In the wake of the Iowa Republican Straw Poll, we’ve learned that “Freedomfest 2011,” the Tea Party Straw Poll planned for Kansas City, Kansas in October 2011 has been cancelled.
The organizers cited financial difficulties, and an alarming lack of interest from those who should have been the backbone of the event – Tea Party groups from across the country:
Our committee has speculated for the last month why registrations from the Tea Parties have been so low, with some emails and phone calls suggesting that the poor economy, national debt, high fuel prices, unemployment, double-dip recession, fear about the future (all the usual suspects), as well as political frustration with elected officials in both parties, and political burnout as principle reasons. Others have said that many groups just don’t want to do anything outside of their own states this year, and are in disagreement with other groups about what and who the Tea Party movement should support and represent. There is some disarray in the movement right now as to its next move. The fact is, the spirit intrinsic in 2009 has diminished nationwide, and some lethargy and weariness persists.
These factors combined with the failure of the national Tea Party umbrella groups, other than “Tea Party Nation,” to support or promote Freedom Jamboree was also sadly evident, especially after each group was individually invited to attend and work toward a “unified” movement going into the 2012 election season. The preoccupation with prospering their own organizations at the expense of the “grassroots” movement as a whole was also apparent; with one group even going so far recently as to place their own “convention” on the same days as Freedom Jamboree, inviting all the national candidates to a “straw poll” in the middle of the country, to speak on Sat., Oct. 1 (the same day as our event), while paying some of the same speakers that had already been invited to Freedom Jamboree. And yes, their event is a paid event for those participating. This is the kind of cynical, self-serving, and dis-unifying behavior that had already frustrated many in the movement by the end of 2010, and caused others to quit participating altogether.
You can read the entire statement here.