A few weeks ago, Sarah Palin declined her invitation to speak at CPAC. Many saw the former governor and former vice-presidential candidate’s snub of CPAC as a knee-jerk response to the co-sponsorship of the event by the John Birch Society, though this was never directly stated. Then in what came as another shock, Palin accepted an offer from a relatively unknown Tea Party group, Tea Party Nation, to speak at their swanky national convention being held in early February in Nashville, Tennessee. For $349.00 plus nearly a $10.00 processing fee, you too can drive, fly, walk, cycle, or boat to Nashville, Tennessee, find a hotel room, eat to your heart’s content, as long as you also pay for that too! So not only do Tea Partiers have to throw down a ludicrous sum of money (in tight economic times I might add) to see the popular politician speak, they also will be doing their part of spending every last dime they have to stimulate the economy of Nashville (I bet President Obama wished he thought of this one earlier…). And, according to the paypal.com link off the conventions site, the convention is sold out.
I have been unable to find any official estimates of the number of attendees for the convention, but according to the Gaylord-Opryland Hotel’s (this is the location of the event in Nashville) website, they have some serious conference space. Just doing some general number crunching, and just averaging the cost of the basic ticket level plus the even more expensive banquet level, if 3,000 people attend the convention, the people behind the convention would rake in over 1.3 million dollars, minus what they had to pay the hotel and event support. Now if the number of attendees is even more, and we’re talking around 5,000 or 6,000 then the money really starts coming in, between 2.25 and 2.7 million dollars.
And, strangely enough, I’m not the only crazy one who thinks this all smells fishy. Even GOP cheerleaders, who normally dump praise on the Tea Partiers, like Erick Erickson, have had reservations about this event.