GOP icon Sarah Palin is warning her fellow Republicans that they must respond to voters' frustrations over spiraling unemployment and massive deficit spending or risk losing their newfound dominance in Washington, D.C. She also appeared to side with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in his focus on the 2012 presidential elections, stating "We cannot fully restore and revive American until we replace [President Barack] Obama."
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In an opinion piece published Thursday by National Review Online, Palin praised grass-roots conservatives for reminding Republicans that the principles of Ronald Reagan remain the party's foundation.
"I think the Gipper is smiling down on us today waving the Gadsden Flag," Palin wrote, adding that Tuesday's election results represented "a crushing defeat" to "an extreme left-wing agenda."
But Palin also warned Republican politicians they now must deliver on the small-government mandate she says voters gave them.
"The 2012 story should be about conservatives in Congress cutting government down to size and rolling back the spending, and the left doing everything in its power to prevent these necessary reforms from happening," said Palin, the former Alaska governor who was Sen. John McCain's GOP running mate in 2008.
Compromising on fundamental values for the sake of getting along with the Obama administration, Palin warned, could lead to "the GOP going the way of the Whigs."
Palin's prescription for GOP success in the months to come:
• Republicans should back center-right candidates in bluer states, she says, but adds: "I see no point in backing someone who supports cap-and-tax, Obamacare, bailouts, taxes, and more useless stimulus packages. If you think such a candidate will be with us when it comes time to vote down an Obama Supreme Court nominee, you’re living on a unicorn ranch in fantasy land."
• GOP candidates need to push back immediately against distortions leveled by their opponents. "Once they let themselves be defined as “unfit” (decorated war hero Joe Miller) or “heartless” (pro-life, international women’s rights champion Carly Fiorina), good candidates often find it virtually impossible to get their message across," Palin wrote. "The moral of their stories: You must be prepared to fight for your right to be heard."
• Republicans will need to continue to perfect their get-out-the-vote operations on the ground, particularly to counter voter fraud.
• Most importantly, she says, conservatives need to carefully craft their statements to "minimize the inevitable fear-mongering accusations of 'extremism.'" Palin says that's important because the deepening fiscal crisis will require political leaders to explain their proposed reforms to the voters. "We need to speak about them in a way that the public will embrace," she said.
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