After organizers snagged Sarah Palin to headline the first national Tea Party Convention, the event's success took on an air of inevitability. Since then, however, critics across the political spectrum have attacked the convention (scheduled to unfold Feb. 4 in Nashville) as a money-making "scam," a disorganized "debacle" and — with its "lavish" lobster dinners and pricey tickets — a betrayal of the movement's populist stance. Now, citing ethics concerns, other key speakers are dropping out, including Rep. Michele Bachmann, and all eyes are on Palin. So far, Palin is sticking by her commitment, for which she'll reportedly be paid $115,000, even as the event threatens to collapse: "You betcha," she said yesterday, "I'm going to be there." Will she get out while she can?
(Watch an MSNBC report: Tea Party Convention in trouble?)

No, Palin's in too deep: At this point, "even if Palin would like to walk away" she can't, says John Hawkins at Right Wing News. Without Palin, "the whole convention falls apart…and a lot of good people would be disappointed." That's why she'll show, not just — as some critics charge — because she wants $115,000. Palin's made it clear she won't profit from the event, even if she's been "a little fuzzy" about where exactly the money will be going.
"The problem with the Tennessee Tea Party Convention"

Palin must expose this scam by dropping out: This corrupt "ruse" of a convention is destroying the larger Tea Party movement, says grassroots organizer Tami Killmarx, as quoted by blogger Melissa Cloutier, and loyal Tea Partiers want Palin to expose it. Event planners don’t care about letting rank-and-file Tea Partiers "hear Sarah Palin" speak. They just want to "make money" and "get in bed with the GOP." Do the right thing, Sarah!
"BREAKING: Tea Party Nation’s Judson Phillips: “I Want To Make A Million From This Movement”

Are you kidding? Palin's the scammer: Unquestionably, the Tea Party Convention is all about making a profit, says liberal blog Prairie Weather. But don't think that "taking a lot of money out of the pockets of populist supporters" will "faze Sarah Palin." Sorry, but "this is what happens when political opportunists" like Palin "take over" a "loosely structured, loud, and naive" political movement "largely made up of people who proudly reject fact and reality."
"Tea Party embarrassment and opportunity"

Maybe she should just call in 'sick' to avoid humiliation: The $349 tickets to hear Palin speak are selling very poorly, claims Tea Party activist Anthony Shreeve, as quoted by Mother Jones. For her sake, I hope she finds a way out: "It's going to be really embarrassing for her to walk into a half-empty room." Contractually, "she is allowed to send a representative if she can't make it if she's sick or something. Maybe she’ll come down with the flu."
"Sarah Palin's Tea Party dinner disaster"


Palin: A mother's rage?
Palin vs. Beck: Who'll lead the Tea Party?
Grading Palin's Fox News debut
Sarah Palin's "In Touch" cover: Sell out?