The Tea Party convention held this past weekend in Nashville wasn’t the biggest such gathering (600 people) or the most representative (the ticket price was more than $500) but it did give the national media a pretty good angle on the views and direction of this disparate movement.
First, it's clear the group has no leader, although Sarah Palin is certainly the honorary Queen Bee in the eyes of many attendees. Her Saturday night speech was given rapturous applause. Second, the Tea Partiers are unlikely to succumb to the temptation to form a Third Party, especially this close to the mid-term elections. They will follow Ms. Palin’s suggestion that the group remain distinct from either party and work within both parties towards electing candidates closer to the movement’s views.
Ms. Palin provided some examples of how she follows her own advice. Last week, she endorsed Rand Paul, son of former GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, for an open U.S. Senate seat in Kentucky. Mr. Paul's opponent in the GOP primary is Trey Grayson, the secretary of state and a protégé of Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell. Ms. Palin was criticized for endorsing someone holding the libertarian views that Rand Paul does, but she stood her ground: “He wants the states to have more say and [respects] the 10th amendment in our Constitution.”