U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn is trying to give herself cover for possibly bailing out of the upcoming Tea Party convention here now that the spotlight has been placed on the Republican Party’s attempt to co-opt a movement spurred by anger generated by its own failed policies.

“The congresswoman seems to be throwing the Tea Party movement under the bus by asking the House Ethics Committee if she should attend,” Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester said. “She is an opportunist with no real convictions other than to further her own selfish agenda.

“With all the focus on the real motivation behind the Tea Party Nation, Mrs. Blackburn all of a sudden claims ignorance to what she and other Republicans have been trying to do all along. They saw an opportunity to use the Tea Party movement for personal political gain, and they jumped on board. But they quickly bail when people start to get a look behind the curtains.

“Republicans have been attacking Democrats on the economy, but we should all remember it is the failed policies of the past Republican White House that got us here. The rhetoric they have been using is nothing but smoke and mirrors,” he said.

Franklin attorney Judson Phillips leads the Tea Party Nation, a for-profit corporation that is organizing the Feb. 4-6 convention at the Opryland Hotel. Phillips and the convention have received much criticism over the $549 ticket prices and limited media access, as well as a reported $100,000 speaking fee for the convention’s keynote speaker, former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Phillips has also been criticized for his own financial problems, which include a previous bankruptcy and federal tax liens.

“People need to stop for a moment and consider who organizes these events,” Forrester said. “Sadly enough, much of this movement is now being fueled by the Republican Party and their corporate allies. Congresswoman Blackburn is a shameless shill for the far-right wing of her party who will say and do anything to promote an extreme agenda.

“She voted for and supported the very measures of the administration that got us in this mess in the first place. Now she is trying to convince Tea Party activists she is part of the solution and that she feels their pain. What a hypocrite. She could do more for the people of Tennessee if she would work as hard at trying to solve problems as she does at trying to misplace blame,” he added.



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