Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin blasted the country’s “permanent political class” and their “crony capitalism” — and while Palin did not use this afternoon’s speech in Iowa to jump into the presidential race herself, she did warn voters to survey the rhetoric and records of the current 2012 president candidates of her own party.
“Folks, you know that it’s not enough to just change up the uniform,” Palin said. “If we don’t change the team and the game plan we won’t save our country.”
Palin spoke for 40 minutes and spent a good chunk of her address outlining what she said were her own “real solutions” to the country’s economic problems. “My plan is a bona fide pro-workin’ man’s plan and it deals in reality,” she said. “It deals in the way the world really works.”
Palin’s chief economic proposal: total elimination of the corporate income tax.
Palin ridiculed the country’s political elite and praised what she called the “sleeping America” that awakened and became the Tea Party movement.
“You got up off your couch. You came down from the deer stand. You came out of the duck blind. You got off the John Deere and we took to the streets and we took to the town halls and we ended up at the ballot box,” Palin said. “And as much as the media wants you to forget this ‘Tea Party’ Americans won an electoral victory of historic proportions in November.”
Palin briefly rebuked 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who picked her as his running mate, for publicly reciting a Wall Street Journal editorial that criticized Tea Party activists as “hobbits.”
Today’s rally was organized by an Iowa-based group called “Tea Party of America” but the event drew people from many other states who sat through a midday downpour, waiting for Palin to speak. John Vaughan of Dallas, Texas, traveled to Iowa for the weekend and he’s hoping Palin jumps into the presidential race.
“It’s up to her,” Vaughan said. “Until she says yes, I’m just going to support her.”
Carolyn Cox of Council Bluffs describes herself as a “zealous” supporter of Palin. Cox and a friend made “Palin ’12″ t-shirts Friday night and wore them to event. Cox is convinced Palin will run.
“I’m banking on it,” Cox said, adding a few seconds later she’ll have to resort to “Plan B” if Palin doesn’t.
Larry Clayton of Ankeny started attending Tea Party rallies in 2009 and voluntarily described himself as a “Sarah Palin supporter” during an interview before Palin’s speech.
“The main reason is I’m 65 now and I grew up in the ’50s and the country is nothing like it was back. It’s not nearly as safe or happy or secure,” Clayton said. “It’s not what I went to Vietnam for, to see this happen. I’m very, very concerned.”
Marcey McMullan of Boone said it appears to her the “curiosity” about Palin as a presidential candidate is “peaking” and now may be the best time for Palin to jump into the campaign.
“I’m like many Americans. I have not been politically active, but in recent years I just have a great concern where our nation’s going,” McMullan said. “I feel like right now we might be on our knees and it’s time to get back up.”
Peter Singleton, a California lawyer, has been spending most of his time in Iowa for the past eight months, organizing what he calls a “grassroots network” for a Palin campaign.
“I think it’s a great event, rain not withstanding,” Singleton said. “The venue’s fantastic. The program’s fantastic.”
The venue was an outdoor field just outside Indianola, used as the launching pad for hot air balloons during the city’s annual balloon festival. Saturday’s crowd started filing into the venue mid-morning, armed with lawn chairs, umbrellas and rain slickers to endure the midday downpour. While Palin spoke the weather was mostly clear, with just a few occasional drops falling as the sun tried to break through the clouds.
Listen to Palin’s speech by following this link.