Palin, Santorum speak at Sevierville tea party rally

Four stalwarts of the nation’s conservative movement exhorted an appreciative Sevier County tea party crowd of several hundred Thursday night to stay true to their principles, reports the News Sentinel.

The event had the feel of a pep rally at times, as the speakers cheered the U.S. as the greatest nation on earth. Then each laid out a litany of things wrong with the country, from failure to adhere to Christian governance to multiple scandals to the breakdown of the traditional family to excessive political correctness.

All of it to the cheers of the mostly middle aged-to-senior crowd at the Sevierville Convention Center.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Sen. Rick Santorum, former U.S. Rep. Allen West and former Judge Jeanine Pirro all spoke of their antipathy to big government, the welfare state, weak foreign policy and much more.

Each in turn brought the tea partiers to their feet repeatedly with hot-button lines and anti-Obama rhetoric. The speeches touched a nerve of anger that permeated the room.

In scattershot remarks, Palin, conservative America’s “Momma Grizzly,” said it is up to the tea party to “stop the fundamental transformation” of the U.S. which she accused President Obama of having initiated.

She called the tea partyers an “army of believers” and said they should be ready to “take back” the nation.

Palin also noted there are “some good guys in Washington” but she said they need “reinforcements.”

That sentiment was echoed by Santorum, a former presidential candidate, who added that the tea party exists because America has “walked away” from the principles of the Founding Fathers.

“This is the only country in the history of the world,” he said, “that recognizes that rights come from God. Government is there to protect God-given rights.”

He referred to the tea party’s political opposition as “left-wing lunatics” and he challenged the crowd to “refuse to lose.”