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.
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.