In a slow news cycle, just in front of the South Carolina primary, a couple of loudmouth local yokels calling themselves “Tea Party leaders” are airing their dirty laundry in front of a national news media ever-ready to mock Southerners AND Tea Party movement folks:
Organizers of a tea party convention scheduled to convene next month in Myrtle Beach are fending off accusations that they called for “armed guards” with concealed weapons permits to staff the event. A senior leader of one tea party group in the Palmetto State raised concern about heat-packing patriots amid a flurry of email backlash after supporters of Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann announced their intention to hold a straw poll at the event to promote their candidate.
The resulting back-and-forth has raised tensions in a movement that has made national news for its behind-the-scenes internecine warfare as candidates battle for tea party support in the critical early primary state. No Republican since 1980 has gone on to win the party’s nomination without first prevailing in South Carolina.
The Myrtle Beach Tea Party Convention is set for the Jan. 15–16 weekend, just five days before the critical first-in-the-South Republican presidential primary. The event, which organizers expect to draw hundreds of activists, tea partiers and members of other conservative organizations, is not open to the public.
In an email sent to South Carolina tea partiers on Dec. 19, Carolina Patriots vice chair Daniel Cochran penned a lengthy takedown of the convention’s organizers, the Myrtle Beach Tea Party. In his email Cochran accused Joe Dugan, the group’s chairman, of coordinating a group of armed activists to keep order during the event.
“You do know that Joe put out the call to all folks with Concealed Weapons [permits] to volunteer as armed guards at this convention right? ‘In case of any trouble…’” Cochran wrote. “[T]his document has been pulled from Joe’s [G]oogle documents about the convention. We do know of about four or five folks that replied they would be happy to volunteer and then the document went ‘poof.’”
Addressing Bachmann supporters specifically, Cochran ended his message warning, “You might want to advise your candidate that hand guns will be present at the event as far as we know.”
Bachmann chairs the Tea Party Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. Concern for her safety stemmed from a Dec. 18 email to tea party supporters from her South Carolina spokesman Wesley Donehue, announcing that Bachmann “is the first presidential candidate to commit to speaking at the convention.”
“During the convention, there will be a straw poll and Congresswoman Bachmann will need your support,” Donehue continued in his email. “In order to gain access and vote in the straw poll, you must have your name listed as being with an organized TEA Party group.”
But Dugan, the convention organizer, replied that the idea of a straw poll was a non-starter.
“I have no way of knowing who [Donehue] sent this out to,” he emailed in reply, “but I never mentioned a straw poll for our convention and have no intention of holding one.”
Dugan also warned that the tea party leaders in attendance are responsible for the actions of their groups’ members. Disturbances, he added, will not be tolerated.
“Through the media, the rest of the nation and the world will be watching and we will not leave any ‘trash on the grass’ for them to write about.”
*SIGH* One more time — The Tea Party is NOT an actual corporate entity. Nor is it a political party. It was started as a grassroots uprising against the cockroaches — in both parties — ignoring the will of the people and bankrupting our states and our country. This story sounds like some of the stuff you hear from those orthodontic headgear-wearing NCGOP / College Republican nerds: Mr. Chairman, I’d like to offer an amendment to the convention floor dress code that allows the wearing of pocket protectors. ”
(OOPS, I dozed off. Just thinking about College Republicans and these silly conventions bores me to SLEEP.)
Who are these guys? WHY do you need to be holding a convention featuring presidential candidates? (I can understand the desire for extra security: OWS freaks have been making mayhem at conservative gatherings all over the country.)
I remember the 9-12-09 march on Washington that pretty much got the Tea Party going on a national scale. I was part of that massive crowd, along with a few NC friends. The event featured a great cross section of America: male, female, old, young, black, white, Asian, soccer moms, college kids, yuppies and tattoo-covered punk rockers. You saw young families with their kids. I saw one man pushing his wheelchair bound dad (with oxygen tank) along with us on the march route. It was a great opportunity to meet like-minded people from all over the country, and get stoked about tossing some cockroaches into the unemployment line.
One of my friends said something profound that day that has stuck with me:
We can’t let this energy peter out. It’s going to take more than 2010 to fix the country. The movement has got to stay focused on the mission of saving our country.
Well, fast forward to today, where we have people like this crowd in Myrtle Beach trying to give the movement all the bureaucratic trappings of the state GOP. Instead of these silly lovefests, you should be saving your money for the recruitment and financing of primary challenges to Lindsey Graham and EVERY other reach-across-the-aisle RINO cockroach allegedly representing the state. This “convention” doesn’t do ANYTHING toward saving the state and the country. If you want self-promotion opportunities, go hang out with the College Republicans or the SCGOP or NCGOP. If you want to save our states and our country, get busy recruiting candidates and getting them the resources they need to win. If you want to save our states and our country, stop fighting over nonsense like this and GET TO WORK.