Saving me some time, there's a killer roundup of reactions at Knoxville News, "Sarah Palin Has Tea Party, Conservatives in Palm of Her Hand."
One very interesting piece is at the Nashville Post, "Beginning of the End: Sarah Palin Hijacks the Tea Party Movement"(also from Memeorandum):
The tea party movement is dead. The one I was familiar with anyway. Judson Phillips held it down and Sarah Palin drove a stake right through its heart live last night on C-Span in front of an unsuspecting audience.I think that's only partly correct, especially in my personal experience as one highly active in the SoCal tea party movement. I'll have more on this, but Mark Tapscott, one of the original tea party leaders, is closer to my sense of things, "Sarah Palin is Miles Ahead of Every Other Politician in America":
Sarah Palin didn’t give a tea party speech last night. She gave a partisan Republican address. It was a purely political speech designed to position her for a presidential run in 2012 or 2016. Period. She wasn’t there to celebrate the organic nature of a movement she had nothing to do with creating. She was there to co-opt the name and claim the brand as hers. And she did.
The movement, that came to be officially recognized almost a year ago but whose roots go back further than that, has been snuffed out and replaced in the public mind. The movement that began as a people’s movement of angry independent, libertarians and conservatives will now be thought as the movement of people like Palin, Dick Armey, Judson Phillips, Mark Skoda, etc. Essentially, a wholly owned subsidiary of the “Official Conservative Movement” and the Republican Party.
This new tea party bears no resemblance to the one that began a year ago as a reaction to the collapse of our financial system and the subsequent bailout. That movement of ragtag and unorganized libertarians, independents and conservatives was something new and unique. An authentic protest movement angered not just by the new President, Barack Obama, who had presided over the bailouts but the president who started the ball rolling and whose incompetence had led to the crisis in the first place, George W. Bush.
Watching Sarah Palin's speech to the Tea Party National Convention last night in Nashville on PJTV, it was clear that she has a rapport and comfort with the Tea Partiers that is unmatched among politicians at the national level.
While I suspect that mine is a minority view among the leadership of conservative activism and journalism (and I am often reminded in a jocular sort of way that my view of Palin is a minority among my colleagues at The Examiner and The Weekly Standard), I believe Palin is miles ahead of every other national figure in understanding where the country has been in the last year and what the Tea Party movement means about the future course of American politics.
That doesn't mean I think Palin is or even should be a candidate for president or any other elective office in 2012 or any other time. What it does mean is I believe Palin has a unique insight into the state of things and is moving systematically and intelligently in concert with that insight. Where that leads, nobody, including Palin, likely knows at this point.