If a tea partier goes to an event and screams about politicians, but FreedomWorks isn't there to sponsor him, does it even count? As the Republican National Convention approaches, tea partiers are looking for that fine balance between flexing their muscles enough to keep the Republican establishment afraid of them and being good soldiers in the campaign to defeat President Barack Obama. On the one hand, "Don’t expect any fireworks from the tea party at the Republican National Convention," Politico advises us. That's because
[I]nstead of scheming to take the convention by storm — by rallying members to stage raucous protests or waging a political battle that could hurt presumptive nominee Mitt Romney — national tea party groups are using the convention to cement their ties with the Grand Old Party.
Considering that the tea party isn't actually some new creature but a rebranding of the traditional hardcore conservative Republican base, it shouldn't be too difficult to cement those ties. Especially when the big-money groups, like FreedomWorks, that paid to make the tea party a big deal, are taking a completely insider approach, "getting guidance" from RNC Vice Chairman Jim Bopp.
But Herman Cain does not appear to have gotten the "not taking the convention by storm" memo:
#TeaParty IS alive, well and taking Tampa by storm as we take back our nation. Join me for #Unityrally2012! http://t.co/...
— @THEHermanCain via web
, okay? Granted, it's a storm in the form of a "unity rally," but there are a lot of egos in the ranks of professional tea partiers, and Herman Cain is not the only one wanting to be sure he's seen as a force. He's slated to be joined at that rally by Rep. Michele Bachmann, his equal in fame-seeking, as well as various and sundry dynamic organizers and leaders you've never heard of. But in the end, the tea party goes into Tampa as it was created: longtime Republican activists backed by longtime Republican funders. And in the presidential campaign as in life, they'll be supporting the rich white guy.