Norquist Unplugs Awesome 'Back to the Future' GOP Convention Party

'80s-themed GOP convention party sounded awesome, but conservative "Wednesday meeting" will replace it.

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This year's GOP convention is expected to be less of a party than in years past, but convention-goers were taking solace in one totally awesome party invite.

The event, an '80s-themed "Back to the Future" party, said it would transport partiers back to the Reagan days in Ybor City, Tampa's equivalent of New Orleans's Bourbon Street.

But Americans for Tax Reform, which was to host the event, says the time travel was over before it even started. ATR is an advocacy group founded by anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist.

"The Reagan party never advanced past the idea/concept stage," ATR spokesman John Kartch told Whispers. "We are focusing on the big 'Wednesday meeting.'"

Though it is bound to be less fun than partying '80s style, the first "Wednesday meeting" ever held at a convention is still a coveted event.

For those unversed in Norquist-land, the "Wednesday meeting" is a Republican institution he launched in 1993 to help organize the effort against President Bill Clinton's healthcare plan. Since then, it has become the "Grand Central station of the conservative movement," according to conservative columnist John Fund, and CBS last year called it a "must-attend event for Republican operatives fortunate enough to get an invitation."

Norquist's convention Wednesday meeting will host 30 rapid-fire speakers, including Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Maine Gov. Paul LePage, and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Perhaps most interestingly, the lineup also features former Congressman Artur Davis, an ex-Democrat and ex-Obama supporter who says "this is just not the Democratic Party we used to know." When Davis invoked Reagan's memory at a speech to the Northern Virginia Tea Party last month, he received standing ovation and chants of "U.S.A."

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  • Elizabeth Flock is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can contact her at or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.