St. Louis – American and Revolutionary-era Gadsden flags proliferated on the Arch steps Sunday afternoon as thousands of Tea Party supporters rallied ahead of what one speaker called "the most important election of our lives."
The rally was one of three held across the country to keep Tea Partiers energized, though the crowd who braved a blazing late summer sun did not seem to need the boost.
Speaker after speaker rallied urged them to push for a repeal of the health care overhaul, restore what they called founding principles, and reduce the size of the federal government.
But they also urged the supporters to keep the fight going, even after November.
"You know that it's going to take longer than one election to undo an entire generation of government dissolution," said local conservative activist and Tea Party leader Dana Loesch. "And we're not going to be done in midterms, and we're not even going to be done in 2012. We may not ever be done. Is it Jefferson that said the price of liberty is eternal vigilance?"
The St. Louis event was aptly called a "Gateway to November," said local organizer Bill Hennessy. He said the movement is taking a page from the campaign of President Obama.
"I think where we're having the biggest impact is with the people who are here who before Feb 2009 never went to a party, or political rally of any kind in their lives," Hennessy said.
By design, no local candidates spoke at the event. The organizers, the Tea Party Patriots, did not want to appear that they were endorsing candidates. But Roy Blunt, the Republican running to replace the retiring Kit Bond, did appear on stage with Dick Morris.
Morris, who was once a pollster for Bill Clinton, was sharply critical of Blunt's opponent, Robin Carnahan.
"You've heard of the Peter Principle? Rising to the level of your own incompetence? That is the story of Robin Carnahan's political career," Morris said. "She rose to the level of her own incompetence when she was elected Secretary of State, and they don't do anything To be United States senator is a promotion way above her level of competence. In fact, she is to Senator as Obama is to president."
Morris predicted a Republican takeover of both the House and Senate.
Tea Party supporters also rallied in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.