The National Tea Party Convention, which starts today, has been criticized for being a thinly-veiled attempt to profit off of grassroots excitement. Whether or not the criticism is valid, the event has reportedly drawn 1,000 activists from across the country. Event organizers are now expected to announce a national organizing strategy for 2010:
Volunteers here intend to propose a series of broad “First Principles” which have already been generally embraced by most Tea Party chapters around the country. They include: fiscal responsibility, upholding the constitution, and national security… Once elected to office, members would be required to join a Congressional Tea Party Caucus, attend regular meetings and be held accountable for the votes they cast. Those who stray from the Tea Party path would risk losing it’s support and a likely re-election challenge.
Here’s a major flaw: tea party participants across the country were largely dissatisfied with either party and almost universally with the system of incumbency and party politics which had taken over DC. For movements that rail against centralization, tTop-down organizing structures are doomed to fail.