Awaiting a speech from Sarah Palin, political vagueries and revisionist histories took center stage this week as the first-ever Tea Party convention opened in Nashville, Tennessee. “Ask Gail Hathaway, a warm 61-year-old retired nurse from Vonore, Tenn., what she wants out of the ‘tea party’ movement, and she returns the quizzical look of someone worried she’s been asked a trick question. ‘What do I want? Well, I want it all to stop,’ she said late Thursday night from the floor of the National Tea Party Convention, an event billed as the first major conference for the conservative movement currently reshaping America’s political landscape. ‘Our way of life is under attack. I truly believe they are trying to destroy this country. It’s just hard to say who ‘they’ is.’ Though tea party leaders recently have tried to redefine the movement as focused on limiting government growth in the age of big Wall Street bailouts and stimulus packages, Hathaway’s remarks and others like them reflect frustrations that spring from a much bigger pool of concerns.”
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