INDIANOLA, Iowa — As Sarah Palin ascended to the podium at the Tea Party of America’s “Restoring America” event today, the sun broke through the clouds and the grassy field vibrated with energy (and perhaps with the concert-quality sound system as well). It seemed like she was about to announce something.
She did not. After more than 30 minutes, she said “God bless you Iowa, God bless the United States of America” and walked off stage.
But her speech sounded a lot like a stump speech. She made frequent references to “my plan”: “My plan is a bona-fide pro-working man’s plan and it deals in reality. … My plan is about empowerment, empowerment of our states, empowerment of our entrepreneurs … empowerment of you, our hard-working individuals”
Her mention of the “challenge of who and what will replace” President Barack Obama brought the crowd to their feet.
Hundreds of people gathered at a hot air balloon field in Indianola for the rally, weathering on-and-off downpours ahead of Palin’s speech. She was preceded by about a dozen musical acts and speakers, including Iowa Tea Party chairman Ryan Rhodes, radio host Tony Katz and Los Angeles-based comedian Eric Golub.
The crowd chanted “Run, Sarah, run!” as she walked to the mic. They roared at various points during her speech, especially at the introduction of a couple new “Palinisms.”
About polls, she said, “they’re for strippers and cross country skiers.” She dubbed the president’s handling of the economy “Obama’s bullet train to bankruptcy.”
Much of her rhetoric focused on the summer’s debt debate, the county’s economic standing and Obama’s policies.
“We must repeal Obamacare,” she said. “No more runaway debt.” She asserted the need for “sudden and relentless reform” and called on the government to cancel unused stimulus funds.
Referring to her efforts to increase Alaska’s oil production during her term as governor, she said, it’s “time for America to become the real energy superpower.”
She proposed an end to the “hopey, changey stuff” that dominated the 2008 election. Of liberals, she asked the tea party activists if they were “willing to unite to not let them do it again to save out country?” The crowd overwhelming cried “yes.”
But she didn’t say that she’s the one to lead that push. Towards the end of her speech, she noted, “You don’t need a title to make a difference.”
Whether she was only talking about her supporters or also about herself remains to be seen.