The big Tea Party-related event of the season in Idaho has been slated to be "Arise and Awake America: A Solution," on July 8 in Nampa. It has gotten some attention, some local participation and some name speakers. Evidently, it has not, so far, gotten much by way of confirmed attendance.
Probably one reason for this is that Tea Party events this year nationally have been falling into a pattern: Rather than growing from the energy many had in 2009 and for a while in 2010, they have been cratering - handsful of people showing up where hundreds or thousands did not so long before. And that's at the free events; you have to pay $10 to get into this one (or $15 for the two-day version, running into Saturday).
But there's another factor here that the groups own backers acknowledge in an e-mail, as the Idaho Statesman has noted. Seeking more ticket-buyers, the backers launched a recent email with this:
"It has been brought to our attention that the turnout for the Awake and Arise America event has been much less than expected. As one scheduled speaker says “there may be frustrations about religious affiliations or the fact that the speakers may speak on controversial issues, but are we really not then just looking for excuses to not attend? As many of you know, what we once knew as mere conspiracy theories today have varying degrees of truth. Are we willing like so many other people today to turn our head thinking if we ignore the possibilities that these problems will just go away?"
That the organization's own backers use the phrase "conspiracy theories" should tell you something. So who are the speakers? The keynoter is Stephen Jones, founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice, which suggests that the Bush Administration and key industry people knew about but declined to stop the 9/11 attacks. The Statesman described another keynote speaker, Jack Monnett, as "a historian and author of, "Awakening to our Awful Situation: Warnings from the Nephi Prophets." Monnett explores the Book of Mormon's account of "Secret Combinations" and how they infiltrated government at the highest levels, and argues such conspiracies are afoot today."
You can see where the broad numbers of Idaho people, conservative as they may be, aren't jumping on board with the event.
More interesting is who in Idaho did jump on board and stay there - who is listed as a speaker at the event (meaning, of course, that even if they didn't originally know who would be keynoting, they could have backed out later but didn't). These Idahoans include Paul Venable, chair of the Constitution Party of Idaho; Tom Munds, a Constitutionalist Idaho state candidate; state Representative Pete Nielsen; Dale Pearce, area coordinator for John Birch Society; Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation; and Idaho State Senator Monty Pearce.