Live from the Tea Party

From Obama as Hitler to Sarah Palin’s radical speech, Wingnuts author John Avlon reports all weekend from Nashville.

02.05.10 7:37 PM ET

From Obama as Hitler to Sarah Palin’s radical speech, Wingnuts author John Avlon reports all weekend from Nashville. Click here for more on John Avlon's new book.

Queen of the Tea Party

Sarah Palin's rousing speech looked more like a State of the Union address—and the crowd loved every word. But, John Avlon reports, it wasn’t enough to steer the group's uncertain future.

The National Tea Party Convention ended with a Palin for President rally.

This was always slated to be the weekend’s main event, with a $100,000 prize purse. But the organizers still hadn’t seen a copy of the speech as the crowd streamed into the banquet ballroom. What they got was less a Tea Party manifesto than Sarah Palin’s State of the Union speech—an address to a domestic spending protest group which spent its first 15 minutes focused on foreign policy.

Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America. By John Avlon. 304 Pages. Beast Books. $15.95.

It didn’t matter. With plenty of anti-Obama red meat and Palin’s patented folksy-sarcasm, this crowd was rapturous about just being in her presence. She remains the Queen of the Conservative Populists.

The Tea Partiers, munching on a decidedly non‑populist steak and shrimp dinner, were geared up. Seated at my table were two Revolutionary War re‑enactors in full regalia as well as an aspiring Republican congressional candidate from Oklahoma and an independent-conservative Senate candidate from Arkansas. When the time came time for toasts with our water glasses "Death to tyrants" was chosen.



The Tea Party, Day 2

From a surprise appearance by Birther Queen Orly Taitz to an improvised speech from Andrew Breitbart, John Avlon reports on the highlights and lowlights of day two of the convention.



Joe Farah Goes the Full Birther

The founder of WorldNet aired his conspiracy theories on the first full night of the Tea Party convention, asking Americans to demand Barack Obama show them a birth certificate as the crowd cheered.




The Tea Party, Day 1

John Avlon speaks to Tom Tancredo about his suggested “literacy test” for voters, and the Tea Partiers form a political action committee to target Dems in 2010 races.



Ron Edmonds

Top 5 Misconceptions About the Tea Party Movement

Its credibility already thrown into question by rival activists, the Tea Party Convention in Nashville did little to quiet critics who say the grass-roots movement often flirts with extremism.



People hold signs during a "tea party" protest in Flagstaff, Arizona August 31, 2009. Organizers say the event is an effort to work against members of Congress who voted for higher spending and taxes. REUTERS/Joshua Lott (UNITED STATES BUSINESS IMAGES OF THE DAY CONFLICT POLITICS)

© Joshua Lott / Reuters

The Tea Party's 5 Key Players

From Sarah Palin to Tom Tancredo to Alabama’s culture warrior in the courts, Wingnuts author John Avlon offers a guide to the most important attendees at the Tea Party movement’s big convention in Nashville.



John Avlon asks attendees what they think of when they hear the name Sarah Palin...and Barack Obama.