"Here's my plan," she told the roughly 2,000 people standing on a rain-soaked field to greet and cheer on the popular champion the Tea Party movement with frequent chants of "Run, Sarah, Run! " Calling for "sudden and relentless reform," Palin outlined a plan for the repeal of "ObamaCare," elimination of "burdensome regulations," undefined reform of entitlement programs, elimination of federal corporate income taxes, and the development of domestic energy resources.
"Drill here, drill now!" Palin shouted to the crowd cheering her plan for oil exploration and development at home. "Let the refineries and pipelines be built. Stop kowtowing to foreign countries and dictators, asking them to ramp up production and industry for us." Making what sounded like a campaign pledge, Plain said, "I promise you this will bring real job growth, not the politicians' phony green jobs, sprinkled with fairy dust and glitter." Ridiculing Obama's plan to spend federal money on "harebrained ideas like more solar panels and faster trains," Palin said, "There are enough large, conventional natural resource development projects just waiting in the wings, waiting for government approval, that could create more than a million high-paying jobs all across the United States. And this is true stimulus. It wouldn't cost the federal government a dime to let the private sector do this."
Claiming the United States now has the highest corporate tax rates in the industrialized world, Palin predicted her proposal to eliminate all federal corporate income tax would not only stop the exodus of American companies to offshore locations, but would also "attract capital from all over the world." To compensate for the lost revenue, she said, "we eliminate corporate welfare and all the loopholes and eliminate bailouts. This is how we break the back of corporate capitalism. Because it feeds off corporate welfare, which is just socialism for the very rich. We can change all of that. The message then to job-creating corporations is, 'Yeah, we'll unshackle you from the world's highest federal taxes, but you will stand or fall on your own, just like all the rest of us out on Main Street.' "
Palin told reporters after her speech that she still has not decided whether she will run. She has said she will decide sometime this month. That may put her behind other candidates in organizing and fundraising, but she appeared to be trying to turn that to her advantage Saturday as she repeatedly inveighed against "crony capitalism" and the "capitalism of connections."
"Barack Obama has shown us cronyism on steroids," Palin said, as she claimed the President has directed economic stimulus funds to supporters and campaign contributors. "Between bailouts for Wall Street cronies and stimulus projects for union bosses' security and green energy giveaways, he took care of his friends." Palin said. "And now they're on course to raise a billion dollars for his reelection bid, so they can do it all over again."
Palin did not mention that John McCain, her 2008 running mate, as well as Obama, voted for the TARP Wall Street bailout legislation in the Senate in 2008. But she did not spare Republicans altogether from her scathing criticism of "crony capitalism" and the "permanent political class."
"Now to be fair, some GOP candidates also raise mammoth amounts of cash and we need to ask them, too, what, if anything, do their donors expect in return for their investment? We need to know this, since we can't afford more trillion dollar thank you notes to campaign backers," Palin said. She urged voters to "vet a candidate's record. You must know their ability to successfully reform and actually fix problems they're going to claim that they inherited." Even some "good conservatives" fail to be "honest and straight up with us about what needs to be done," she said. "They just talk vaguely about cuts and then they move on." But on entitlement reform, which she discussed at some length, Palin did not say "what needs to be done."
"See, the reality is we will have entitlement reform, it's just a matter of how we're going to get there," she said. "We either do it ourselves or the world capital markets, they're going to shove it down our throats." But without mentioning by name Social Security or Medicare, Palin said: "Entitlement reform must be done in a way that honors our commitment to our esteemed elders today, while keeping faith with future generations." She did not say how that might be done.
She panned the legislation to raise the debt ceiling, saying that "instead of making real cuts," Washington politicians "used Enron-like accounting gimmicks and they promised that if they were just allowed to spend trillions more today, well, they'd cut billions-ten years from now." But aside from repealing ObamaCare and general comments about "earmarks" and "waste" and the need to "prioritize and cut," Palin made no suggestions about what federal programs should be cut or eliminated. And despite railing against deficits and the national debt, she made no mention of the military budget or the vast network of bases our nation maintains around the world. Nor did she mention, save in a well-deserved tribute to our soldiers, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which she supported as a candidate for Vice President and which have added trillions to the national debt.
But she did speak at length about the "permanent political class" and how much things haven't changed since "Tea Party Americans won an electoral victory of historic proportions in November" of 2010.
"We've sent a new class of leaders to D.C. But immediately, the permanent political class, they tried to co-opt them," she said. "They talk endless(ly) about cutting government, and yet they keep spending more. They talk about massive unsustainable debt and yet they keep incurring more. The spend, they print they borrow, they spend more and then they stick us with the bill." And when Standard and Poor's lowered the country's credit rating, Congress and the President went on vacation, she said.
"No they don't' feel the same urgency that we do. But why should they? For them, business is good. Business is very good. Seven of the (nation's) ten wealthiest suburbs are suburbs of Washington, D.C." Noting that Obama's "hopey-changey stuff" hasn't moved an unemployment rate that is stuck above nine percent, Palin said, "There may not be a recession in Georgetown, but there is in the rest of America."
"The real hope comes from you," she told the Tea Party crowd. "Don't wait for the permanent political class to reform anything for you. They won't."
Photo of Sarah Palin: AP Images