Sarah Palin continues to hold this week’s news cycle hostage, giving what sounded suspiciously like a campaign speech to a crowd at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans. Dressed in her signature red blazer, Palin evoked the “people’s movement” in a speech that was a minefield of Bushisms, Bill Clinton impersonations, a shoutout to Jonah Goldberg, and her most biting attacks on Barack Obama yet.
There is a lot going on in this speech , which is to be expected the week after she waged war on LL Cool J and unofficially declared her intentions to run for the 2012 GOP nomination alongside Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (her official statement to Sean Hannity was “that sounds kinda cool”). Here’s all you need to know to wade through the upcoming primetime media firestorm:
- By far the sharpest criticisms of Obama were about foreign policy, probably in part due to the fact that Obama dismissed Palin as “not much of an expert” in the field. Besides criticizing him for his attempts at softening the embargo on Cuba and giving “gold stars and cookies to the Sudanese president,” she noted that his alleged incompetence was to be expected given his “vast nucular experience” from being a community organizer and US Senator. Wonkette‘s Jim Newell points out, that half-time gig in the Senate actually did give Obama some experience, so expect MSNBC to harp all over this quote for its substance as much as for its early 2000s style.
- Palin heavily reappropriated Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan, “yes we can,” throughout the speech to mean all sorts of conservative doomsday policies: “yes we can kowtow to enemies,” “yes we can dither,” “yes we can spend money we don’t have on programs we don’t need,” concluding that “just because we can does not mean that we should.” It was, especially for Palin, great wordplay.
- She didn’t learn her lesson about violent rhetoric the first time around, repeating her instruction to conservatives: “don’t retreat, reload,” but this time with the disclaimer that “that is not a call to violence.” No specifics on how “reload” is not violent imagery.
- She stressed the importance of energy policy, noting that “there is an inherent link between energy and security… energy and freedom.” She also comically recalls, perhaps unintentionally, a major Bush-era item during her explanation of Obama’s energy policy, claiming the only thing missing from the announcement of increased offshore drilling was “the soundtrack from Top Gun and Joe Biden in a flight suit.” Sound familiar? Not to mention that any Top Gun reference is an instant reminder that earlier this week, Maverick of Mavericks John McCain denied ever adopting the moniker Palin clung onto so forcefully during their run for the White House.
In the middle of her explanation of how big government develops, she concludes, in a manner that can only be described as campaign-y, that “government overreach did not begin with the Obama administration, but it will end with the Obama administration.” The goal of this speech was two-fold: to announce the arrival of presidential candidate Sarah Palin to the Republican Party and to intimidate Barack Obama into taking her seriously. She passed at least one of these tests today with flying colors.
Watch her speech below:
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