Last week, the group Tea Party Nation organized the first Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tenn., a for-profit event. Some 600 people paid $550 to attend, and Sarah Palin was reportedly paid $115,000 to the be the keynote speaker. After criticism of the convention’s cost, for-profit status, and payment to Palin, multiple national Tea Party organizations withdrew their participation.
But the event went on.
And so did the paranoid, conspiratorial assertions–that President Obama was born in another country, that he has covered up his college transcripts, that he is pushing a communist/socialist agenda, that he is protecting terrorists and endangering our country, etc.
The organizers of the convention made great efforts to limit access to the press, and even held “new-media training” sessions to help the Tea Partiers sound and look better on camera–the more people see inside this movement, the less like it. But we got ourselves into the event, where the right-wing, fringe sentiments were on plain display.
That said, these Tea Partiers–able to pay the cost of attendance–are more affluent than those at the 9.12 DC March, and more self-conscious of they are portrayed in the media. There were fewer signs and homemade t-shirts here, but the attitudes, if more subtle in delivery, were the same.
This New Left Media film was produced and edited by Chase Whiteside (interviews) and Erick Stoll (camera).