This weekend in Washington DC Sarah Palin got the Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference in an uproar with a speech full of red meat for her conservative audience. There was a lot going on over the weekend, and many popular national Republicans got a chance to make an impression with the important subgroup of the Party base. Marco Rubio was friendly, Jeb Bush was polished, Mark Sanford was awkward, Donald Trump was out of place, and many other familiar faces delivered great comments over the weekend. What seemed to me to be the two most important moments of the weekend however, came first, when Rand Paul delivered his “War on Christianity” speech calling for the worldwide defense of Christianity, and second, when Sarah Palin delivered her blistering speech.
Rand Paul’s speech, in my opinion, delivered one of the most important foreign policy messages by a Republican politician since 20011. Since I have already written about that here, I won’t spend anytime rehashing that over the next few paragraphs – other than to say, wow, it was powerful.
I want to spend some time discussing the other speech given at the Faith and Freedom Conference that I would argue could be of monumental importance to the Republican Party and to our country in general. Sarah Palin has been known to give some fiery speeches in her time–she is no shrinking violet–and she can command a room with the best public speakers out there. What separates Palin from other great speakers, however, is her ability to inspire them in ways that others cannot; in fact, some say her ability to connect to a crowd is reminiscent of a prominent politician who resides in the White House.
Her speech was pretty far ranging, and she took time to hammer the administration over several of its many blunders.
Two things in particular stood out to me in her speech. First, she mentioned how she was now listening to the Libertarian wing of the Party–ostensibly to me, this means Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and several others who have recently emerged as leading voices in the Party against this administration. She also particularly leveled her fire at the Republican Party leadership that the Libertarian wing was railing against – “I’m listening to those independents, to those Libertarians who are saying, you know, it is both sides of the aisle, the leadership.” Who is this leadership? The men that the Libertarians have been running into at every turn: Lindsey Graham, John McCain, John Boehner, et al. Sarah Palin has just chosen sides and she is letting America know that the old guard leadership has got to go, and the Party needs to start following these new ideals-oriented young Libertarians.
Just in case you weren’t sure exactly who Palin was talking about when she says who she’s listening to, she clarifies for us: “Now, you know what I wish the Congress would do, be it just for a week, perhaps? Just put themselves on Cruz control – Ted Cruz control.”
“Conservative’s L-O-V-E Sarah Palin.” The sheer joy on the faces of the folks in the crowd during her speech along with the responses she gets to her attack lines…it’s like watching a rock star perform. Her embrace of the Libertarian wing of the Republican Party could be monumental. If the biggest star of the conservative branch of the Party is willing to get chummy with the likes of Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Justin Amash, it could lend them a lot of credibility. Imagine the Evangelical wing of the Party saying, “If Sarah Palin can trust them, then they can’t be all that bad. Let’s see what they’re saying…”
Palin’s support could change the dynamic within the Party and turn some currently reticent social conservatives toward the rising tide of the Libertarian Republicans.
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