In a sprawling speech that addressed everything from background checks to the Senate’s failure to pass a budget to Margaret Thatcher to the price of filling up a truck, Sarah Palin drew raucous applause on Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Full of shout-outs and theatrics, Palin capitalized on the adoration she has drawn from this audience for many years. In passage after passage, she lauded the Constitution and called on conservatives to find common ground in fighting the federal government, the mainstream press, and Beltway consultants.
At one point, she pulled a Big Gulp soda from under the podium and drank a bit of it. The audience loved it. “Shoot, it’s just pop with lo-cal ice cubes in it!” she said, to laughs.
Palin also regaled listeners with a look into Christmas at the Palins. (Palin is set to pen a holiday book later this year.) She said her husband, Todd, got her a metal gun rack for the back of a four-wheeler, and she gave him a rifle. “He’s got the rifle, I got the rack,” she said.
Battling the “permanent political class” was a central, rousing theme. “If we truly know what we believe, we don’t need professionals to tell us,” she said.
And she called on attendees to encourage their friends to run for office. “Are you mad as hell and think that you have a better way? Then run yourself!” she said.
“The last thing we need is Washington D.C. vetting our candidates,” she said, criticizing the GOP politicos who have had little success. And she referred to “the architects,” a none-too-subtle dig at Karl Rove, Stu Stevens, and others.
She wrapped up the speech with a call to action: “We deserve better than the people who call themselves our leaders,” she said. “But we won’t get it unless we’re ready to fight, and this is one fight that is worth it.”
As she left, she hoisted the Big Gulp soda at the crowd, drawing even more applause from the group that was already on its feet.