Palin positions herself as populist outsider in Iowa speech
September 3rd, 2011
05:11 PM ET
3 years ago

Palin positions herself as populist outsider in Iowa speech

Indianola, Iowa (CNN) - Sarah Palin took sharp aim at President Barack Obama and at least one of her potential Republican rivals Saturday at a rain-soaked tea party rally in Iowa, the state that will open the GOP nomination fight early next year.

The former Alaska governor, speaking on the third anniversary of the Republican National Convention speech that transformed her into a conservative darling and global celebrity, did not announce a presidential campaign of her own.

But with a flurry of named and unnamed attacks against the president and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the GOP front-runner, Palin aggressively sought to define herself as a populist tea party outsider who would run against “the permanent political class” and “good ole boy politics as usual.”

“The status quo is no longer an option,” she declared to roughly 2,000 admiring supporters, some of whom traveled from as far as San Diego, Dallas and New Orleans for the rally.

Palin urged tea party activists to fight against President Obama and the “special interests” in Washington until “the permanent political class” is thrown out of power.

And for the first time, Palin outlined the makings of a five-point recovery plan for the nation’s flagging economy, albeit in very broad strokes.

Calling it a “pro-working man’s plan,” Palin rattled off a series of familiar and somewhat vague free-market proposals, such as repealing the Obama health care law, rolling back federal regulations, boosting domestic energy production and transferring more spending authority to state capitals.

But for a Republican who has been accused of offering little more than platitudes in the public arena, she did veer into specifics.

Palin, who famously raised taxes on oil industry while governor, proposed eliminating all corporate income taxes, claiming that lost revenue would be balanced out by closing corporate loopholes in the federal tax code.

“This is how we break the back of crony capitalism,” she said, sounding very much like the maverick politician who made a name for herself in Alaska by taking on an entrenched and sometimes corrupt Republican political class that was in cahoots with the oil and gas industry.

It was that theme of “crony capitalism” that led her into a series of barely veiled criticisms of Perry, who would be one of Palin’s most direct rivals in the race if she decides to run.

Palin allies had hinted to reporters before the speech that she would draw a stark contrast between her record and that of Perry, an impressive fund-raiser who has long been criticized by political foes of rewarding his campaign donors and political allies with government contracts and posts.

She did not mention Perry by name, but it was clear who was on her mind when she dressed down the current Republican field and questioned their willingness to return government power to the people.

“Some GOP candidates, they also raise mammoth amounts of cash,” she said. “We need ask them, too: What, if anything, do their donors expect from their investments? We need to know this because our country can’t afford more trillion-dollar thank you notes to campaign backers.”

Palin, who is expected to make a final decision about the race by October, told the crowd, “You must vet a candidate’s record.”

“Our challenge is not just to replace Obama in 2012, but the real challenge is, who and what we will replace him with?” she asked. “Because it’s not enough to just change up the uniform. If we don’t change the team and the game plan, we won’t change the country.”

Speaking briefly to reporters on a rope line after leaving the stage, Palin would not say whether her comments were directed at Perry.

“I want all of our GOP candidates to take the opportunity to kill corporate capitalism that is leading to this cronyism that is killing our economy,” Palin said. “They all have an opportunity to speak out against it. That’s what I want them to do.”

In her speech, she seemed as fed up with her own party as she is with Democrats.

She chided GOP candidates for delivering conservatives rhetoric on the campaign trail but failing to live up to those promises in Washington.

Palin also mocked Republicans who have spoken ill of the tea party movement, namely those who label tea partiers “hobbits.”

That was a jab plainly directed at the man who plucked Palin from obscurity and placed her on the 2008 presidential ticket: Arizona Sen. John McCain, who criticized “tea party hobbits” in a Senate floor speech during the debt ceiling debate.

Thunderstorms moved through Indianola in the hours before the much-anticipated event, organized by a newly formed group called “Tea Party of America,” sending drenched Palin supporters running for cover.

But the rain clouds parted for a time when Palin took the stage, drawing rally-goers out of their cars and back to the event site for the speech. Her speech was organized by a newly formed group called Tea Party of America.

Palin now heads to the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, where she will headline a rally sponsored by the Tea Party Express.


Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Sarah Palin • Tea Party
soundoff (349 Responses)
  1. Anas

    I am sorry, you just can't all the sudden now say you no longer like your party and that you are a Maverick. Now all the sudden you are for the middle class, is this the same middle class the tea party is out to destroy. Yep, let's cut cut and cut the middle class programs from the government, programs they worked their entire life to fund. Even better, let's go to Lala land where we can push a magic button that will all the sudden change the US from a capitalist country. when I hear something realistic from any of these jokers, I will consider listening.

    September 3, 2011 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  2. timz

    Right. Palin only left the "permanent political class" (quitting in the middle of her term) because she saw an opportunity to cash in big time. She's a political parasite.

    September 3, 2011 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  3. sonny boy

    Wow! what a joke of a candidate! Can you people imagine if SHE became President????? Just the fact that she has "supporters" is proof that there are epic morons out there registered to vote.

    September 3, 2011 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  4. mike

    she is an outsider all right...outside of the human race

    September 3, 2011 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  5. John

    Anybody listen to Saran Palin has to be has dumb has she Is. All she does Is complain and spread hate and Is Racist. And has to be the most UNQUALIFIED for any public office of any KIND. I wouldn't even vote for her to be dog catcher, because the dog would out smart her. This Woman Is a IDIOT.

    September 3, 2011 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  6. pprty

    I was going to comment, but she's not worth the effort!

    September 3, 2011 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  7. pprty

    P.S. The pink pearlessant lipstick is out of style, makes you look like a witch, & clashes with the communist red background.

    September 3, 2011 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  8. m1983

    Did she have all her speech written down on her hand? Sarah Palin is trying to skip all the debates before she decide
    to run. Obama may be spineless, but as for my household, he will get our five votes. Can't hold my nose long enough
    to vote for a Republican.

    September 3, 2011 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  9. IsNot

    An outsider and another flavor of the same old stuff, complete with a promise to let corporations off scott-free? Nothing new to see here.

    September 3, 2011 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  10. etesot obe

    My worry with the contemporary American politics and politicians is that the politics fueled by idiots seems to give them the same ranking as the rest of us. All because of the commonly cited, and evidently misinterpreted First Amendment. You are right, I mean the tea-party.

    September 3, 2011 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  11. krehator

    Idiot. GO AWAY.

    September 3, 2011 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  12. Kenny K

    I believe all democrats and their surrogates need to start asking repbulicans to take stand on whether to eliminate entitlements (such as free healthcare) for Alaska indians.

    September 3, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    'Palin, who famously raised taxes on oil industry while governor, proposed ELIMINATING ALL CORPORATE INCOME TAXES, claiming that lost revenue would be balanced out by closing corporate loopholes in the federal tax code.'

    If all corporate income taxes are eliminated, loopholes aren't necessary for tax avoidence. Why would an entity that is not taxed need loopholes?

    This lady is as dumb as dirt.

    September 3, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  14. contessa

    Wow??? A total of about 2,000????? Supporters!!!! A rather "sparse" bunch of Tea Hot Air Baggers it seems!! What happened to the 20,000 and counting admirers that "flocked" to your side three years ago??? Could it be your charisma is fading into the sunset??? Keep em' guessing, Sarah!!!! That's about all you can do at this point!! You really don't stand a chance in any Republican Debate!! Rick Perry will positively destroy you with his Texan know-it-all attitude!! And even your request to call him "Rick" will not protect you from the "blow-back" you will get from this bold and brazen cowboy!! Me thinks you belong back in Alaska, digging for "reality gold"!!

    September 3, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  15. EK in Bedford,OH

    'Palin, who famously raised taxes on oil industry while governor, proposed eliminating all corporate income taxes, claiming that lost revenue would be balanced out by closing corporate loopholes in the federal tax code.'

    Yo, Palin, why would a corporation need loopholes if it didn't have to pay taxes? Loopholes are tax deductions and credits. An entity that isn't taxed has no need for loopholes.

    Man, she is an airhead.

    September 3, 2011 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  16. chuck

    Man she slurps the make up on, gross skin, looks aged and tired. Did all 300 fans show up-thats the total from all states. Glad it rained.

    September 3, 2011 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  17. Mack

    Did she say something about closing loopholes in the federal tax code. Where have i heard that before? Oh was not that something Obama suggested to help balance the budget?

    September 3, 2011 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  18. isolate

    Outsider is right.

    "SPACE ALIENS FOR SARAH IN 2012!"

    September 3, 2011 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  19. patsj

    Sounds like a communist to me, seeking violent overthrow of our capitalist system: “I want all of our GOP candidates to take the opportunity to kill corporate capitalism that is leading to this cronyism that is killing our economy,” Palin said. “They all have an opportunity to speak out against it. That’s what I want them to do.”

    September 3, 2011 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  20. sjmfury

    Everything she has said is an endorsement for Top Tier Candidate Ron Paul 2012.

    September 3, 2011 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  21. mangoz

    Figures...she is such a "moneywhore"...anything to part fools with their money.

    September 3, 2011 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  22. Clwyd

    Quit once and we figure you know what you want! Quit twice and say it is because of all the law suits and we know you are just an idiot. Run for president on your quitting record and it is called, 'Stupid is forever Sarah!"

    September 3, 2011 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  23. kafoste

    Palin is snoresville

    September 3, 2011 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  24. Jeff Spangler

    Outsider to be sure (ever been to Wasilla, Alaska?), but "populist" only in the sense that she represents a distinct minority of uneducated and politically naive Americans.

    September 3, 2011 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  25. Sanity

    So, Palin is an outsider like Obama. LOL!

    September 3, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
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