By Erik Wasson
The audience at the Iowa Tea Party of America rally on Saturday chanted “Run Sarah, run!” but former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) still wouldn’t say if she will be a candidate for president.
Palin instead unleashed an attack on “corporate crony capitalism” which she says has flourished under President Obama. She asked the audience to question the current GOP presidential candidates about their donors and what they expect in return for election.
The former governor never mentioned specific Republicans by name, but she touted what she said was her successful battle against Big Oil in Alaska. This implicitly sets up a contrast with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the current GOP front-runner and a major advocate for his home state’s petroleum industry.
Nonetheless, Palin cried out, “Drill here, drill now!” at the rally, hardly an attack on the oil industry.
Palin also had a dig against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who chose her as his vice presidential running mate in 2008. She noted that someone had called Tea Party members “hobbits” during the debt-ceiling debate. McCain made this remark on the Senate floor in reference to Tea Party members who refused to accept the reality that their cuts-only legislation could not pass in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
“Hobbits ... couldn’t understand that one!” Palin said to cheers. She argued that if Congress had listened to the Tea Party and its massive cuts-only approach to the deficit, Standard and Poor’s would not have “humiliated” the United States by downgrading the rating on U.S. treasuries from AAA to AA+. She said the debt-ceiling deal had “Enron-like accounting gimmicks” in it that pushed spending cuts into the out years.
S&P in its downgrade also cited Republican unwillingness to raise any revenue to cover the fiscal shortfall, but this was not mentioned by Palin, who also tried to blame Obama for risking a default on U.S. obligations during the debt-ceiling crisis.
“And then there was this nonsense about maybe not sending Social Security checks,” she said. “It’s their money!”
Palin raged against wealthy Washington suburbs in her appearance in an Iowa field, and accused Obama of massive corruption by handing out stimulus funds to campaign donors.
“The term for that is pay-to-play,” she said.
The former governor added that Obama was backing such “harebrained” ideas as solar energy and high-speed rail.
“Venture capitalists will tell you they are non-starters,” she said. “All aboard Obama’s bullet train to bankruptcy.”
To end “crony capitalism,” Palin proposed eliminating the corporate tax altogether and making up for lost revenue by closing loopholes and ending bailouts. This goes far beyond the most ambitious tax-reform proposals the Republicans in Washington are talking about. The GOP would lower the corporate tax to between 20 percent and 25 percent in most proposals, down from 35 percent today.
The other jobs plans Palin backs are repealing Obama’s healthcare reform, rolling back regulations, returing power to the states and ending the national debt.
In comparison to her plan, she said, Obama is “adrift with no plan.”
“That hopey, changey stuff didn’t create one job in August, did it?” she said.