarah of Alaska. She will reportedly receive $100,000 for her appearance and clearly, some in TPN are annoyed and have questioned the steep price tag. However, when Sarah shows up, merrily pouring verbal gasoline and lighting her book of matches by declaring that those in attendance are just like her—- misunderstood and disrespected Put-Upons who are picked on by a country full of “socialist” elites who don’t know what it’s like to live in the “real America”, she will wink her way right into their hearts. And their wallets.

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