Palin-Bachmann rally: ‘Take that, liberals!’

Sarah Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann shared the spotlight at Wednesday's rally.
MinnPost photo by Terry Gydesen
GOP superstars Sarah Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann shared the spotlight at Wednesday’s rally.

How do you get your mind around something like this rally that happened right in the middle of the state’s most liberal congressional district?

Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and, on the undercard, Gov. Tim Pawlenty. All on one stage before thousands of passionate conservatives. T-shirts and banners (“Palin-Bachmann, Our Dream Team.”) Conservatives bouncing to the tunes of — gasp — Bruce Springsteen as they awaited the arrival of the stars. People coming to the Minneapolis Convention Center at 5:30 in the morning for a 2 p.m. event. (“I didn’t want to miss any of this,” said Joan Peron of Coon Rapids.)

Let’s start with the star attractions, Bachmann and Palin. The thousands standing on the concrete floor for hours didn’t just like these two, they adored them. Everything about ’em, especially when they ripped into Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid or President Obama. The people booed those three with the same gusto they cheered Bachmann and Palin.

Those gathered especially seemed to like the cute stories. Palin, for example, told the story of how she first met Minnesota’s 6th District congresswoman.

“When we first met, she had traveled to Alaska to see about what we could do to have energy independence. I knew we’d be buddies right away, because she was saying, ‘Drill here, drill here, drill here.’ I replied, ‘Drill baby, drill.’ And then we both said, ‘you betcha.”’

Big, big cheers. You betcha.

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Still, what was all of this about?

Thousands of people on a gorgeous April afternoon standing inside on a concrete floor, waiting and waiting.

Un-party crowd
It had the feel of a presidential campaign event, not a congressional campaign event. Republican Party officials, in fact, couldn’t remember a congressional campaign event ever attracting this sort of crowd.

But, interestingly, this wasn’t necessarily a Republican crowd. Speaker after speaker — from Pawlenty to Rep. John Kline to the stars of the show — referred as often to “conservatives” and “Tea Party” members as they did to Republicans.

Before the event began, Tony Sutton, the chairman of the state’s Republican Party, noted how un-party this crowd was. In fact, he said, the biggest benefit to the state party was that so many of the 11,000 people who requested free tickets were not people on the party’s mailing list.

Tony Sutton
Tony Sutton

“Now we have them identified,” said Sutton. “That’s 10,000 new people we will have to go out and work for us.”

Was he baffled by this huge turnout?

“I sometimes think that we in Minnesota don’t realize what an important voice Michele Bachmann has become for the conservative movement across the country,” Sutton said.

Perhaps the slogans on the t-shirts best told the story of who these conservatives are. The slogans weren’t about party, or even specific candidates.

“God Bless the USA.”

“Be A Citizen, Not a Subject.”


“Impeach Obama.”

Those t-shirts underscored the message that conservatives/Republicans are the people of “no.”

And Palin assured the crowd — her crowd, Bachmann’s crowd — there’s nothing wrong with that.

“What’s wrong with being the party of ‘no’ when you see what Obama, Pelosi and Reid are doing to this country?” she asked.

The crowd agreed with cheers. Loud, long cheers. There were so many conservative cheers Wednesday afternoon in the heart of Minnesota liberalism.

The Bachmann campaign, by the way, said the site in the 5th District, Keith Ellison’s district, was selected because it was centrally located for people coming in from the sprawling 6th District. It was helpful that the convention center also is handy to the Hilton Hotel where Bachmann and Palin were going for a big-buck fundraiser. $10,000 would get you photographed with Sarah Palin.

But this event surely will help DFLers raise money, too. They’re inspired to generosity by Palin and Bachmann, much as the conservatives are inspired to get involved by the current administration.

“I hope they pour a bunch of money into the 6th District,” said Sutton. “I hope they pour as much as they’ve got because it’s all going to be wasted.”

Christian rock
Back to the rally.

Not surprisingly, by 1:45 many people, who had entered the convention hall with such passion, were a little weary.

Not even the Go Fish Guys, a Christian rock group that wears hockey jerseys all with the No. 10 (in honor of the Ten Commandments), could fire them up, though when they explained that “we use our music to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ,” there were some nice cheers.
After the Goldfish Guys sang a song in honor of moms, then dads, then the National Anthem, the speakers took over.

U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen was first. “Washington’s broken even worse than I imagined,” he said.


Next up, Rep. John Kline. The Democrats in Washington, he said, “are roaring down the tracks, taking away our freedoms….Our liberties given to us by our creator are being snatched away at a terrifying pace.”

A little more applause.

Then, Gov. Pawlenty.

“We live in a time when the federal government is taking over our companies,” he said. “Our largest insurance business, they own or control our mortgage industry, they’ve taken over student loans, and now they they’ve taken over a good portion of health care….Have you had enough?”


“We have a government debt too big to pay off and national leaders too small to do anything about it…. Have you had enough?”


He said he was delighted to be at the same rally with “two great leaders” and left the stage to very nice applause.

It was star time.

Rep. Michele Bachmann looks on as Sarah Palin speaks to the Convention Center crowd on Wednesday.
MinnPost photo by Terry Gydesen
With Rep. Michele Bachmann looking on, Sarah Palin speaks to the Convention Center crowd on Wednesday. “I knew we’d be buddies,” Palin said of Bachmann.

Bachmann and Palin stepped onto the stage together. But then Palin stepped to the back of the stage and Bachmann walked all around it, waving, smiling, waving some more.

“Welcome to Minneapolis,” she said.

Big applause.

She looked around the crowd. “Take that, liberals!”

Then, she quoted Sean Hannity, who was on hand, doing his television show right from the convention center.

“As Sean Hannity says, ‘Let not your heart be troubled. We own this country!”

More applause.

She was outraged by terrorist attacks at Ft. Hood, Texas, and in Arkansas. Outraged even more because, she said, that the Obama administration says, “we’re not supposed to use the word Islamic terrorist anymore.” (The crowd booed.) “Note to self. You might change the terminology but you can’t change reality.”

She attacked the new nuclear arms compact (we won’t fire nukes at anybody who complies with nuclear treaties). She attacked Eric Holder, the attorney general who dared “give the underwear bomber the same rights as a U.S. citizen.’’

And she attacked “Obama care.’’

“Repeal Obama care,’’ she said to cheers. “….You better believe it baby. That’s what this girl is all about.’’

The administration has messed with the Constitution, it’s taking over private enterprise. It’s  even messing with God.

“God gave us our rights!’’ she said.


“Government can’t take that away from us.’’


First to go, Pelosi and Reid.


Then Obama.

“We’ll make him a one-term president.’’


Replaced by?

“A rock-ribbed, bold conservative president,’’ she said. “That’s what this country is all about.’’

She didn’t say who she had in mind.

And then she introduced Palin, “who is one of us. As drop-dead gorgeous as she is on the outside, she’s 20 times more beautiful on the inside.’’

Palin took over and quickly won over the crowd by praising vets and saying “that it’s good to be in the Land of Lakes, where you’re proud of your guns and religion.’’

Ecstasy in the crowd.

“I love being in Minnesota,’’ she said. “You all sound just like me.’’

She asked if there were Tea Party members in the crowd.

There was a big roar.

She praised the Tea Partiers, saying, “we’re ready to take our country back….These people are not afraid to speak out. Like Michele.’’

Draped in necklaces and wearing a stylish outfit, Palin even made a crack about teleprompters and writing notes on her hand.

In this case, she said, she’d written the number of kids (five) and foster kids (23) Bachmann and her husband have raised or cared for.

“That was palm worthy,’’ she said, holding up her hand for the crowd to see. “I had to write that on my palm, the poor man’s version of the teleprompter.’’

She “goshed” a little, praised hockey moms, ripped Washington pols (“they’re becoming addicted to opium. That’s O-P-M, other people’s money’’). And, of course, she praised her co-star.

“My goodness gracious Minnesota, Michele has the courage to stand for you.’’

The crowd, mostly white, tending older, cheered and cheered in the heart of Minnesota liberalism.

Doug Grow writes about public affairs, state politics and other topics. He can be reached at dgrow [at] minnpost [dot] com.

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Comments (23)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 04/07/2010 - 06:02 pm.

    The Tea Party and its adherents remind me most of the Know Nothings of the mid-19th century, most of whom ultimately drifted into the Republican party of the day. They’ve simply substituted “liberals” (apparently anyone other than themselves)for German and Irish Catholics.

  2. Submitted by David Willard on 04/07/2010 - 06:15 pm.

    Oh Doug. I bet you felt like that faux Native American on the PSA against littering from a few decades ago. Were a few tears running down your cheek as those wretched ConSERvatives polluted your fair city with disagreements. C’mon, I bet you got spat upon and called all sorts of names. At least make it up like the MSM do.

  3. Submitted by dan buechler on 04/07/2010 - 06:45 pm.

    It’s called THE BIG SORT you can read the book, look at the maps on the website (see the changes from 1976 to 2004. Hint you can even go to the index and read what they write about Mpls and Minnesota and even Scott County. John Kline is the person who has really benefited from the Big Sort. Happy/depressing reading!!

  4. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 04/07/2010 - 08:20 pm.

    Who do liberals fear most? – Conservative women

  5. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/07/2010 - 08:59 pm.

    There went the neighborhood!

  6. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 04/07/2010 - 09:41 pm.

    I attribute the fact that public opinion is divided re the budget deficit to genius marketing from Republicans, who have historically run deficits 3x those of Democrats and who have never even come close to balancing the budget in the last 30 years when their guy was exercising his “fiscal responsibility” (hmm, that sounds like a fun euphemism…)

    My basic understanding of math tells me that during the last 1/4 of the previous administration, the GDP was -6.4%.
    At the end of 2009 the GDP was +5.9 which is a swing of about 12%.

    During the last month of the previous administration the job losses were 790,000. This January 2010 job losses were 20,000. That is a swing of over 3/4 of a million jobs.

    The stock market was at the bottom when it was near 6500. It is currently flirting with 11000.

    I guess the moral of the story is that you don’t have to fool all of the people all of the time, just enough at the margins to get yourself elected. Then you can borrow from tomorrow’s kids and grand kids (and great-grands ad infinitum) for today’s wars and tax cuts for the wealthiest of your supporters.

    Nice work if you can get it…

  7. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 04/07/2010 - 10:06 pm.

    Actually, as evidenced by the strident criticism at this rally, it is the conservatives who most fear strong, LIBERAL women. We liberals don’t fear conservative women. They’re predictable, not generally the brightest bulbs in the pack and VERY easy to manipulate once you learn the few phrases in their very limited vocabularies (which, I suspect, is why conservative men like them). However, those conservative men should take a good, hard, look at Palin’s black widow approach to each of the men who have helped her get where she is now.

    Meanwhile, over the Minneapolis Convention Center the sky turned the color of split pea soup during this event, in honor of the alternate reality in which these people exist. Although the sky is blue in Minneapolis again, now that these folks whose point of view and take on reality is only accurate in some parallel universe, have gone home, each taking their own little wormhole with them leaving Minneapolis once again a safe place to look at actual facts, think logically, and contemplate healthy romantic attraction once again (rather than sweaty obsessions directed at media stars).

  8. Submitted by Glenn Mesaros on 04/08/2010 - 05:29 am.

    The Great November Tsunami will wipe out the Democrats. They have no idea how Walzing with Pelosi is so repulsive to the American voters, even after Massachusetts.

    FDR created 3 million jobs in his first year, 1933, with the CCC and PWA/CWA. He shut down the financial piracy with Glass-Steagall. He rebuilt America with the TVA. America rewarded him with a greater majority in 1934. Ronald Reagan voted for FDR four times, and the WPA saved his alcoholic father by giving him a job in Dixon, Illinois.

    The arrogant, narcissist Obama spent an entire year creating a bill written by the insurance companies, for the insurance companies, and the banks, which creates 159 new agencies, enforced by 16,000 new IRS agents to tell Grandma she should die quicker, and get no hip replacement.

    You will reap the whirlwind of the righteous wrath of the American citizens in November.

  9. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 04/08/2010 - 07:25 am.


    Delightful as usual to hear from you. I have a novel idea. Since you and I tend to disagree, I could respond in kind with fun cathartic epithets *or* (and this is the novel part) data. I’m going to go with the latter, if it’s all the same to you.

    Set the chart to use $2005 for consistency, snag the data from the table, and look at the actual history of the national deficit since, say, 1978.

    Looking at the Carter – GWB years, we have 12 years of Democrat rule and 20 years of Republican rule. The Dems ran up a cumulative deficit of $522B (2005 dollars) and the Reps ran a tab of $7,071B (also 2005 dollars).

    So it turns out that I actually understated the annual deficit multiplier: it was actually 8.8x not 3x the deficits that Republicans ran compared to Democrats. My apologies for the oversight.

    Add in the Obama year and the multiplier falls to 2.4x more deficits per year generated by Republicans than Democrats. Note that the difference is primarily from cleaning up the mess from the previous administration (e.g., “thanks for your fine economic stewardship that led to the worst recession in 75 years…”)

    Turns out that I’m not so big a fan of liberal propaganda as you think. And back to my original point, it could be said that propaganda is why the public trusts Republicans with their money, although I prefer the term that I used earlier (“genius marketing”) as somewhat less inflammatory. But suit yourself.

    An aside: I notice that you put together a post without the terms “leftist” or “socialist”, for which I applaud you. Now if you could just turn the volume down from 11…

    I eagerly await your data-filled reply…

  10. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 04/08/2010 - 08:46 am.


    You ought to read MinnPost more often. M. Bachmann is scrutinized every week, while Amy K. is praised. However, I still have not figured out what Amy K has actually accomplished, except spending our children and grandchildren’s money. That is what liberal women do, and do it well.


    You are not a fan of “liberal propaganda?” However, you must be a big fan of “trillion dollar deficits” as far as the eye can see.

  11. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/08/2010 - 09:40 am.

    Shorter Porter: “Bring back teh compulsory indoctrination before it’s too late!”

    Interesting trivia: Yesterday, MB and SP drew a larger (and more enthusiastic) crowd (of voters) in Minnesota than P-BO.

  12. Submitted by Tom Foley on 04/08/2010 - 10:07 am.

    I seems to me that the radical right wing is more noisy than numerous, and so I would like to know what the numbers were at this event. What numbers were they actually able to draw? The NYT’s said “several thousand.” It was either the Post or the Strib that reported that the crowd did not fill out the cavernous Minneapolis Convention Center. Any reporter there, if they know the capacity of the hall, ought to be able to give a reasonably accurate estimate. Does anyone have any information information about this?

  13. Submitted by Michael Hunt on 04/08/2010 - 10:12 am.

    I see the consrevative commentators here prove what Grow alluded to….Hannity/Palin/Bachmann are really just “Politicalvangelists”. Don’t confuse Glenn, Ron and Tom with facts.

    But here’s an extrapolation I’ll draw using Swift’s analogy. As “wildly popular” as Strong Conservative Women are, they stiil aren’t able to draw half the crowd (for free), as was an aging MOR Hair Band across town (at $100/pop). But just keep fooling yourself.

    Us liberals would like nothing better than for you to nominate that Stronf Conservative Woman from Alaska for President. In fact, I’ll help ya….there’s nothing more I could do to insure another term for the Prez.

  14. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/08/2010 - 10:59 am.

    There were 11000 advance tickets handed out, and another 1000 snapped up at the window.

    More fodder for extrapolation:

    If an aging “MOR Hair Band” across town attracted more people than Strong Conservative Women did, what does that say about P-BO’s failure to attract as many people as the SCW did?

    And how likely, do you think, is it that people that paid $100 to see afore mentioned hair band will be showing up in force at the polls?

    Face it.

    These women are a force to be reckoned with, and you know as well as I do that they will play a very important role in the tsunami headed for the Democrat party in Nov.

  15. Submitted by John Hakes on 04/08/2010 - 11:06 am.

    Cute stories and cheap one-liners . . . a Presidency do not make . . . ‘Nuf said !

  16. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 04/08/2010 - 11:38 am.

    Funny, isn’t it, how accurate reporting of what both Ms. Bachmann and Ms. Klobuchar do and say is regarded by some as “scrutinizing” in the former case and “praising” in the other.

    You don’t suppose this has anything to do with the truthful and accurate reporting of what these two women are actually doing and saying? Could you at least consider the possibility that the fact that one of these women is notorious and the other notable is because, when their freely-expressed attitudes and freely-performed actions are accurately portrayed, these same things cause the general public to cringe in the former case and, in the latter case, to feel appreciative?

  17. Submitted by chuck holtman on 04/08/2010 - 12:01 pm.

    Mr. Swift:
    Yes, there were 11,000 tickets distributed, according to organizers (and perhaps in large blocks). That doesn’t answer Mr. Foley’s question: does anyone know how many people actually attended? PS I don’t have a dog in the fight, but I recall that when Obama spoke at the Target Center during the campaign, the place was full to capacity and many folks turned away. Not sure what your reference is to.

  18. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/08/2010 - 12:32 pm.

    Chuck, I don’t doubt Obama’s draw when he came to sell Hopey/Changey during the salad days of his campaign; I’m referring to his forlorn follow up visit to the Target Center last Sept. to sell ObamaCare.

    The most generous estimates of that crowd fell well short of 10,000.

  19. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 04/08/2010 - 12:58 pm.

    What a pair. Sarah Palin is a quitter — couldn’t even finish a single term of governor of the easiest state in the union to govern. And Michele is the laziest congressperson, having missed 115 votes so she can run around the country trying really hard to be famous among people who don’t know anything.

  20. Submitted by Michele Olson on 04/08/2010 - 04:42 pm.

    Okay, I’m confused. Isn’t Bruce Springsteen a liberal, and didn’t he campaign for President Obama?

    Okay, apart from that, I keep hearing from both parties that “Americans don’t want this” and “Americans want that.” Well, I’m an American, I’m a liberal, and I respect Palin and Bachmann’s right to assemble and speak. Nobody is forced to listen.

    I also like the path this administration is taking, but if a majority of the people feel differently, then they have the right to vote it out in November.

    Enough with the rhetoric, already.

  21. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 04/08/2010 - 07:17 pm.

    I was amused to read in today’s Strib that Rep. Ellison was out protesting at the gathering with the citizens who want jobs. It reminds me of the late Senator Wellstone who also enjoyed going out and joining protests outside of Congress. Of course, the protests were directed to Congress which he was a member of and as such had the power to actually do something. Rep. Ellison likewise is protesting to the majority party and President of the same party who have all the power in hopes that maybe they will do something. After three years of Congress and one year of Presidency, maybe the protestors are right to expect some results although it is still early for both Congress and the President. Once the President is in his second (lame duck) term and the majorities in Congress have been reduced real legislation is likely to be offered and the economy will hopefully be back in it’s regular up (following a down) cycle.

  22. Submitted by Sheila Ehrich on 04/09/2010 - 09:38 am.

    Has anybody come up with a count yet of how many actually attended?

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