What if they threw a tea party convention and Michele Bachmann didn’t come? The first official such gathering of the right-wing “grass-roots” movement kicked off in Nashville on Thursday, and while it appears that the Republican congresswoman from Minnesota did pull out, Twitter-happy keynote (teanote?) speaker Sarah Palin was still very much on the books for her big moment Saturday.

It’s nearly impossible to make any solid predictions about the movement’s potential impact, in the 2010 midterm elections and beyond, but of course media outlets of various persuasions (including this one) are trying to do so anyway. The AtlanticWire put its figurative finger on the tea party pulse Thursday, and the results are mixed as to the TP-meter’s current readout. –KA

The AtlanticWire:

The Atlantic’s Chris Good poses the question on everybody’s mind: as the Tea Party convention finally gets underway, “will it be a success, a failure, or irrelevant to the movement?”

So Much for the Shakeup “The widely anticipated civil war within the Republican Party is off to a decidedly dull start,” writes Politico’s Jonathan Martin. “Early evidence suggests that party leaders and even most grass-roots activists are more interested in winning elections than in ideological bloodletting.”For all the murmuring about a third-party threat, “the one race where there is at least a perceived threat from the tea party crowd toward the establishment is the Florida GOP Senate primary.”

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