The Associated Press

Palin Rallies Tea Partiers At Boston Common

Sarah Palin rallied the tea party movement near its historical roots with a pre-Tax Day message, telling Washington politicians that government should be working for the people, not the other way around.

Addressing roughly 5,000 people assembled in the morning sunshine near the site of the original Boston Tea Party, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee accused President Obama of overreaching with his $787 billion stimulus program and criticized the administration’s health care, student loan and financial regulatory overhauls.

“Is this what their ‘change’ is all about?” Palin asked the crowd on Boston Common. “I want to tell ‘em, nah, we’ll keep clinging to our Constitution and our guns and religion — and you can keep the change.”

With husband Todd looking on, she added: “We need to cut taxes, so that our families can keep more of what they earn and produce and our mom-and-pops then, our small businesses, can reinvest according to our own priorities, and hire more people and let the private sector grow and thrive and prosper.”

Palin, who served as Alaska’s governor for 2 1/2 years, played to the crowd as she trotted out a trademark line while lobbying for more domestic energy production.

“Yeah, let’s drill, baby, drill, not stall, baby, stall — you betcha,” she said.

The gathering harkened back to 1773, when American colonists upset about British taxation without government representation threw British tea into the harbor in protest.

“I feel like I’m taking care of my son and daughter and grandchildren’s business,” said Mary Lou O’Connell, 72, of Duxbury. She listed “deceit” and “gentle corrosion of the political process” as two concerns and toted a sign reading, “Start Deleting Corruption Nov. 2010.”

Another attendee, John Arathuzik, 69, of Topsfield, said he had never been especially politically active until he saw the direction of the Obama administration.

“I feel like I can do one of two things: I can certainly vote in November, which I’ll do, and I can provide support for the peaceful protest about the direction this country is taking,” said Arathuzik, a veteran who clutched a copy of the Constitution distributed by one of the vendors who had set up shop amid locals heading to work and walking their dogs.

Cynthia Seeder of Natick had another key message: don’t make fun of us.

“I want my country back,” Seeder said. “I want to pass the country that I grew up in to my children and my grandchildren. I just want the government to listen to us, to hear us, not call us names.”

A festive mood filled the air. A band played patriotic music, and hawkers sold yellow Gadsden flags emblazoned with the words “Don’t Tread on Me” and the image of a rattlesnake.

Sarah Palin addresses a crowd on Boston Common. (AP) (Click to enlarge)

The rally also drew a number of curiosity seekers from nearby offices and college campuses. Some of the students held mocking counter-protests, holding signs against the Tea Party and wearing costumes.

Notably absent was Sen. Scott Brown, the Republican who in January won the seat held for half a century by the late liberal icon Edward M. Kennedy.

He cited congressional business, which included hearings about the Iranian nuclear program.

“That’s a heck of a lot more important than him being here right now,” conservative talk show host Mark Williams told the crowd.

Brown kept the movement at a respectful distance during his campaign last winter, concerned if he gets too close, he risks being aligned with the tea party’s more radical followers. Some have questioned the legitimacy of everything from Mr. Obama’s U.S. birthplace to his college degree.

The rally was the next-to-last event in the 20-day, 47-city Tea Party Express tour concluding Thursday in Washington.

Palin also helped kick off the tour in Searchlight, Nev., hometown of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democratic target of the movement.

WBUR’s Sonari Glinton contributed reporting.

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  • jeff

    Do people not notice that Sarah Palin only speaks in short sound bites. She keeps saying the same thing over and over again. There is not one once of substance in her political philosophy. “Drill baby drill” and this chestnut, “I want to tell ‘em, nah, we’ll keep clinging to our Constitution and our guns and religion – and you can keep the change.”

    So according to Palin this country is about the Constitution, guns, and religion. That’s a pretty narrow scope. I also doubt that she really understands the Constitution or the philosophical ideas of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, or any of the founders.

  • Scott Fordin

    I have yet to hear Sarah Palin say anything constructive. She’s all nasty soundbites and the same old Republican party-line tropes again and again — many of which got us into the messes we’re into now. It seems the only thing Republicans are interested in is power, and once in power are not interested in actual governance. When they don’t get their way, they blatantly lie, cynically and hypocritically misrepresent the facts, and threaten violence. And please don’t tell me the “Tea Party” and the Republican party are not closely aligned. They are.

  • jeff

    The reality is Palin is a half term governor who has a minor TV show. She is a dog and pony show for the media.

    By the way that’s why Romney and Brown stayed away in my view Palin is a distraction and it’s the medias fault for giving her so much voice.

  • Dave

    Nice to see she hasn’t given up the fearmongering hateful tactics that lost her the election.

    What political office does she hold again? Oh yeah, none. She’s a TV news anchor.

    What do you think would happen if Katie Couric or Brian Williams started hosting politically charged public rallies??

  • JM

    I am sure even the right are embarrassed for her.

  • mel

    The angry, bitter hateful left wingers are out in full force today making their demeaning comments.
    I hate her so much because she is so dumb and stupid…
    It is actually quite humorous to see you people lose control but in a sad, pitiful way.

  • frank

    Why do you people hate her so much?

  • jeff

    Mel I would hardly say what I posted is angry and bitter.
    It’s called a comment. Angry and bitter would be more along the lines of “Sarah Palin is failed governor who is only out for her own self interest and is using the tea party for her own self gain.” Stating the obvious about her lack of rhetorical skills is not being bitter, it’s a fact.

  • LG

    I was on the Common today– I went because I wanted to be in a COUNTER-demonstration. It is my estimate that of the people on the Common, about 1/3 were there either to protest against the Tea Party and Palin or were there simply for curiosity. The two sides were mixed; there was no way to figure out which group was which because both were dispersed over a wide area.

    Since the PA system was so dreadful, and even those standing pretty close to the podium couldn’t tell what was being said, I believe its planners’ chief purpose was to be seen on TV. I just hope that the news coverage includes the fact that the crowd had many who were there to oppose rather than support the event.

  • Scott Fordin

    Okay, let’s say this in a controlled, fact-based, even-handed way. I don’t like Sarah Palin, and think she is destructive to the process of topical discussion because:

    1. She speaks almost entirely in critical soundbites, with virtually no substance and/or blatant hypocrisy behind her words. Example: The “lamestream” media, when she herself is a total media construct.

    2. She promulgates and exacerbates often violent hate speech. Example: “It’s not time to retreat, it’s time to reload,” and then posts pictures of Democratic lawmakers with rifle crosshairs superimposed on them.

    3. She lies with absolute facility and conviction, and a shocking number of people lap it up. Example: “death panels.”

    4. She has not offered a single constructive policy suggestion, and only repeats, without clarification or policy implications, the same Republican party-line bullet items. Example: “tax cuts” no matter what, and “drill, baby, drill,” even when Obama has indicated he’s opening up new areas for drilling.

    That’s just a few things. Note that I did not point out that I think she’s a vacuous, cynical, irresponsible media product who is gaming the system for her own financial gain.

  • jeff

    Lesly you should tell Sarah Palin that.

  • mel

    Scott, thanks for making my point.

  • Wait one minute…

    The woman who was interviewed sounded like the radio tuned to WTKK.

  • Christopher Robinson

    Unqualified moron

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