Palin Sends Shot Across GOP Field's Bow in Fiery Iowa Speech

Palin Sends Shot Across GOP Field's Bow in Fiery Iowa Speech

By Scott Conroy - September 3, 2011

INDIANOLA, Iowa -- Sarah Palin still isn't a candidate, but in an aggressive bid to lay down her marker in the 2012 Republican presidential race, she delivered a speech here Saturday that was as confrontational toward the Republican establishment as it was aimed at President Obama.

Despite her high-profile endorsement of Rick Perry during his 2010 gubernatorial primary fight, Palin used thinly veiled language to leave little doubt that she sees the Texas governor and national front-runner for the Republican nomination as part of the problem.

“Some GOP candidates, they also raise mammoth amounts of cash,” Palin said. “We need to ask them, too: What, if anything, do their donors expect from their investments? We need to know this because our country can’t afford more trillion-dollar thank-you notes to campaign backers.”

Again and again, Palin urged her audience to confront “the permanent political class,” “crony capitalism” and “the good ol’ boys,” whom she said she took on as governor of Alaska.

“The challenge is not simply to replace Obama in 2012, but the real challenge is who and what we will replace him with,” the 2008 vice presidential candidate said before pausing a full 30 seconds to allow the cheers and chants of “Run, Sarah, run!” to finally dissipate.

“Folks, you know that it’s not enough to just change up the uniform,” she added. “If we don’t change the team and the game plan, we won’t save our country.”

On a soggy day that brightened a bit before she took the stage at a Tea Party of America rally, Palin argued that nothing gets done in Washington because of an ingrained “corrupt and compromised political class.”

“They’ve got a lot of mouths to feed, a lot of corporate lobbyists, a lot of special interests that are counting on them to keep the good times and the money rolling along,” Palin said. “It doesn’t surprise me. I’ve seen this kind of crony capitalism before.”

In a grand proposal that she said would create millions of high-paying jobs and lead to an “explosion of growth,” Palin called for the elimination of all federal corporate income taxes.

“To balance out any loss of federal revenue from this tax cut, we eliminate corporate welfare and all the loopholes and we eliminate bailouts,” she said. “This is how we break the back of crony capitalism because it feeds off corporate welfare, which is just socialism for the very rich.”

Event organizers had prepared for a larger crowd, which was likely limited a bit by the unforgiving weather, but somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 people appeared to be on hand for the outdoor event, likely the largest that the nation’s first voting state has seen so far this year.

“She needs to be president,” said Karen Lander of Latimer, Iowa. “People can understand her because she’s a common person. Whether she runs or not, she’s changing America. She’s a people’s candidate.”

Jill Jepsen of Oskaloosa, Iowa, said that she didn’t know if Palin would run but did not think it was too late for her to do so.

“She’s able to articulate the true passion she has for this country,” Jepsen said. “It’s so contagious. It sends shivers down your spine.”

Palin will attend another Tea Party rally in New Hampshire on Monday. She has suggested that she will decide by the end of this month whether to launch a presidential bid. 

Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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