First, a look at the future. A Tea Party Unity convention planned for Las Vegas (the center of a Senate race where Tea Party-fueled Republican Sharron Angle is facing Majority Leader Harry Reid) has been cancelled.

From the New York Times:

Sponsored by Tea Party Nation, a social networking site, the convention was supposed to emphasize Tea Party groups working together — a contrast to the convention in February, which was plagued by infighting among groups, with sponsors and speakers dropping out right up until its opening hours. Organizers chose Las Vegas not least because it is the center of the Senate race that Tea Party activists would most dearly love to win: Sharron Angle, a Republican supported by Tea Party groups, is challenging Harry Reid, the leader of the Democratic majority.

Barbee Kinnison, a Tea Party activist in Las Vegas who had been helping organize the convention, sent an e-mail to supporters saying that it was with “deep sorrow” that she had to announce “the convention is just not going to happen.”

Tea Party Nation still draws scorn from some other Tea Party groups, which have raised eyebrows at asking people to spend more than $200 to attend a convention, so it was not clear what this said about the strength of the movement. Tea Party Patriots, a large umbrella for about 2,700 local Tea Party groups nationwide, had criticized the media attention on the convention in February, saying it was not a real representation of Tea Party activism.

The February convention referenced in the NYT piece drew about 600 delegates (and nearly as many reporters, the Times says). Three hundred attendees are expected this weekend, as the Coffee Party holds its first-ever convention in Louisville.

I talked with Coffee Party co-founder Eric Byler about the convention this week. He says his group is not partisan, but does favor calm, rational discourse. (He says that approach has led the party to endorse certain legislation.) Byler said he welcomes last-minute attendees, but wanted to keep the event moderate. He added that it’s sometimes difficult to get people fired up over calm conversation.

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