Sarah Palin hit the stage in Indianola, Iowa this afternoon to keynote the Tea Party of America’s “Restoring America” rally. And she certainly pulled no punches.
Palin took on President Obama’s failed policies and proclivity toward crony capitalism, stood firm in her support for tea party principles and rekindled the 2008 RNC speech she gave exactly three years ago today.
Consistent with her 2008 message, the former Alaska governor and vice presidential nominee reminded Americans today of the danger of politicians who follow a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do motto. Palin, whose record features persistent and successful efforts to tackle a corrupt political class, articulated the necessity of challenging the status quo in order to battle corruption and effectuate genuine reform. She shared the frustration of many Americans with regard to business as usual in D.C. Most importantly, she offered real solutions, including a plan that serves as a stark contrast to our president’s perpetual empty rhetoric: repeal Obamacare, uphold the Tenth Amendment, rein in overregulation, prioritize significant and legitimate spending cuts, cancel unused stimulus money, “own up to the debt challenge that is entitlement reform,” tap into our God-given energy resources and make America “the most attractive and competitive place to do business” by eliminating all federal corporate income tax, corporate welfare and loopholes.
Some highlights from the speech:
“We’re not celebrating red America or blue America. We’re celebrating red, white and blue America.”
“What brought us together is a love of country and we see that America is hurting. We’re not willing to just sit back and watch her demise through some fundamental transformation … we’re here to begin the restoration of the country that we love. We’re here because America is at a tipping point.”
“This is a systemic crisis due to failed policies and failed leadership.”
“Candidate Obama didn’t have a record while he was in office, but President Obama sure does, and that’s why we’re here today.”
“We’ve transformed from a country of hope to one of anxiety … Barack Obama promised to cut the deficit in half and instead he turned around and tripled it … President Obama, is this what you call winning the future? I call it losing, losing our country and with it the American dream.”
“This movement isn’t simply a political awakening. It’s an American awakening. And it’s coming from ordinary Americans … it’s you who grow our food, you run our small businesses, you teach our children, you fight our wars.”
“And as much as the media wants you to forget this, tea party Americans won an electoral victory of historic proportions in November … We sent a new class of leaders to D.C., but immediately the permanent political class, they tried to co-opt them.”
“They spend, they print, they borrow, they spend more and then they stick us with the bill. Then they pat their own backs … No, they don’t feel the same urgency that we do.”
“I’ve seen this kind of crony capitalism before … I took on a corrupt and compromised political class and their backroom dealings with Big Oil. And I can tell you that sudden and relentless reform never sits well with entrenched power brokers.”
“When we finally did get slapped then with that inevitable downgrade, the politicians and the pundits, they turned around and blamed us … they called us un-American … and suicide bombers and hobbits?”
“The only future that Barack Obama is trying to save is his own reelection, and he has shown that he is perfectly willing to mortgage our children’s futures to pay for it.”
“Like you, I’m not for sale … I believe in the free market and that is why I detest crony capitalism. And Barack Obama has shown us cronyism on steroids. It will lead to our downfall if we don’t stop it now.”
“Politicians are so focused on the symptoms and not the disease … so this is why we must remember that the challenge is not simply to replace Obama in 2012, but the challenge is who or what we will replace him with.”
“In five days’ time, our president will gift us with yet another speech … his plan is the same — grow more government, increase more debt, take and give more of your hard-earned money to special interests.”
“My plan is a bona-fide pro-working man’s plan and it deals in reality … My plan is about empowerment, empowerment of our states, empowerment of our entrepreneurs … empowerment of you, our hard-working individuals.”
“The real stimulus we have been waiting for is robust and responsible energy production. We have the resources. Affordable, secure energy is the key to any thriving economy … drill here, drill now … stop kowtowing to foreign countries and dictators.”
“America’s economic revival starts with America’s energy revival.”
“Real hope is in you. It’s not that hopey-changey stuff that we heard about in 2008 … Real hope comes from realizing that ‘we the people’ can make the difference.”
“Don’t wait for the permanent political class to reform anything for you. They won’t. They can’t. They can’t even take responsibility for their own actions.”
“His [Barack Obama’s] fundamental transformation is at odds with everything that made this country great.”
“We have a duty, not just to the living, but to those who came and died before us. And to the generations yet to be born.”
“America, we will always endure. We will always come through. We will never give up … because we live by that moral strength that we call grace.”
I’ve been saying for some time that it is imperative for 2012 GOP contenders to draw a clear line of demarcation between Barack Obama’s record and his rhetoric. Sarah Palin made it her business to do just that today.
My expectation is that a Palin candidacy would continue to hold Obama accountable for his failed policies, deceit and phony “hope” and “change,” while challenging any politics as usual that exists on both the left and right of the political establishment. As a former governor with a record of taking on entrenched corruption on both sides of the aisle and backing up talk of transparency, ethics reform and fiscal discipline with real action, she is all too familiar with challenging the likes of President Obama. She is also quite familiar with challenging folks on the right who are more concerned with pleasing their political buddies than doing what’s right for their constituents.
Judging by Palin’s speech today, I’d say she’s fired up for something big.
Jedediah Bila is a conservative columnist, television commentator and author of the new book Outnumbered: Chronicles of a Manhattan Conservative. For more information on Jedediah, please visit jedediahbila.com. Follow Jedediah on Twitter.