Sarah Palin Continues To Tease Supporters In Largely Pointless Speech

Sarah Palin's much-anticipated Tea Party speech in Iowa was, in the end, much ado about nothing.

After all the hype that had been building up around it for the past several weeks, Sarah Palin’s speech to a Tea Party event in Indianola, Iowa didn’t really amount to much of anything, and continued to leave what’s left of her rabid supporters hoping for a Presidential campaign that seems less and less likely:

The 2,000 people who came from across the country to see Sarah Palin address a tea party rally here Saturday wanted one thing: To hear her say she’s running for president.

They didn’t get it.

These are the Palin die-hards — the supporters who remain convinced she will run, no matter the mounting conventional wisdom that she won’t.

They came on planes, in cars, on chartered buses. They wore “Palin 2012” T-shirts and buttons and hung a banner on a riser reading, “Run, Sarah … RUN!!! For Cubs, Country & Constitution.” They waited out an intense Midwestern summer storm that drenched the field, a little south of Des Moines, where Palin’s name had been mowed into the grass behind the stage.

Many say they haven’t even considered supporting another candidate, and will wait as long as Palin takes to make up her mind. Without her to vote for, some said they’d sit out the primary. Others refused to even consider the question.

Given all the pre-speech hype, and the announcement that the entire event had been moved to a larger venue in Indianola to accommodate turnout, a crowd of 2,000 people strikes me as all that impressive, especially on a holiday weekend. In any case, instead of providing any hints, or even acknowledging the shouts of “Run Sarah Run” one could hear, albeit not very loudly, on the C-Span feed of the speech yesterday, Palin instead choose to deliver a fairly bland speech hitting on the same tired talking points she’s been going over for three years:

Sarah Palin took sharp aim at President Barack Obama and at least one of her potential Republican rivals Saturday at a rain-soaked tea party rally in Iowa, the state that will open the GOP nomination fight early next year.

The former Alaska governor, speaking on the third anniversary of the Republican National Convention speech that transformed her into a conservative darling and global celebrity, did not announce a presidential campaign of her own.

But with a flurry of named and unnamed attacks against the president and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the GOP front-runner, Palin aggressively sought to define herself as a populist tea party outsider who would run against “the permanent political class” and “good ole boy politics as usual.”

“The status quo is no longer an option,” she declared to roughly 2,000 admiring supporters, some of whom traveled from as far as San Diego, Dallas and New Orleans for the rally.

Palin urged tea party activists to fight against President Obama and the “special interests” in Washington until “the permanent political class” is thrown out of power.

And for the first time, Palin outlined the makings of a five-point recovery plan for the nation’s flagging economy, albeit in very broad strokes.

Calling it a “pro-working man’s plan,” Palin rattled off a series of familiar and somewhat vague free-market proposals, such as repealing the Obama health care law, rolling back federal regulations, boosting domestic energy production and transferring more spending authority to state capitals.

Having actually watched the speech, I’ve got to say that I really don’t see the attacks on Rick Perry that many in the media read into it. She certainly didn’t mention him by name, and while the phrase “crony capitalism” can rightly be ascribed to many of the policies that Perry has implemented during his time as Texas Governor, it’s pretty clear that Palin was referring exclusively to the Obama Administration in this critique, and that’s how the crowd interpreted it. As for the “plan” it was really little more than a repetition of a bunch of conservative talk radio talking points, not the serious platform for a political campaign that some seem to think that it is.

As for her 2012 plans or ambitions, Palin continues to tease her supporters:

At a rope line after her 40-minute speech at the Tea Party of America rally here, she shrugged when asked whether late September is still her timeline for deciding whether to make a presidential bid.

“I’m still not ready to make any kind of an announcement,” Palin told The Des Moines Register as she signed autographs, including a handgun a tea party advocate told her was for an NRA benefit. “I’m still trying to figure it out, if it’s the right thing to do.”

This despite the fact that her unfavorable rating remains at an historic high, that three-quarters of Republicans don’t want her to run, and that even a pro-Republican polling firm shows her losing decisively in a head-to-head match up with the President.

Is Palin really crazy enough to run in such conditions? On some level, it’s beginning to look like many on the right don’t even care anymore. The immediate reaction to her speech from conservatives on Twitter was pretty negative, much of it reflecting the sentiments of this post from Ace Of Spades:

After the encouragement of interest, and the cultivation of speculation about what that “major announcement” might be, it was a very standard-issue and not-particularly-important or novel stump speech.

Some might find this sort of coyness and games-playing “brilliant” or the like. I don’t.

Some may claim she “played a trick on the media.” Yes, the media. And everyone else too.

(…)

Palin got lots of attention for a speech that turned out to be extremely bullet-point and frankly trivial.

I don’t consider this an achievement. I just consider it manipulative, and I don’t just laugh it off as playing a prank on the stupid media.

A lot of people traveled a very long way and sat out in the rain for something that was suggested just might be The Big Announcement. A lot of people watched on TV.

And what they saw was a no-brainer stump speech.

But it got people’s attention. And that, in the end, is all that Palin has been about for the two years that have elapsed since she quit her job to pursue a career as a political and media celebrity (think Kim Kardashian, but with a few one liners about economics thrown in). What Palin has noticed lately, though, is that with people actually running for President the intention is starting to slip away from here, hence she pulls stunts like this. It’s really all she’s got, though, because as Lexington Green notes, if she runs all of the good things about being a political celebrity go away:

Once she declares, she is ordinary, she is just another candidate. She has to debate and get in the cage with the rest of them. She would have to be prepared for that, and despite media claims, none of the other serious contenders are stupid, and beating them in debates will be hard. And then when she runs, and if she loses, as she probably will, then she’s done. The Palin phenomenon is over. I can see why she might want to put off that day. But if it is all about her ego, she should not be president anyway.

There are many reasons she should never be President, but that is certainly one of them.

There will be more speculation, of course, and more teasing of a possible announcement. But unless she actually throws her Caribou-hunting hat in the ring at some point, there’s going to be a point where Sarah Palin wakes up and notices that people aren’t really paying attention anymore.

If you’re inclined to watch it, here’s the speech:

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Politicians, Sarah Palin, Tea Party, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Justin says:

    How do I say this… If you think her speech was pointless, you simply were not listening. If you were listening, you are oblivious. And, calling us rabid, is not nice. Many of the people I met, ON THE GROUND IN IOWA, are Palin supporters. 2000 is a pretty large crowd, the largest, so far, of any candidate to speak in IA. I’d like you to compare that to Bachmann’s last crowd of 80. Her point by point plan was a serious political agenda. It made strong points that are more than talking points. She made a note of ending the corporte tax, something most politicians are tentative in talking about, and discussed her energy ideas. That, of course, is her experitise. if you think she is teasing while going into Iowa, and New Hampshire on Monday…. You’re just not paying attention. This is Sarah Palin, she isn’t you average everyday, run of the mill politician. Would you prefer Romney, Cain, Perry, Bachmann? Or maybe you just really really like Rick Santorum! I’d like to just persuade you to acknowledge the fact that Sarah Palin is changing hearts and minds. I’m from Missouri, and I can see the tides changing here in her favor. If you think any of these other circus clowns can win in a race against the Kenyan, you’re probably, once again, just not paying attention. Oh, By the way, you discredit yourself by quoting Ace Of Spades.

  2. Bleev K says:

    If you think any of these other circus clowns can win in a race against the Kenyan, you’re probably, once again, just not paying attention. Oh, By the way, you discredit yourself by quoting Ace Of Spades.

    Because, of course, you didn’t discredit yourself by calling Obama a Kenyan… Go back in your cage, please.

  3. Is Palin really crazy enough to run in such conditions?

    Her running is only crazy if you think she’s running because she wants to win. Her real goal is self promotion, which would make a run a perfectly rational move, especially for someone who’s made a career out of playing the martyr. She can run, lose, and then spend the next four years telling everyone how much better things would be is she had won.

  4. Gabby says:

    Comparing Sarah Palin to Kim Kardashian speaks to nothing except your own own bias and ignorance.

  5. michael reynolds says:

    @Gabby:

    Comparing Sarah Palin to Kim Kardashian speaks to nothing except your own own bias and ignorance.

    You are absolutely right. She’s much more of a Snooki.

  6. mike says:

    “much ado about nothing”…yep, that about sums her up IMO —- how people get excited about this person I will never understand —- how they will get excited enough to buy her book, stand in line to buy a ticket, go to a rally, donate money to her campaign, I blows my mind. Then again, I guess I can say this about Perry, Bachman, Obama, and a lot of others.

  7. Neill Fendly says:

    Palin has been on a self promoting financial agenda for many years. I have come to believe all of her efforts are not pointed to the presidency but rather to stay in the public eye. There are two kinds of politicians in this country, those thay play on the field and those that stand on the sidelines and throw rocks. Her resignation as Govenor of Alaska pretty much shows you where she wants to be and I will be shocked if she actually decides to run for President. She has done an excellent job of positioning herself and making a boatload of money at the same time.

  8. Argon says:

    narcissistic personality  noun Psychiatry
    a personality disorder characterized by extreme self-centeredness and self-absorption, fantasies involving unrealistic goals, an excessive need for attention and admiration, and disturbed interpersonal relationships (See also ‘Palin’).

  9. jukeboxgrad says:

    What Stormy said is exactly what I’ve been saying. Running and losing is much better for her career than not running. That’s why she’s running. She’s not doing it because she wants to be POTUS. She’s doing it because she knows that running and losing is her best career move right now.

    And she will be nominated, because the rest of the field is exceptionally weak, and because her supporters are maniacs.

  10. An Interested Party says:

    If you think any of these other circus clowns can win in a race against the Kenyan, you’re probably, once again, just not paying attention.

    And if you think that Caribou Barbie can beat the Kenyan, you’re delusional…

  11. WR says:

    @Gabby: Right. At least Kim Kardashian made a sex tape.

  12. ponce says:

    Looks like Palin’s so desperate she took out her Bumpit and adopted Michelle Bachmann’s hairstyle.

  13. anjin-san says:

    Palin’s fanboys are thrilled to get these handjobs from her, and they will happily pay for the privlege. I expect Palin has a good chuckle every time she reviews her bank statement.

  14. M. Bouffant says:

    a bunch of conservative talk radio talking points, not the serious platform for a political campaign that some seem to think that it is

    It seems to me that most of the Republican candidates think that radio talking points are a serious platform. Certainly their supporters haven’t done anything to disabuse them of this notion.

  15. m joseph shppard says:

    27 paragraphs in this one and 5 related recent articles. The depth of Mataconis’s obsession is scary. If Palin is so irrelevant, has no chance etc etc then why go to these ridiculous lengths to constantly run her down and ridicule her supporters?

    For his own mental balance perhaps he should go the route of the Washpo reporter and simply ignore her.

  16. m joseph shppard says:

    @anjin-san:
    Utterly childish and pathetic. That sort of infantile comment adds nothing to reasoned dialogue.

  17. michael reynolds says:

    @m joseph shppard:

    Utterly childish and pathetic. That sort of infantile comment adds nothing to reasoned dialogue.

    And yet it’s true.

  18. Christine says:

    And she will be nominated, because the rest of the field is exceptionally weak, and because her supporters are maniacs.

    This literally makes me want to vomit. But again all of the current GOP hopefuls make me sick.

  19. mike says:

    @An Interested Party: carribou barbie… now that just made my day – that was funny – i will have to remember that – good one

  20. Fiona says:

    La Diva Palin will play the game of will-she-or-won’t-she run to the very last minute possible because it keeps her in the spotlight without requiring much in the way of actual work on her part. By remaining on the sidelines, she avoids the debates that will show her off to be the queen of talking points without substance and alienate even more of the Republican base than she already has, while simultaneously sucking up as much attention as possible. Staying in the spotlight (and raking in cash) is all La Diva Palin cares about.

  21. WR says:

    @michael reynolds: Interesting conundrum there: Can something that is true also be said to add nothing to reasoned dialogue? Discuss.

  22. Richard Garrell says:

    Oh, what a great little website. Rampant PDS. I will have to save to my favorites.

    Sarah Palin Continues To Tease Supporters In Largely Pointless Speech

    Heh! Yet Doug couldn’t resist writing about such a pointless speech.

    This looks like this will be a fun place to hangout once Palin declares and enters the primary.

    Well, that is if you allow debate on this site. I guess I will find out.