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By JB Williams, © 2010

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(Jan. 30, 2010) — The first major effort to bring Tea Party, 912 and town hall folks together at a convention in Nashville, TN has devolved into a messy situation which threatens the image of the patriot movement overall.

Talking Points Memo reports –  “It looks like Sarah Palin may be left holding the bag at a Tea Party event that almost no one else in the movement wants anything to do with.” – “the convention’s two other Republican speakers, Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee backed out in quick succession, with Blackburn declaring: “It’s a ‘We the people’ event and I think sometimes it’s become about ‘I the organizer,’ for the organizer.”

American Liberty Alliance and National Precinct Alliance had also withdrawn earlier, citing concerns over financial arrangements for the confab and questioning whether it represents the true grassroots spirit of the Tea Party movement. Tea Party Express, a group reportedly created by a GOP consulting firm, also pulled out of the event yesterday, stating that they had no concerns with the quality of the event.

The event organizer, Nashville Attorney Judson Phillips, has repeatedly defended his decision to form a privately held for-profit corporation instead of a non-profit organization to host the event. Fox News has been supportive of Phillips’ attempt to profit on the volunteer patriotism of others, but most media outlets have been critical.

Few have written more than I on the very real need for American patriots to unite and work together in common for the greater good of freedom and liberty. The need for Tea Party, 912 and Town Hall groups to unite and work in the common interest of freedom shouldn’t even be up for debate.

For the most part, the patriots on the ground across the country get it and they are not the problem. Most patriots recognize the need to unite, the need for coordinated efforts and the need for honest leadership in the movement.  But as I have written before, uniting the political right is akin to herding cats. They are not followers by nature. The political right is full of leaders and they all want to lead. No leader or too many leaders means no leadership and a scattered and factionalized chaos, often working at odds. The wrong leader or leaders means that everyone in the movement suffers.

In this regard, there are two very important mistakes that will cause conflict within the patriot movement immediately…

1.  Any attempt to profit on the volunteer work of other patriots
2.  Any appearance of an RNC effort to control the people’s movement.

If either or both of these mistakes exist in an effort to unite the right, a backlash from the real movement on the ground is about to happen. Such is the case with the TPN Convention scheduled for Nashville next month.

Groups such as American Liberty Alliance and National Precinct Alliance were happy to answer the call to come together in Nashville until word of profiteering efforts hit the news racks. Further reports of RNC efforts to gain control of the movement at the convention only fueled doubts about the real motives behind the event.

Raising necessary funds to move the patriot effort forward with strength is one thing. Trying to turn a personal profit in a capitalist venture is quite another. Then there is the “millionaire in the room” problem.

Asking average folks during difficult economic times to cough up $550 each to rub elbows with the GOP’s rich and famous in the name of grassroots patriotism is a problem from the start. But doing so while paying the millionaire in the room $100,000 plus to come rub elbows with the common folk makes matters even worse.

On the left, we have a plethora of George Soros types willing to dump personal billions into their anti-American agenda.  But on the right, we have to pay the rich and famous to come act patriotic with us for a couple hours? What’s wrong with this picture?

Then to add insult to injury, news that Palin would be campaigning for Tea Party arch-nemesis John McCain may have been the final straw that broke the patriots’ back. Meanwhile, the entire mess is tossing Tea Party softballs to the left-wing press, which they are more than happy to hit out of the park.

One can only sum up the situation as a necessary shake-out of those who are in the movement for the wrong motives from those on the ground seeking real patriotic change in all the right ways for all the right reasons.

As the media focuses upon the infighting and the factional turf war, the real story of the very real patriot grassroots movement goes largely unreported.

The movement is not about Sarah Palin, Judson Phillips, or any of the faction leaders more focused on growing their organizations than uniting the patriots with common goals. It’s about millions of average Americans fed up with elitists on both sides of the political aisle and sometimes found at the helm of so-called Tea Party or 912 groups.

When the press stops focusing on the faction leaders and begins to focus on the real movement on the ground, they will get the story right, and the people engaged in taking their country back on the ground will get proper credit.

At the end of the day, the patriot movement means something different to different individuals facing different challenges in different parts of the country. But one thing they all share in common is their love for and desire to defend freedom and liberty. That’s the basis upon which they can all be united!

Last, birds of a feather flocking together to rally the troops is a good thing. But at the end of the day, all roads lead to local precinct involvement if we really want a say in the future of this nation. That’s where the power is… not at a convention hall. There is strength in numbers, at the precinct level!

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  1. This appears to be poor planning and PR. Paying Palin $100,000 to appear was a major mistake even though she contends the fee will be “donated” to the movement. Charging $550 to attend was the second mistake during an economic recession or depression for many. There should have been fund raising to raise the capital to run the event and then charge a nominal fee to attend. This movement could have learned from others, years back Orly Taitz planned to have a national meeting that could never get off the ground. My recommendation is to have a venue that focuses on the issues and telecast them to the public and encourage media outlets like CSpan to cover the event. We don’t need to travel to Nashville to get the message. Let’s not forget that Obama criticized the need to travel for meetings. We can learn something here from our opponent.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with your article. Our website http://rednecksforamericans.com is dedicated to the not for pay Tea Party Movement. The RFA Motorcoach is going to attend the Tea Party Express III in Searchlight, Nev. and follow it on in to Las Vegas on March 27th. We travel at our own expense and meet many people along the way that want to know more about the movement.
    Again we give you a thumbs up on your article.

  3. Thanks JB

    I got a sickening feeling in my gut when I found out that Sarah Palin and Scott Brown were backing McCain. There was a time I put my foot down a couple of years ago where I said I would never vote for McCain because of his stand on amnesty for illegals. Then, when he chose Sarah; I went against my own convictions and voted for McCain thinking that in some convoluted way it was putting Sarah one step closer to the Presidency.

    NO MORE!

    Tenth Amendment Summit
    February 25th & 26th
    Republican candidate for Governor Ray McBerry has vowed that if elected, he would throw a federal law enforcement officer in jail if they violated the second amendment of the Constitution in his state by taking a firearm away from a law abiding citizen. Time to take the country back. We can’t pick and choose which parts of the Constitution we are going to uphold and which ones we are not.

    Tell Michael Steele to take a hike if we can’t get a binding resolution for a conservative litmus test for candidates…with accountability. Make your voices heard now.


    If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired of your representatives not listening to you, then get engaged. For some people, some initiatives are too daunting and they can be paralyzed by fear of the unknown, however if they see someone they know do something; then they might be inspired to take that first step. You may know Mr. Carl Swensson.
    He is the first person to convene a Citizen Grand Jury that found Barack Hussein Obama to be guilty of fraud and treason and delivered the presentments with evidence to local, state and federal officials in all three branches of the government in counties throughout the state of Georgia all the way up to Washington, D.C. He just became a precinct captain.

    So can you. Take that first step.

  4. Just a note to let you know that by getting involved at the Precinct level of the Republican Party, you CAN make a difference. Since starting this I have gained two more precinct Captains (two weeks) and look forward to filling the remaining 55 in my county. Work with surrounding counties and candidates and wed will take this socialistic Republican Party back to the basics. It’s happening here and you can make it happen wherever you are. The only limit is how much time and effort you’re willing to put into it but let me tell you this..,
    It’s now or never, my friends, so WALK THE WALK and we bring back the Grand Old Party to it’s former glory!

    Carl Swensson