November 22, 2010 -- On almost every issue -- from the economy to social policy to civil rights -- Sarah Palin offers a full-throated critique of President Barack Obama in her new book, casting herself as a "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" character drafted by the American people to take on the president and other conservative foes.
In the book, "America by Heart: Reflections on Faith, Family and Flag," which goes on sale Tuesday, Palin accuses Obama of misunderstanding the American people.
"The epitome of progressive thinking was Barack Obama's promise, just before the 2008 election, that 'we are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America,'" Palin writes in the book, a copy of which was obtained by ABC News. "I guess you could say that he warned us! But the problem is that Americans don't want a fundamental transformation of their country."
She quotes Obama throughout her 269-page book, at one point giving the president's 11-year-old daughter, Malia, credit for unwittingly asking her father an incisive question during the Gulf oil disaster: "Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?"
"Who among us hasn't had the experience of a simple question from an innocent child bringing our ego crashing back to earth? Of course Malia's daddy hadn't 'plugged the hole' -- because doing so was beyond his capability, even as the most powerful man in the world," Palin writes. "But as Americans, Malia's sweet question should also remind us that we're not children, and President Obama is not our father."
Palin portrays herself as a modern-day Jefferson Smith, the character played by Jimmy Stewart in the iconic film, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," which she says is her favorite movie.
"Americans love 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' because it's about an ordinary man who stands up to power and says, 'We're taking our country back,'" she writes.
Palin draws on an eclectic mix of source material, quoting from the Bible, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, speeches of President Calvin Coolidge and John F. Kennedy, lines from movies like "The Incredibles" as well passages from the works of the economist Milton Friedman and the ancient philosopher, Plato.
Palin Takes on Obama, First Lady
Like her own path to stardom, Palin straddles the border between politics and entertainment, delivering a lengthy explication of American exceptionalism, railing against the Fox television show, "American Idol," praising "Mama Grizzly" politicians like South Carolina's Nikki Haley, Minnesota's Michele Bachmann, New Hamsphire's Kelly Ayotte and celebrating the movie "Juno" as a film with a redeeming moral message about abortion.
"A European movie might have had Juno get her abortion in the opening scene and then spend the next hour and fifteen minutes smoking cigarettes and pondering the meaning of life. It would have been depressing and boring," she writes. "Not here. Americans want to be entertained, but we also want to see people do the right thing, even when it's hard and there is no prospect of being rewarded."
But from cover-to-cover, she never backs away from her critique of President Obama, writing in a chapter titled "Are We Really the Ones We've Been Waiting For?" that "there is narcissism in our leaders in Washington today."
"There's a quasi-religious feeling to the message coming from them. They are trying to convince us that not only are they our saviors, but that we are our saviors – not hard work, not accomplishment, just 'believing in ourselves' and what we can accomplish together through government," she notes. "I believe in a humbler, less self-involved America."
Palin does not spare First Lady Michelle Obama either, criticizing her for comments she made on the campaign trail in 2008, saying that for the first time in her "adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country."
"Certainly his wife expressed this view when she said during the 2008 campaign that she had never felt proud of her country until her husband started winning elections," Palin writes. "In retrospect, I guess this shouldn't surprise us, since both of them spent almost two decades in the pews of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's church listening to his rants against America and white people."
No Love Lost for Levi Johnston
She weaves in references to literature (Alexis de Toqueville's "Democracy in America," the poems of Emily Dickinson), film ("The Forty Year Old Virgin" and "Saving Private Ryan") and political figures she admires (she quotes liberally from Ronald Reagan).
But the book is unmistakably a political work designed to fire up her base -- in particular, members of the Tea Party movement with whom she has sought to associate herself.
"The mainstream media has been working overtime to portray these Americans as angry and bigoted. But I look out and see happy faces – faces of all ages, genders, and hues," Palin writes, noting that her own aunt and uncle have participated in Tea Party events. "I realized that the Tea Partiers are my uncle Ron and aunt Kate: normal Americans who haven't necessarily been involved in national politics before but are turned on to this movement because they love America and they don't like what they see happening to her."
Although Palin writes at length about the joys of her large family -- she calls them "her true north" -- she does not shy away from the private dramas that have become fodder for entertainment magazines and gossip columns.
Palin mentions her daughter Bristol's ex-boyfriend, Levi Johnston, in less than flattering terms.
"We all had to bite our tongues -- more than once -- as Tripp's father went on a media tour through Hollywood and New York, spreading untruths and exaggerated rhetoric. It was disgusting to watch," she writes.
Palin also warns of the danger of "American Idol," writing that contests are "self-esteem-enhanced but talent deprived performers" who "eventually learn the truth."
"After they've embarrassed themselves for the benefit of the producers, they are told in no uncertain terms that they, in fact, can't sing, regardless of what they have been told by others."
She does not, however, reach the same conclusion about Bristol, who is a finalist on the ABC's dance competition, "Dancing With the Stars." Her mother calls Bristol a better role model than the 1990's television character, Murphy Brown.
Palin: No 'Morning in America'
"Which is the more courageous course for a young, single mother: to sit down and shut up and avoid the critics," Palin writes, "or to speak out in a painfully honest way about how tough single parenting is? I'm biased of course, but given a choice of role models between Bristol and Murphy Brown, I choose Bristol."
In the final pages, Palin returns to her appraisal of President Obama's leadership, asserting that he holds an "average-to-below-average view of our country."
"We have a president, perhaps for the first time since the founding of our republic, who expresses his belief that America is not the greatest earthly force for good the world has ever known," she writes.
Borrowing a quote from Ronald Reagan, Palin concludes that "a new morning in America hasn't broken over the Capitol dome."
"As hard as I campaigned for him not to be president, I shared the feeling of almost desperate hope that many other Americans felt. Like them -- like you -- I love my country and I want it to succeed," she writes. "We're not succeeding in Washington. America is losing her way there; losing the sense of herself as an exceptional nation."