Sarah Palin says that Americans have the ability to make the United States strong again, and that developments such as the re-election of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and the growing realization that the Democratic Party is led by "far leftists" are steps in the right direction.
"I'm trying to empower the American public, to remind them they have a voice — that if they stiffen their spines and stand for what they believe in, they'll see that other spines around them are stiffened, too, and that we then, together, can put this country back on the right course," Palin, former governor of Alaska, told Newsmax TV.
"We don't have to be a country that is bankrupt, that has this miserable economy, and that has freedoms being eroded out from under us. We can get back to American exceptionalism if we all do our part."
One positive development, she says, is the strong showing Christie made in winning a second term as the Garden State's top elected official.
"Hey, a Republican governor in a blue state. Right on! It beats the alternative. I'm happy for New Jersey," she said.
"Hopefully, [Christie will] understand that we need to make government, all levels, especially the federal government, as irrelevant in our lives as possible and empower the people to make decisions for themselves and spend their income the way they desire and manage their healthcare the way they desire."
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Palin does, however, share concerns with other conservatives that Christie may be way too liberal to be handed the Republican nomination for president in 2016.
"How would he do in a presidential race? How would he do nationwide? That remains to be seen because so many Americans, me included, me being a proud participant in that grassroots movement that is referred to as the tea party, we are tired of politicians . . . vacillating on some very fundamental issues . . ." said Palin, who was Sen. John McCain's GOP running mate in the 2008 presidential race.
"I just absolutely want to make sure the next GOP candidate can so excite and encourage and empower the American people that we want to get out there and vote for [them],. . . their message and their agenda instead of just voting against the statist, big-government, socialized policies that, no doubt, the far-left Democrat will be representing. We want something to vote for, not just against."
In the past, Palin has said she would consider supporting a third-party candidate should Christie wrap up the GOP nomination. But she appears to have softened a bit on that stance.
"It depends on who else is out there at the time. I'm not so anti-Chris Christie that, certainly, it's not like I wouldn't give him a chance . . . I would want to make sure that any candidate, not just Chris Christie, understands the import of empowering the people, individuals, our own businesses, our own families to make decisions for ourselves, not big government [making those decisions]."
Palin says too many politicians, "not just necessarily Chris Christie . . . think that this is a time to compromise with the left."
The Affordable Care Act, she says, is a prime example.
"Politicians ran on the idea of replacing Obamacare with something that's market-centered, patient-centered, something that allows competition in the marketplace of healthcare coverage," she said.
"Yet when it came time to stand up and defund it . . . to get rid of a policy that is absolutely a train wreck for this country, too many politicians waved the white flag instead and didn't stand with senators like Ted Cruz [of Texas] and Mike Lee [of Utah] who were fulfilling their campaign promise to do all that they could to defund, to replace Obamacare. So, that's a disappointment."
Palin caused a ruckus when she referred to last month's government shutdown, which was widely blamed on Republican lawmakers, as a "slimdown."
"Oh, yeah . . . 16 days of 17 percent of the government kind of turning down the volume of its expenditures and its activities? That was not a shutdown," she said.
But the political ramifications of the shutdown, particularly the defeat of Republican Ken Cuccinelli by Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia governor's race, are real, Palin acknowledged, and partly the work of the mainstream media.
"It's too bad that the mainstream media put the blame on the Republicans for this quasi-shutdown," she said.
"We have billions of dollars coming into the federal government every day that could fund the essential services and pay service on our debt. There was no need to shut anything down.
"Harry Reid led the shutdown, and yet the lame-stream media put the blame on the Republicans, and Republicans didn't fight hard enough to get that message out that, hey, it wasn't our choice to shut things down. They [the Democrats] were the political party in power. They were the ones who decided to do it."
The Republican Party must strive to present a clear ideology to voters in the future as well as end the fierce infighting that has roiled the GOP, Palin says.
"I would go with that strategy with better messaging, the messaging being we're not going to throw the good guys under the bus," she said.
"We're not going to throw [Sens.] Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul under the bus and send this message to America that it's okay not to hold your politicians accountable for what they ran on and . . . for politicians to tell us one thing in a campaign and turn right around and do the opposite. That's not cool."
She said that was not meant as a criticism of only her own party.
"The bigger problem is the Democrat Party . . . being led by far leftists who want to shove down our throats these socialist ideas of healthcare . . . and regulations that are going to shut down business and industry and energy developments that will make us more and more of a bankrupt and beholden-to-other-nations country," she said. "America deserves better than that."
Palin said she's surprised that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has not been forced to resign after the disastrous rollout of the Affordable Care Act website.
"I am surprised. Having been a boss, having an administration under me and in the private sector, too, no, I would replace a person that has so screwed up a rollout," she said.
"But, you know . . . I don't give a flying flip about a malfunctioning website . . . A broken website is the least of our worries. The greater worry is what Obamacare is all about.
"An even greater worry than that is Obamacare being a symptom of this agenda that is stifling, strangling our economy," she said.
Palin said it isn't easy to review the performance of Republican House Speaker John Boehner.
"That's a tough question to answer because I'm not on the inside and I don't necessarily ever want to be on the inside of how that machine works," she said.
"Both sides of the aisle, it's kind of a malfunctioning machine, so, really tough to put a letter grade on it. But I respect the fact that he's a Republican and he's kind of like this hockey goalie who's trying to deflect as many pucks [from] President [Barack] Obama as possible, and I appreciate that aspect of him."
But Palin's slaps at politics appear to be mild ones, because the mother of five children indicates she'd be perfectly happy to see one of her own run for office someday.
"I would think it's a great idea because I know that my kids have a strong foundation of faith in America, the American people. They so respect the freedom that we have here in America," Palin said.
"And because my kids have been through so much, not just on a political level but on a personal level, with their biggest brother [Track] serving in a war zone, their littlest brother [Trig] who has some special needs and will face more challenges than most any of us ever will.
"Our family, having gone through so much, my children would be well equipped to have a servant's heart, which is exactly what we need in America in terms of politics."
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