During a speech in Iowa tonight, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin lambasted the GOP establishment and told hundreds of Christian conservatives it was time to “stiffen our spines” for the 2014 elections.
“I want to encourage you to make your voice heard, to hold politicians accountable,” Palin said. “…Get involved with those independent, patriotic, grassroots Tea Party movements that are standing up for the right values for America.”
AUDIO of Palin’s speech
Palin was the closing speaker at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual fall banquet and her appearance helped spur record attendance. Near the beginning of her 33-minute speech Palin mentioned her new book, “Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas.”
“I say in a very jolly, Christmassy way, ‘Enough is enough,'” Palin told the crowd in Des Moines. “I say enough is enough of this politically correct police out there that is acting to erode our freedom to celebrate and exercise our faith.”
But the bulk of Palin’s speech was focused on the nation’s current political climate. Her sharp attack on Republicans in congress who voted in October to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and reopen the government drew thunderous applause from the crowd.
“They promised that they would do everything in their power to fight against socialized medicine, against ObamaCare, but when it came time to stand and defund it, they waved the white flag of surrender and they threw under the bus the good guys who did stand up and fight for us,” Palin said, as the crowd started to cheer,” senators like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee.”
Utah’s first-term senator, Mike Lee — the evening’s other featured speaker — got his biggest burst of applause from the crowd when he called for repealing “ObamaCare,” but Lee stressed it was important for Republicans to offer up “market-based alternatives” that could replace it if the G-O-P hopes to have success at the polls in 2014.
“Frustration is not a platform. Anger is not an agenda and outrage, as a habit, is not even conservative,” Lee said in his speech.
AUDIO of Lee’s speech
Lee suggested his party must embrace an “anti-cronyism” agenda that eschews big government and big business and, instead, helps the middle class be upwardly mobile.
“One could say there’s a gaping hole right in the middle of the Republican Party today…this gulf that separates the grassroots of the party and the conservative movement from the more establishment leaders,” Lee said. “I’m convinced that this hole is precisely the size and precisely the shape of a unifying conservative reform agenda.”
For many in the crowd, tonight was their first opportunity to hear Lee and Lee did not directly mention the 16-day partial government shutdown as Republicans in congress tried to “defund” then delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act. However, Steve Scheffler, president of the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition that hosted tonight’s event, emphasized Lee’s stand to try to defund “ObamaCare.”
“You and I are desperately looking for leaders who have some backbone, who are willing to take the arrows,” Scheffler said, to applause from the crowd.
Phil Arnold of Grinnell, Iowa, sat with a small band of people who were part of a 2011 “draft” movement encouraging Palin to run for president in 2012.
“Right now I’m not pushing for her to run (in 2016),” Arnold said. “If she runs, I’ll support her, but I think what she’s doing now is wonderful. I think she’s done more than her fair share for the country.”
If Palin does run, Alice Guisinger of Waukee would support Palin in the Iowa Caucuses.
“I think she’s a strong voice for the conservative movement,” said Giusinger. “…We need a strong speaker and somebody that’s convicted to what we need done — to straighten this country out.”
Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly received an award from the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition tonight. She told the crowd her work toward defeat of an Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution shows “a little group of grassrooters can take on the whole establishment and beat ’em all.”