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Sarah Palin at the Tea Party

A speech that Sarah Palin gave on Febrary 6, 2010, at the Tea Party convention.

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Palin: The Political Insider

  • Feb 8, 2010
  • by
I was the product of a competitive primary where running for governor, I faced five guys in the party, and we put our ideas and our experience out there on the table for a debate, and then we allowed—of course—the voters to decide. And that is a healthy process, it gives Americans the kind of leadership that they want and deserve. And so in 2010, I tip my hat to anyone with the courage to throw theirs in the ring, and may the best ideas and candidates win.
--Sarah Palin


In my write up on Sarah Palin I asked the question: "Is she running the Conservatives or are the Conservatives running her?"  I'm not entirely sure what to believe concerning Sarah Palin.  All I know for certain is that the more of a Conservative Celebrity she becomes, the more I keep hearing about her.  Her keynote address at the National Tea Party Convention actually made me wonder if I should begin to take her seriously as a candidate or not.  What I got from the speech was the same old same old stuff I've been constantly hearinig before.  That there are good patriots out there who feel Washingon has gone in the wrong direction, and that the Tea Party movement is a Grass Roots movement put together by "real" Americans (as if anyone who isn't a part of said movement isn't a "real" American).  The speech came off more as a giant Republican Talking Point than it did as anything else.  What I basically heard was how horrible and godawful the Democrats were.  If there's one common thing that comes out in many of these addresses it's always how bad the other political party is... but NEVER how GOOD your own party is.  It was pretty much the same thing here.  The only difference is that it was Sarah Palin talking and not the typical US Senator or Congressman. 

That's what people like about Palin, right?  That she's not your typical politico, yes?  Well, here's the thing you have to accept: She is.  As I said, her speech was basically a giant talking point.  That little quote I put up at the top was actually pulled directly from her speech.  She described letting the voters decide has a healthy process.  She said it "gives Americans the kind of leadership they want and deserve."  Now, with that in mind... I don't know about you, but what I'm pretty sure about is that Obama won the last election.  I'm pretty sure that's what happened.  In that case, America DID decide... Palin, among millions of others, did not like the decision.  As a result we see something like the Tea Party Movement.  The only real problem I have with the Tea Party is that they have this, "Let's take the country back," attitude when it was their country that decided to push us into this direction anyway.  It can't be "democracy" when you win and "tyranny" when you lose.  In short, I don't think Palin was talking about all of America.

It was, in essence, not that easy to take the speech seriously.  It felt more like a speech delivered more so to score political points.  Her speech began with unwavering praise for Scott Brown's win and Massachusetts.  She claimed that if there's hope in Mass. there's hope anywhere.  It was very touching to hear such a tribute to Brown, but it only played more toward the fact that the Tea Party Movement is a political movement and not a grass roots one. 

Palin then marched from Scott Brown into talking about the Christmas Day Bomber and National Security.  She complained that Obama isn't strong enough on National Security.  The only reason this comes off as a talking point is because I've been hearing it over and over and over again... some of it even word for word.  I thought the Tea Party Movement was a grass roots movement against big government spending.  Why then, am I hearing about Obama on National Security?  Even some Tea Party Members expressed confusion and disappointment when she was talking about Obama's Foreign Policy.  It's hard not to think that Sarah Palin is planning something in the future.  When a grass roots movement about big government spending is suddenly eclipsed by Palin making sure you know you can look to her for leadership... instead of talking about what the movement is really about.  It's hard not to think that Palin herself has been tainted by politics.  Her key note address felt more like a campaign speech.

Here's the thing about this speech that just seemed odd.  The first is that it is divisive in structure.  It's one big bash on the current administration, which I can deal with.  On the other hand it makes sure to disinclude anyone who may think differently.  And that's what is inherently flawed within the speech itself.  It was a good speech in terms of Sarah Palin's tone and poise, but the content was basically repeating what several Republican Congressmen, Senators and certain Conservative Pundits have already stated.  Again, the only difference was that it was coming from Sarah Palin's mouth.  This would actually be okay if it weren't for the fact that it's... Sarah Palin.  She's supposed to be that outsider looking in.  She's supposed to be "just like us."  In short, while she's getting on the backs of Politicos, blaming them for only being interested in their own careers and political futures, Sarah Palin has allowed the same sort of tainting to come onto her.  In short, she's not "just like us." 

I'm not expecting Palin to be "just like us."  As far as I'm concerned once you're in the public eye and the media is getting you for a story and you've signed a book deal worth seven figures and are being offered six figures to do a speech... you're a long way from being "just like us."  I'm not bothered by that.  What I AM bothered by is this constant cherry-picking of who is a real, true-blue (er... red) American.  Palin made it quite clear in this speech that if you're Conservative (not necessarily a Republican, just a Conservative) then this is your country and you should be allowed to have a voice and a say.  If you are Liberal (not necessarily a Democrat) then it's not your country.  Palin is presenting this idea that if you're anythiing other than a Conservative in support of the Tea Party Movement... then it's not your country.  There's just something strange about carryinig this label that you're the "All American Girl," and then immediately casting out those who do not share your view.  Palin neither conceeded that Conservatives made a few screw ups, nor did she put out there that this country belongs to every American... Left, Right and Center. 

Instead she resorted to using tried and true Republican talking points.  Doing things like saying how much Obama refuses to use the word "war" and that he's running around on an "apology" tour and how he's horrible with National Security etc. etc. etc.  These are all the same things that were being stated last year and were, for the most part, corrected by several sources... several times.  You can say 2+2=7 all you want but that won't exactly make it true.  The point is that while Palin was up there giving her speech, which she delivered with a lot of energy... I wondered when she was actually going to address and inform people of what the movement was really about.  Simply put, Palin is no longer your dear old "Political Outsider Looking in."  When you give a speech that is filled with this many talking points, and this much partisan divide you've become just like the people you've been propped up NOT to be.  Instead of being that Maverick, "Real American" outsider lookinig in, she instead did this as a gesture to energize her base, but didn't exactly provide room for compromise... something that Conservatives and the Tea Party Movement have desperately been seeking.

Her speech would've been fine and dandy... if that's the reason she was supposed to be there.  The speech felt more like she was gearing up for a campaign.  You know, take shots at your opponent.  And yes, Palin is very good at it.  Her speech has to be given credit for energizing her base.  Has to.  If this was the purpose of her speech.  Much of the content, however, should've been saved for say... a campaign run.  How exactly can you define the Tea Party Movement as a "Grass Roots, everyone is welcome," movement when your keynote speaker for the movement clearly states "You have a vision for the future—one that values conservative principles and common sense solutions."  That doesn't exactly sound like anyone can join the movement.

It is getting a little tiring to watch as Palin and many others iinvolved in the political realm (Left, Right and Center) just sit there trying to makre sure they're able to stick around a little longer.  Sarah Palin is an American woman, but she isn't "America" itself.  The country is a boiling pot of different cultures and beliefs.  The problem with Palin's speech is mostly that she paints this picture of those she represents as being "True" Americans and those who she doesn't represent as somehow being Un-American as though you must be a Conservative in order to be considered a "real" American.  This speech presented a lot of that.  It's hard to be bipartisan when you're out there giving a speech that's this... well... partisan.  The strange part is that Republicans keep complaining about how they're being ignored... the answer to being ignored isn't exactly to then start ignoring the other.  That doesn't get anything done.  The "Well, they did it too," argument hasn't worked for me since I was six years old.  You don't put out a fire with a fire

All this speech really presented was some of the same old talking points.  This is why I keep asking if perhaps Conservatives just propped her up to be their spokesperson.  If say... Dick Armey was there you'd probably hear pretty much the same points.  It's a political play more so than it is a speech for a grass roots movement.  I respect the Tea Party Movement and Sarah Palin, but the more I hear, the more it feels like the movement has confused "losing an election," with "losing the country." 

"The soul of this movement," Palin states, "is the people—everyday Americans who grow our food and run our small businesses, and teach our kids, and fight our wars. They’re folks in small towns and cities across this great nation who saw what was happening, and they saw, and they were concerned, and they got involved."  

This statement sounds good.  She even delivers it well in her speech.  These people she's speaking of can also be people who... well... spoke out in the last election by voting against her.  Some of these people may not necessarily be a part of the Tea Party Movement and may express themselves by choosing to vote against Conservativism in the next election.  Palin acted as though Massachusetts was this prophecy of what's to come, and that the Tea Party Movement is a prophecy that will spell certain doom for the current administration in 2012... if that's how Palin is going to look at it--as just a means of beating the other team--then is she embodying America or her own political security?  If it is to embody America then she's going to have to do it by not excluding half the nation and by not making it about clobbering the current administration.  If it's to ensure her own political security... then she can keep doing what she's doing.  And if she keeps doing what she's doing, then she's no longer a Washington outsider lookiing in.  She's now everything she was designed to stand against.

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February 11, 2010
I am a bit tired of reading about this woman but your write up is great enough to have me take a look. great review!
February 08, 2010
You bring up many, many interesting, and thought-provoking points here. Believe it or not, I use to be somewhat Team Palin. Even though I didn't agree with a lot that she had to say, I still found her admirable, but this speech has made me think differently and you're right, Sarah Palin just seems like any run-of-the-mill Republican politician, except packaged differently. I would've liked to see her moreso inspiring hope and change, in the way that Obama did, instead of mostly attacking the other party. I really hope she doesn't run in 2012 (wait, isn't that the apocalypse anyways? :P). Great review, Sean!
February 08, 2010
I like your review but I don't get what all of the hubub is about Sarah Palin. Nice Job Though.
More Sarah Palin Keynote Speech at ... reviews
review by . February 27, 2010
Sarah Palin's appearance at the National Tea Party convention was just another public display for the wing nut division of the Republican party.  She may not be all that bright or the sharpest knife in tray but she knows where her bread is butter as she continues to line her pockets whilst stumping for a rich political position.  The "Tea" party is a joke and they need to divert their energy to other things such as community service.  Why cry about taxes now?  …
Quick Tip by . February 10, 2010
I am sorry but I just cannot see how anyone truly believes that this woman has what it takes to be president. She's simply not intelligent.
About the reviewer
Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #7
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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On Febrary 6, 2010, Palin appeared as the keynote speaker at a Tea Party convention, declaring herself a supporter of the Tea Party movement, while saying it should be absorbed into the Republican Party. She stated:

This is about the people, and it's bigger than any one king or queen of a tea party, and it's a lot bigger than any charismatic guy with a teleprompter.
During her 40 minute speech, she attacked President Obama as soft on terrorists, out of touch, and elitist, and said the U.S. was ready for a revolution. She also called for the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder because he had authorized the giving of Miranda rights to Umar Abdulmutallab, the so-called Christmas Day bomber.  As Palin left the stage, the Tea Party conventioneers chanted "Run, Sarah, Run."  She was criticized for reportedly accepting a speaking fee of $100,000, but the event sponsor was prohibited by contract from discussing her fee and stated that speakers of Palin's quality require more than a handshake to appear.
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