Former Alaska governor and GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin blamed out-of-touch Washington elites with trying to foist an ill-advised healthcare overhaul on Americans that betrays the nation’s traditional ideals, principles, and values.
Speaking to an enthusiastic crowd of 1,300 Florida Republicans at an Orlando, Fla., fundraiser Friday night, Palin repeatedly said that Democrats and President Obama are speaking down to Americans, rather than listening to their genuine concerns.
“These days, the left lectures us, and they apologize for us, and they mock, and they spend the better part of a year talking down to us,” Palin said, referring to the marathon bickering over the president’s proposed healthcare reforms. “Then they tell us that Americans would learn to like their programs if only we were smart enough to understand them.
“Well I’ve got news for them,” Palin said to rousing applause. “We understand plenty. We know what they’re trying to do. ... We don’t like it. We don’t want European-style ObamaCare. We want a system that reflects our values, and our principles, and Americans’ love of freedom…. We want solutions that are uniquely American.”
Driving her point home, Palin declared, “Our best ideas aren’t the ones we import from other countries.”
Palin’s fiery speech reflected the conservative populism and homespun American fervor that are her hallmarks. Her address headlined the Orange County Republican Executive Committee’s annual Lincoln Day dinner.
Although her remarks lasted only about 30 minutes, she displayed a Reagan-esque wit that offset the well-honed rhetorical jabs she perfected as Arizona Sen. John McCain’s running mate on the campaign trail during the 2008 election.
Palin drew a big laugh from the crowd when she observed that the weather remains very cold in her home state of Alaska at this time of year – so cold it was “about 10 degrees below Congress’s approval rating.”
She also noted that President Abraham Lincoln used to write down ideas and slip the notes inside the band of his top hat.
“But I’ve got to tell you when taking notes,” she said, “the palm of one’s hand does suffice too.”
Dismissing the recent brouhaha over notes that she scribbled on her palm before making a speech, Palin called her method a “poor man’s teleprompter” – an obvious poke at President Obama’s frequent use of the device that TV anchors use to deliver the nightly news.
All kidding aside, Palin then went on to lambaste a Beltway intelligentsia that she characterized as condescending and arrogant toward everyday Americans.
“Washington and the media elite,” she demanded, “quit disrespecting the wisdom of the American people. We want them, and we expect them, to get on with a sensible agenda for this country to get us back on the right track and to win the war on terrorism … the message we’re going to send is ‘Chosen ones, you’re fired!’ And we cannot wait for those midterm elections in November to send that message.”
She added that: “To [White House Press Secretary Robert] Gibbs and [Senior Adviser David] Axelrod and [White House Chief of Staff] Rahm Emanuel and [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and Mr. President: It’s time that they stop lecturing, and start listening to the American people!”
Sounding like a candidate honing her stump speech, Palin recounted her accomplishments leading the largest state in the union.
She said that Alaska under her administration made major progress in developing renewable sources of energy. But taking another swipe at the Obama administration, she added the state “only [did] those things though that [are] doable, and economical, and real. None of this snake oil, utopianish, green-dreamin’ stuff, but real projects that develop real jobs, real savings, and that has to be based on real science.”
Other highlights from her Lincoln Dinner speech to Florida Republicans:
- She said government can play an appropriate role in the private sector’s development. But that role should be limited to leveling “the playing field,” and should not involve “picking the winners and losers to bail out and shut out and take over – but to create competition.”
- She reiterated her support for drilling for oil in sensitive environmental regions, in addition to developing renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. She called this the “all of the above” approach to energy independence. Palin added: “When it comes to something as serious as energy, decades of partisan paralysis is enough. The American people want more, and they deserve better, and they know that this challenge is great, and they think that Washington’s response is inadequate -- and they’re right!”
- Leaders in Washington are out of step with the priorities of everyday Americans when it comes to energy development, she said. “I was energized by those chants of ‘Drill, baby, drill!’” she said. “And people obviously get it. Americans want this drilling. We want the domestic production. Washington, though, just doesn’t get it… they just don’t get it.”
- Not aggressively pursuing new sources of petroleum and natural gas, Palin said, would be “insane.” She added, “It’s immoral, it's dangerous, and we’ve had enough of this nonsense!”
- She criticized the “cap and trade” scheme the House passed in order to restrain emissions of greenhouse gasses as a “big government, hare-brained plan.” Touching again on her anti-Washington mantra, she added: “Those politicians on the East Coast are controlling all this … You know, it’s about time President Obama and the Democrats in Congress start listening to the people once in a while, and not just lecturing.” She warned that cap-and-trade would pass on huge legacy costs to future generations.
- Palin tossed the Republican crowd plenty of raw meat in anticipation of the upcoming midterm elections, where Republicans are favored to make substantial inroads and could even win back control of Congress in the view of some experts. “The bottom line,” she said, “There’s nothing keeping us from attaining energy independence that a good old fashioned election can’t fix.
- She bestowed lavish praise on the tea party movement, calling it “beautiful.” She described it as “a groundswell of Americans who don’t like the cap-and-tax, socialized medicine, personality-as-foreign-policy, we-can-create-a-utopia agenda that’s embraced by those running the show in Washington right now. We’ve had enough. So we don’t want four more years of this. We don’t want two more years of this. We can’t afford this anymore. Our country cannot afford what’s going on.”
- She called for strong free-market policies, cutting government spending and lowering taxes, “which incentivizes our small businesses to grow and hire more people. And then the result is small businesses get to thrive and prosper. The key to adding jobs and growing the economy, she said, is getting “government out of the way.”
- America’s spiraling debt threatens to make America “beholden” to other countries, threatens U.S. security, and will unfairly burden future generations, she said.
- She said Washington has “broken faith with the people it’s supposed to serve” by running up unsustainable debt and ignoring the will of the voters. “We sent a strong and clear message that we shouldn’t be working for government. Government should be working for us,” she said.
Beyond any specific proposals, however, Palin ratcheted up the anti-government rhetoric, even as Democrats and Obama’s aides are scrambling to try to win over the precious few remaining votes they need to begin pushing healthcare reform through via the parliamentary maneuver known as reconciliation. That would enable the legislation to be passed by a simple majority rather than the 60-vote margin needed to overcome a GOP filibuster in the Senate.
“The funny thing is that Washington wants all of us to think this is just way over our heads and all of this is just way too complicated for all of us to understand,” Palin told the enthusiastic crowd. “But everyday Americans know better. And we’re not taking it anymore. We’re not believing everything the ‘lamestream’ media is spewing at us, and that the White House wants to twist and pivot around … We know better, because we know real history, and we know what works.”
She concluded with a rousing defense of American exceptionalism, the view that the United States is a proud example of freedom and prosperity for the rest of the world to follow.
“We believe as Lincoln did that this nation is the last best hope on earth. And we still believe that America is exceptional. What makes her exceptional is not her politicians, it’s her people and the founding principles that we hold dear,” Palin said. “Anyone who doesn’t get it and is pessimistic about our future should get out of Washington and start knowing the real American people.”
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