The first ever Tea Party Convention has attracted a sellout crowd of a thousand activists from as far away as Hawaii (and media from as far away as Japan) to the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center.
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.
Prospective political candidates will be expected to support the Republican National Committee platform, though without any specific litmus or purity test.
If a particular candidate meets the proposed Tea Party criteria he or she would be eligible for fundraising and grassroots Tea Party support.
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 its support and a likely re-election challenge.
These are simply proposals from activists in Tennessee who put this convention together and who say they recognize that disparate Tea Party groups nationwide have varied interests and ideas of their own.
Organizers suggest creating political action committees, a large scale fundraising apparatus, and starting the development of a national network of pro bono attorneys to deal with the myriad legal-political riddles that such undertakings face in campaigns and elections.