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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

'Tea party' movement is democracy at work, but will supporters, and Sarah Palin, be able to convert the enthusiasm to election success

First, the independent Ross Perot contingent. Then, the liberal "netroots" mobilization. Now, the conservative "tea party" coalition.

No doubt this is democracy at work, a quintessential part of America.

Will the latest political phenomenon become a society-changing movement influencing elections and beyond?

They held their first national "tea party" convention over the weekend. And they're already having some impact on American politics.

"America is ready for another revolution, and you are a part of this," Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, told convention attendees Saturday. "You all have the courage to stand up and speak out."

Many "tea party" disciples view the former Alaska governor — also an author, a Fox News analyst and a potential 2012 presidential candidate — as their de facto leader. But Palin suggested the movement should remain leaderless and cautioned against allowing it to be defined by any one person.

But she repeatedly dismissed that notion, saying: "The 'tea party' movement is not a top-down operation. It's a ground-up call to action that is forcing both parties to change the way they're doing business, and that's beautiful."

The "tea party" movement is a collection of stay-at-home moms, small-business owners, corporate executives and everyone in between — many political neophytes who aren't hardcore ideologues — who are using the latest technology to come together and vent their frustrations about their country and plot to install a new group in charge of the government.

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