It’s Gonna Be a Party…Convention

Tea Party activists may not need to change the party as much as we thought


Well I don’t know what your weekend plans are, but get ready to be jealous. I hate to tell you, but unless you’re going to see the new A-Team movie tomorrow night, I bet I’m doing something cooler. I guess it’s not much of a bet. Dammit, I’m missing Bradley Cooper and Liam Neeson. No fair.

Alas, ol’ Purple Texas and I will be in Dallas covering the GOP convention. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram had a story earlier this week pointing to the potential conflicts. Of course there’s the race for party chair; current chair Cathie Adams has come under fire for the party’s debts, which total over half a million dollars. Her challengers, former Gray County party chair Tom Mechler who serves on the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, and Steve Munisteri, a retired businessman and Houston lawyer, will likely stir some debate.

More interesting, however, will be how the Tea Party folks fit into the convention. There’s sure to be some tension—after all Debra Medina isn’t allowed a booth at the convention and many of the Tea Party-ers haven’t been to a convention before.

But I’m not sure that the Tea Party ideals will be anything new to the convention. Just take a look at the current platform, written in 2008—back when tea parties were for little girls, the British and people in Boston. Determining what goes in the platform always causes some tension and a bit of horsetrading.

In this case, the ideals certainly don’t sound out of sync with the current rhetoric.

For instance: “We respect and cherish the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and our Founders’ intent to restrict the power of the federal government over the states and the people. We believe self-government, based on personal integrity of a proper moral foundation, is the best government.” Isn’t that, like, from a Medina ad?

Or this one: “We favor abolishing property taxes.”

Or: “We support state sovereignty reserved under the Tenth Amendment and oppose mandates beyond the scope of federal authority. We further support abolition of federal agencies involved in activities not originally delegated to the federal government under a strict interpretation of the Constitution.”

If I were in some mystery show, this would be the big reveal: It’s the same message people. Cue music.

The platform is normally were party loyalists get their say before candidates try to main stream for the general election. In other words, the more extreme party members get placated writing the platform—and then candidates distance themselves from it to garner mainstream appeal. Now, however, what was considered an extreme platform has become mainstream campaign rhetoric. Perry will undoubtedly talk a lot about states’ rights and I’m banking on some discussion of EPA, health care and other areas where the federal government may or may not be overstep the boundaries. But still, those points, in some form or another, are already in the 2008 platform.

Tea Party folks may not need to change the Republican party as much as they think.

I’m still banking on there being some excitement. Although, nothing will probably be as cool as shooting a machine gun out of a tank falling through the air.

We’ll be tweeting and liveblogging GOP convention on Friday and Saturday. Stay tuned.