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Jesse Watters, Fox Nation Editor, Hypes Hypothetical Tea Party – GOP Merger

Reported by Alex - February 7, 2010 -

Fox Nation Senior Editor (and Bill O’Reilly’s stalker-for-hire) Jesse Watters, reporting from the so-called "National" Tea Party Convention in Nashville over the weekend, hyped a merger between the tea party movement and the Republican party. The only problem is, someone forgot to tell the tea party grassroots that this is a good idea.

Writing for Fox News Blogs, Watters enthuses,

The National Tea Party Convention – hosted by Tea Party Nation – has begun to lay the foundation for a merging of Tea Party activists with the Republican Party. Despite attempts by Democrats and certain media outlets to drive a wedge between the Tea Parties and the GOP, it’s becoming clear that the Tea Parties will grow WITHIN the Republican Party and not splinter off and form a 3rd party.[emphasis mine]
Tea Party Nation has announced the formation of “Ensuring Liberty Corporation” – a 501(c)(4) that will organize and raise funds to support candidates across the country who embrace the conservative principles of:
1. Fiscal Responsibility
2. Lower Taxes
3. Less Government
4. States’ Rights
5. National Security

Be afraid, Democrats, be very afraid! The GOP and the Tea Party are going to form One Big Republican Family and create a behemoth which will roll right over anyone who stands in their way, powering straight into Congress in 2010 and into the Oval Office in 2012!

If you’re the bettin’ kind, I’d put my money elsewhere if I were you.

Watters writes,

The grassroots activists here are ignoring the media-driven narrative of infighting within the Tea Party Movement. They don’t care about that. Yes, there are disputes among different Tea Party groups: The Tea Party Patriots, The Tea Party Express, Tea Party Nation, Freedom Works … but I have not witnessed any of this in Nashville so far and hear that discussions are taking place at the leadership level to resolve what are considered healthy disagreements that occur in all young organic movements.
Well, DUHHHH, Jesse! Did it ever occur to you that the reason you don’t see dissent at the so-called Tea Pary Convention is that the dissenters chose not to attend?

The dissent starts at the local level where a split occurred early on in the organizing of the event, which was ultimately run as a commercial, for-profit event by Tea Party Nation owners (yes, owners -TPN is a registered corporation) Judson and Sherry Phillips. The so-called “splinters” ran their own, local, lower-key and inexpensive event in January, attracting 34 Tennessee tea party groups who formed a new umbrella organization, the Tea Party Coalition, representing 18,000 people from Tennessee alone. On the other hand, less than 10% of those attending the Tea Party Nation shindig at Opryland (600 registered for the weekend and an additional 500 attending Sarah Palin’s closing speech) were from Tennessee. Members of the new Coalition staged a protest and press conference outside the convention hall on Saturday to highlight the hierarchical, authoritarian structure of Tea Party Nation as well as its profiteering and all-too-close ties to the Republican party. Politico reports,

Since parting ways with the Phillipses, the [protestors] have formed a coalition of 34 tea party groups from across Tennessee, and have blasted the convention for its $550 tickets, lavish trappings (including a steak-and-lobster banquet on Saturday at which Sarah Palin will deliver the keynote address), for-profit status and ties to the Republican Party. “This movement is not about the Republican Party. It is a grass-roots movement about we, the people,” said Shreeve, who said he resigned from the convention steering committee in protest over the convention’s unusual finances.

That’s not all the local coalition is unhappy about. Mike Herr of the TPC said on Friday evening, as the convention got under way, "The tea party I'm involved with ... we have genuine concerns and they're not shameful or racist." By that time, inside the hall, Tom Tancredo had ranted that “Barack Hussein Obama” had been elected by "people who could not even spell the word 'vote' or say it in English” and that all prospective voters should be subject to a literacy test – a suggestion reminiscent of the Jim Crow laws, banned in 1964, which used literacy tests as one way of preventing blacks from voting. Tancredo also huffed about “multiculturalism”, throwing a coded bone to white supremacists who are attracted to the tea party movement and use it to recruit for their own groups.

And what does Watters say about this? “Typically, the mainstream media representatives here are trying to foment discord and continue to hammer the Tea Party Nation leadership about controversial comments made Thursday night by Tom Tancredo.” Good lord, you couldn’t make it up. Is he really stupid enough to think we’ll believe the organizers didn’t know what they were doing when they had Tancredo, who is a nativist, virulent anti-immigrant activist who has been linked to a neo-Confederate hate group, open the convention on Friday night? Oh, puh-leeeze!

The local grassroots aren’t the only people unhappy with the hijacking of the convention by a group charging high fees for profit (and for paying Sarah Palin a reputed $100,000). A number of other groups pulled out or refused to support the convention including American Liberty Alliance, National Precinct Alliance, and Tea Party Patriots. Tea Party Express also declined to play a high-profile role, though relations between them and the Phillipses are reportedly cordial, and some TPE members attended the convention.

Speaking of hijacking, it appears that this particular Tea Party group, which purports to be the tea party group (The Phillipses believes that the various tea party groups are “competing in the marketplace of ideas” and that some of them won’t survive – but theirs, of course will) may be in the process of selling out to the Republican party. The Phillipses, before they were teabaggers, were ardent Republican activists, and the fact that they invited Republicans Michele Bachmann, Marsha Blackburn, and Sarah Palin to be the keynote speakers at their convention (Blackburn and Bachmann reportedly dropped out due to the ethical issue raised by the for-profit status) raised red flags among other groups which value their independence.

"It's just a Republican Party fundraiser," said Jim Tomasik, a Memphis Tea Party activist who is sitting out the convention. "The thing that's going to be going on (this week) will be somebody putting themselves in a position of power over everybody, and you'll see how that turns out." (source)

Indeed. The Wall Street Journal reports, “In Nashville, the prevailing view was that the Tea Party should not seek to build a third party movement but work within the confines of the two-party system. ‘I suspect the Tea Party strategy is to commandeer the Republican machine,’ said Roger Webb, a 65-year-old freelance photojournalist. Attendees were urged not to spend their money traveling to Tea Party rallies in 2010, but rather to support political candidates.” But the WSJ would say that, wouldn’t they ? The WSJ is part of the Murdoch machine, the Murdoch Machine has taken Sarah Palin, the convention’s keynote speaker, to its GOP-loving bosom as a Fox News contributor, and the GOP wants the tea party action. No wonder Weasel Watters is waxing all enthusiastic about the convention while much of the rightwing blogosphere remains eerily silent, wary, or – in the case of at least one neocon blog – sneery. Watters is on the side where money talks, and screw the little guy.

But there are lots of “little” guys and gals out there, and rightly or wrongly, they’re madder ‘n hell. Not all of them will be willing to fall back into line with the GOP, and they’re not likely to go away any time soon.

Pass the popcorn.

TANCREDO.jpg Tancredo: "And then, something really odd happened, mostly because I think that we do not have a civics literacy test before people can vote in this country. People who could not even spell the word “vote,” or say it in English, put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House, named Barack Hussein Obama.”

Sarah Palin consults her "palm pilot" during her Tea Party Nation speech. What was that you said about President Obama and teleprompters, Sarah? (H/T OliverWillis.com)


Jesse Watters gets with the program.