"We're hear, we're clear, get used to it"
Sarah Palin rallied a Tea Party crowd of tens of thousands who braved chilly temperatures, a driving wind and falling snow in Madison, Saturday. The former Alaska governor seemed undeterred by the wintry April Wisconsin weather, telling the crowd, "I feel like I'm at home. This is beautiful."
Gov. Palin was quick to criticize union leaders, while praising the rank and file membership. She reminded them that she is a "former union member" and her husband Todd is still a member. Holding out an olive branch to Wisconsin school teachers, she remarked that her parents and other members of her family were also teachers. Some of them, the governor said, depended on their pensions. The 2008 vice presidential candidate praised Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for preserving jobs and pensions by practicing fiscal responsibility, saying "a pension is a promise that must be kept," and that Walker understands "that states must be solvent in order to keep their promises." Walker's courage and integrity, she said, are "sorely missing inside the Beltway today."
She also gave kudos to the Tea Partiers for standing in support of Walker, adding that "real solidarity means coming together for the common good. This Tea Party is real solidarity." Recalling the recent demonstrations in Wisconsin's capital city, Gov. Palin praised her enthusiastic audience for standing strong in the face of a "violent rent-a-mob." "Madison," she told them, "you held your ground, your governor did the right thing, and you won."
Reminding the crowd that she wasn't afraid to take on the establishment of her own party ("what more than they say about us?"), she scolded them for compromising on a budget deal she characterized as "politics as usual." She encouraged GOP leaders to stand by their pledges, promising that if they stand up and fight, "we will stand with you, GOP. We have your back. Together we will win because America will win." But the outspoken conservative warned Republicans that the grassroots didn't elect them to stand by and watch Obama "redistribute the deck chairs" on the Titanic. With a nod to the 2011 national champion Wisconsin Badgers women's hockey team, Gov. Palin quipped that GOP leaders "need to learn how to fight like a girl."
In what sounded very much like a campaign speech, Mrs. Palin then went after President Obama for his spending, remarking that "The only thing that trillion dollar travesty stimulated was a debt crisis and a Tea Party. All aboard on his bullet train to bankruptcy." Blasting Obama for his lack of leadership, Gov. Palin turned his "Winning The Future" slogan around. "The only future that Barack Obama is trying to win, she charged, "is his own reelection. He’s willing to mortgage your children’s future to ensure his own. And that’s not the audacity of hope; that’s cynicism. Piling more debt onto our children and our grandchildren is not courage. No, that’s cowardice." She went on to criticize the president for ObamaCare, constraining domestic oil production, getting involved in Libya without a clear goal or exist strategy and bowing to US enemies while snubbing its allies.
Mrs. Palin got loud cheers from the crowd when she praised Wisconsin's 1st District U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan, a Republican fiscal conservative whose budget proposal was passed by the House of Representatives yesterday. Ryan's plan, which is a blueprint to cut $6 trillion out of the federal debt, will likely not survive the Senate and is sure to be vetoed by the president if it does. But the first woman to serve as governor of Alaska and campaign on a Republican Party presidential ticket warned Mr. Obama, "You ignored us in 2010 but you cannot ignore us in 2012." Wrapping up her speech in true campaign stemwinder style, Gov. Palin told the Tea Party crowd, "The 2012 election begins here. We will take the courage and the integrity that you showed all of America. We will fight for America. And it starts here in Madison, Wisconsin. It starts here. It starts now. Mr. President, game on!"
h/t: @JedediahBila and @HeyTammyBruce
Breitbart TV has the full video of Gov. Palin's Madison speech up here.
Coverage by Milwaukee's Journal Sentinel is here, J-S photo gallery here.
The Green Bay Gazette's photo gallery is here.
Politico's write-up is here.