Posted by Raven
June 26, 2010 | Raven Brooks
A small piece hit CNN's blog today stating that the National Tea Party Unity convention was moving from its set date of July 15-17 to October 2010. The reasons given by the organizing committee include:
- "it would more advantageous to hold the convention in the middle of October just prior to the November elections."
- "The heat in Las Vegas in July is keeping many who would like to participate from attending."
- "We have also received numerous emails from people who were forced to decide between family vacations and attending the convention."
CNN's piece basically served as publication of their statement without applying any critical analysis to it. There are some basic questions you should be asking here that don't even require you to be a veteran event organizer.
To make the point bluntly their stated reasons for moving the convention are bullshit, and CNN buried the real reason this is happening in the story which was "moving back the date allows other Tea Party groups to attend the convention." In other words they're two weeks from their event and they've got no attendees and no interest in it.
This should be a juicy media story about the staying power of the Tea Party movement. Are they going to keep it going or does the excitement fizzle out at some point? That's pretty much the first question I'd be asking if I were a reporter covering the Tea Party and this crossed my desk.
But just to drive my point home let me talk a little bit about what would be involved moving an event like this. It'd be a Herculean task that you wouldn't try simply because you wanted to influence the elections or deal with some attendees complaining about the Vegas heat (when they'd likely rarely leave the hotel anyway). The only reason you'd take this sort of extraordinary action two weeks out is if your event was in imminent danger of completely failing due to lack of attendance and media attention.
I've thought for a while that most of this Tea Party stuff was nothing more than puffed up astroturf and this pretty much proves it. Without conservative donors spending $100,000 to get Sarah Palin to attend or Fox News dedicating tens of hours of coverage to promote events you're not left with a whole lot. There's no real movement there, no real organizing being done.
That's the story we should be hearing in the media, but you're not going to hear it. At least not for a little while longer. But the boomlet of the Tea Party is on its way out, it's just a matter of time before that becomes conventional wisdom.