Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin addressed the first-ever Tea Party convention on February 6 in Nashville, Tenn. The next day, appearing on Fox News, Palin said it would be absurd to rule out a run for the presidency. “If I believed that that is the right thing to do for our country and for the Palin family, certainly I would do so.”Here are excerpts from her speech:
"I am a big supporter of this movement.… I look forward to attending more Tea Party events in the near future. It is so inspiring to see real people—not politicos, not inside-the-Beltway professionals—come out and stand up and speak out for commonsense, conservative principles."
"And today, I want to start off with a special shout-out to America’s newest senator. Thanks to you, Scott Brown. Now in many ways Scott Brown represents what this beautiful movement is all about. He was just a guy with a truck and a passion to serve our country. He looked around and he saw that things weren’t quite right in Washington, so he stood up and he decided he was going do his part to put our government back on the side of the people. And it took guts and it took a lot of hard work, but with grassroots support, Scott Brown carried the day. It has been so interesting now to watch the aftermath of the Massachusetts shout-out revolution."
"The White House blames the candidate. Their candidate. And Nancy Pelosi, she blamed the Senate Democrats. And Rahm Emanuel, he criticized a pollster. And yet again, President Obama found some way to make this all about George Bush.…"
"The only place that the left hasn’t placed the blame is on their agenda. So some advice for our friends on that side of the aisle. That’s where you’ve got to look because that’s what got you into this mess. The Obama/Pelosi/Reid agenda will leave us less secure, more in debt and under the thumb of big government that is out of touch and is out of date. And if Scott Brown is any indication, it is running out of time.…"
"Brown’s victory, it’s exciting and it’s a sign of more good things to come. A lot of great commonsense conservative candidates are going to put it all on the line in 2010. This year, there are going to be tough primaries. And I think that’s good. Competition in these primaries is good. Competition makes us work harder and be more efficient and produce more. I hope you will get out there and work hard for the candidates who reflect your values, your priorities, because despite what the pundits want you to think, contested primaries aren’t civil war. They’re democracy at work and that’s beautiful…"
"I caution against allowing this movement to be defined by any one leader or politician. The Tea Party movement is not a top-down operation. It’s a ground-up call to action that is forcing both parties to change the way they’re doing business, and that’s beautiful. This is about the people. And it’s bigger than any king or queen of a Tea Party. And it’s a lot bigger than any charismatic guy with a teleprompter.…"
"Many of us have grown even more uneasy about our administration’s approach to national security, the most important role ascribed to our federal government.… New terms used like "overseas contingency operation" instead of the word "war." That reflects a world view that is out of touch with the enemy that we face. We can’t spin our way out of this threat. It is one thing to call a pay raise a job created or saved. It is quite another to call the devastation that a homicide bomber can inflict a "manmade disaster." I just say, come on, Washington, if no where else, national security, that is one place where you’ve got to call it like it is."
"In that spirit, we should acknowledge that, on Christmas day, the system did not work. Abdulmutallab passed through airport security with a bomb and he boarded a flight hell bent on killing innocent passengers … the only thing that stopped this terrorist is blind luck and brave passengers…"
"What followed was equally disturbing after he was captured. He was questioned for only 50 minutes. We have a choice in how to do this. The choice was only question him for 50 minutes and then read his Miranda rights. The administration says then there are no downsides or upsides to treating terrorists like civilian criminal defendants. But a lot of us would beg to differ. For example, there are questions we would have liked this foreign terrorist to answer before he lawyered up and invoked our U.S. constitutional right to remain silent … like where exactly were you trained and by whom. You are bragging about all these other terrorists just like you, who are they? When and where will they try to strike next?…"
"Treating this as a mere law enforcement matter places our country at great risks because that is not how radical Islamic extremists look at this. They know we are at war. To win that war, we need a commander in chief, not a professor of law standing at the lectern."
"It’s that same kind of misguided thinking that is seen throughout the administration’s foreign policy decisions. Our President spent a year reaching out to hostile regimes, writing personal letters to dangerous dictators and apologizing for America, and what do we have to show for that? Here’s what we have to show. North Korea tested nuclear weapons and longer-range ballistic missiles. Israel, a friend and critical ally, now questions the strength of our support. Plans for a missile defense system in Europe, they’ve been scrapped. Relations with China and Russia are no better. And relations with Japan, that key Asian ally, they are in the worst shape in years.…"
"It’s time for some tough actions, like sanctions on Iran. And in places in the world where people are struggling and oppressed and they’re fighting for freedom, America must stand with them. We need a clear foreign policy that stands with the people and for democracy, one that reflects both our values and our interests … The lesson of the last year is this: Foreign policy can’t be managed through the politics of personality. And our President would do well to take note of an observation John F. Kennedy made once he was in office, that all of the world’s problems weren’t his predecessor’s fault.…"
"Washington has now replaced private irresponsibility with public irresponsibility. The list of companies and industries that the government is crowding out and bailing out and taking over, it continues to grow. First, it was the banks, mortgage companies, financial institutions, then automakers. Soon, if they had their way, healthcare, student loans. Today, in the words of Congressman Paul Ryan, the $700 billion TARP has morphed into crony capitalism at its worse. It is becoming a slush fund for the Treasury Department’s favorite big players, just as we had been warned about. While people on Main Street look for jobs, people on Wall Street, they’re collecting billions and billions in your bailout bonuses.… And everyday Americans are wondering, where are the consequences for their helping to get us into this worst economic situation since the Great Depression?"
"When Washington passed a $787 billion stimulus bill, we were nervous because they just spent $700 billion to bail out Wall Street. On the state level, as a governor, we knew a lot of that money came with fat strings attached. The federal government was going to have more control over our states. They were going to disrespect the 10th Amendment of our Constitution by essentially bribing us..…"
"Now, this was all part of that “hope” and “change” and “transparency.” And now a year later, I got to ask the supporters of all that, how is that hopey-changey stuff working out for you?.…"
"The list of broken promises is long. Candidate Obama pledged to end closed-door, sweetheart deals and no-bid contracts once and for all, but just last month his administration awarded a $25 million no-bid contract to a Democrat donor? Is that hope? Nope. It’s not hope."
"That’s the same old, same old in Washington, D.C. And instead of changing the way Washington does business, we got the Cornhusker Kickback and the Louisiana Purchase and millions of tax breaks for union bosses’ desires. The promised ban on lobbyists in this new administration? He handed out waivers left and right, and there are more than 40 former lobbyists who now work at the top levels in this administration. And these days, most members of Congress, they don’t get to read the bill before they have to vote on it, much less the pledge that a bill wouldn’t be signed into law before we all had five days to review it online."
"So, see, it’s easy to understand why Americans are shaking their heads when Washington has broken trust with the people that these politicians are to be serving. We’re drowning in national debt and many of us have had enough.… When our families, when our small businesses, we start running our finances into the red, what do we do? We tighten our belts and we cut back budgets. That is what we teach our children, to live within our means.…"
"But in Washington, why is it just the opposite of that? This week, they unveiled a record-busting, mind-boggling $3.8 trillion federal budget and they keep borrowing and they keep printing these dollars and they keep making us more and more beholden to foreign countries and they keep making us take these steps towards insolvency. Now what they are doing in proposing these big new programs with giant price tags, they’re sticking our kids with the bill. And that is immoral. That is generational theft. We are stealing the opportunities from our children…"
"Our government needs to adopt a pro-market agenda that doesn’t pick winners and losers but it invites competition and it levels the playing field for everyone. Washington has got, to across the board, lower taxes for small businesses so that our mom-and-pops can reinvest and hire people so that our businesses can thrive. They should support competition, support innovation, reward hard work…"
"And they should do all that they can to make sure that the game is fair without the undo corrupt influence. And then they need to get government out of the way. If they would do this, our economy, it would roar back to life and for instance on healthcare, we need bipartisan solutions to help families not increase taxes. Remember that red reset button that America through Secretary Clinton, she gave to Putin. I think we should ask for that back and hand it instead to Congress. And say, no, start all over on this healthcare scheme and pass meaningful, market-based reforms that incorporate some simple steps that have broad support. The best ideas, not back-room deals but insurance purchases across state lines and the tort reform that we’ve talked about."
"Washington should jump-start energy projects. I said it during the campaign and I’ll say it now, we need an all-of-the-above approach to energy policy. That means proven conventional resource development and support for nuclear power. And I was thankful that the President at least mentioned nuclear power in his State of the Union."
"But, again, we need more than words. We need a plan to turn that goal into a reality and that way we can pave the way for projects that will create jobs, those are real job creators and deliver carbon-free energy. And while we’re at it, let’s expedite the regulatory and permitting and legal processes for on and offshore drilling."
"Instead of paying billions of dollars, hundreds of billions of dollars that now are being sent to foreign regimes, we should be drilling here and drilling now, instead of relying on them to develop their resources for us. So what we’ve got to do is axe that plan for cap-and-tax, that policy is going to kill jobs and it’s going to pass the burden of paying for it onto our working families…"
"We have a vision for the future of our country and it is a vision anchored in time-tested truths. That the government that governs least, governs best. That the Constitution provides the best roadmap towards a more perfect union. That only limited government can expand prosperity and opportunity for all and that freedom is a God-given right and it is worth fighting for. And that America’s finest, our men and women in uniform, are a force for good throughout the world and that is nothing to apologize for."
"These are enduring truths and these enduring truths have been passed down from Washington to Lincoln to Reagan and now to you. But while this movement, our roots there, in our spirit, too, they are historic. The current form of this movement is fresh and it’s young and it’s fragile. We are now the keepers of an honorable tradition of conservative values and good works. And we must never forget that it is a sacred trust to carry these ideas forward…"
"Opponents of this message, they are seeking to marginalize this movement. They want to paint us as ideologically extreme and the counterpoint to liberal intolerance and outrageous conspiracy theorists aimed at our own government and unethical shameless tactics like considering a candidate’s children fair game.…"
"The best of America can be found in places where patriots are brave enough and free enough to be able to stand up and speak up and where small businesses grow our economy one job at a time and, like Reagan, we know that America is still that shining city on a hill. I do believe that God shed his grace on thee. We know that our best days are yet to come. Tea Party nation, we know that there is nothing wrong with America that together we can’t fix as Americans…"