Sarah Palin arrived to a packed house in the farm-themed “Machine Shed Restaurant” in Urbandale, IA Friday night. The ever-amassing crowd began arriving at about 6:30 p.m. to congregate and socialize with fellow “Palinistas” from across the country. Supporters stood around talking and catching up, many long time online-friends were meeting for the first time in person. The atmosphere was more like a family reunion than a political gathering. There were children playing, doting parents, young professionals, and the elderly maneuvering through the crowd with the assistance of canes. I encountered people like myself and my family, who had driven in from Dallas, TX, those who had flown in from Virginia, some who hailed from Florida, Georgia natives, Iowa hometown fans, and even a woman from the president’s neck of the woods, Hawaii.
The meet and greet went on for an hour and a half when the front entry way suddenly began to buzz. When the camera crews darted for the doors, all eyes turned to see that those “Guess who’s coming to dinner” rumors were true…Sarah was in the building. She had a twinkle in her eye as she greeted those whose lucky positioning had placed them in the right place at the right time. She shook hands and held mini-conversations with her loyal supporters. She asked people where they were from and asked about their families…and she waited for the answers.
I spent some time with the Governor, but it was my 4 year old daughter who got Sarah’s attention that day.
When I introduced her to my daughter, Sarah had genuine adoration on her face. She asked my daughter her name. She was shy, so I answered, “Etta.” She said, “Ooh, that’s a pretty name, Etta! How old are you?” Etta spoke up then and told her that she was 4. I told Sarah that Etta had been asking if she could play with “Hyper.” And with that Sarah laughed, looked at Etta and said, “We call her ‘Hyper Piper’ too!” We chatted for a moment or two more, before she was beckoned away.
Palin continued to make her way through the crowd to the dining room which was already full. She worked the room and visited with those who had come out to join together to support her in her endeavors. Unlike the typical “politician,” Palin held real conversations with those present.
Take Lynda Armstrong, for example, who made the trip from Roswell, New Mexico. Lynda will be giving a couple of presentations in the coming weeks, one to the Toastmasters and the other to a Women’s Republican Club in Roswell. She met with Governor Palin who took the time to look at her outline and was impressed with her accuracy. “She actually took the time to look over what I put together, and seemed very interested in the parts of my outline that referenced her record as governor, and why she left.” Lynda said, “That’s one the highlights of my presentation because many of the people I meet are still unaware of her outstanding accomplishments as Governor.”
Perhaps the most outwardly and permanently supportive Sarah Palin fan of the evening was 64 year old Eric Pierce, of Burleson, TX. Pierce rode in with us on the Texas 4 Palin bus from Dallas, coordinated by Del Parker. Pierce asked Governor Palin to autograph his forearm when he chatted with her in the restaurant. He says she asked why and he explained to her that he planned to have her autograph tattooed on his arm that night. According to Pierce, Palin said that she’d be honored. She will forever have the honor of holding a special place on Pierce’s arm because he held true to his word. Accompanied by a few other Organize 4 Palin members for support, he found a late-night tattoo parlor in what he says was “not a real smooth part of town” and had Palin’s John Hancock “inked in” his forearm. Ouch!
Saturday morning saw the arrival of even more Palinistas to Indianola for the Restoring America Event, featuring Governor Sarah Palin as the keynote speaker. They began arriving around 6:30 a.m. At that point the weather was great. As the morning wore on, they felt a sprinkle or two. And around 11 AM it started raining, and raining, and raining. One might have assumed that there would have been a mass exodus. But to the contrary, those who came prepared with a poncho donned the vinyl suits. Those with umbrellas held them high. Those who could fit, huddled under one of several open tents for shelter. And those who did none of the above just put on their best patriotic smiles, awaiting the arrival of the keynote speaker, Sarah Palin. The crowd was so dedicated that many of the people stood in the torrential downpour. All of those I asked quickly forgot about how soaked they were when Sarah Palin took to the stage. They repeatedly interrupted her with chants of “Run, Sarah, Run!” and “Sa-rah, Sa-rah!”
“We’re not celebrating red America or blue America! We’re celebrating red, white and blue America!” said Palin of a conversation she and husband Todd Palin had after leaving supporters at The Machine Shed in Urbandale, Iowa the previous night. She spoke about some of her own experiences, referring to the “sudden and relentless reform” she brought about during her tenure as Governor of Alaska early on in the speech. Those who don’t follow Palin closely may not realize that one of the sections of the documentary, The Undefeated, was called ‘Sudden and Relentless Reform’.
As the speech went on, a very notable correlation was drawn between the person Sarah Palin thinks is needed to restore America and the one she just described as having fought crony capitalism in Alaska since entering public service 20 years ago. Palin began to describe what she believes is needed in this way, “It’s not enough to change uniforms. If we don’t change the team and the game plan, we won’t save our country…we need sudden and relentless reform…and that requires deeds not just words.”
Palin has been criticized in the past as being simply a political celebrity, not qualified to run the country, and someone lacking a real plan. On the 3rd anniversary of her famous RNC speech accepting the Republican Vice Presidential nomination, Sarah Palin sought to put those criticisms to rest. She gave a hard hitting speech which hit on some of what she calls “real reform” and was able to accomplish during her tenure as Governor. She spoke about her years as a public servant and highlighted her specialized experience in the energy sector, while at the same time contrasting that with what she says are failed policies of the current administration. And finally she laid out a five point plan of “real solutions” and “the way forward.”
Palin explained, “We’re going to speak truth today. It may be hard hitting, but we’re gonna speak truth today. Because we need to start talking about what hasn’t worked and we’re gonna start talking about what will work for America…So let’s talk about real solutions.” She went on to say “I wanna tell you what my plan is!”
With those eight words, Palin announced what many believe is the beacon of hope for America; the staple of a potential Presidential campaign, her plan.
1st Let’s enforce the 10th Amendment! Devolve powers back locally where the founders intended them to be.
2nd We must repeal Obamacare and reign in burdensome regulations that are a boot on our neck. Let the private sector breathe and grow.
3rd We must prioritize and cut. Cancel unused stimulus funds and have that come to Jesus moment where we own up to the debt challenge that is entitlement reform. The status quo is no longer an option. Entitlement reform is our duty now and it must be done I n a way that honors our commitment to our esteemed elders today while keeping faith with future generations.
4th It is time for America to become the energy super power. The real stimulus that we’ve been waiting for is robust and responsible domestic energy production. We have the resources. Affordable secure energy is the key to any thriving economy and it must be our foundation. Drill here, drill now, let the refineries and the pipelines be built stop kowtowing to foreign countries and dictators… We need to move on tapping our own God given resources that are part of our reserve. I promise you this will bring real job growth. There are enough…projects just waiting in the wings, waiting for government approval that could create more than a million high paying jobs all across the US and this is true stimulus. America’s economic revival starts with America’s energy revival.
5th To make America the most attractive and competitive place to do business, to set up shop here, and hire people here, to attract capital from all over the globe that will lead to an explosion of growth instead of chasing industry offshore. I propose to eliminate all corporate income tax, and hear me out on this…this is how we create millions of high paying jobs, this is how we increase opportunity and prosperity for all. But here’s the best part to balance out any loss from this tax cut we eliminate corporate welfare and all the loopholes and we eliminate bailouts. This is how we break the back of crony capitalism because it feeds off corporate welfare which is just socialism for the very rich. We can change all of that. The message then to job creating corporations is that ‘yeah we’ll unshackle you from the world’s highest taxes, but you stand or fall on your own just like all the rest of us out on Main Street.
Let us seek that hand once more…We will fight for freedom, we will fight for America. We are at the tipping point. United we must stand and we shall nobly save, not meanly lose this last best hope on Earth!
In the end, Jelayne Sessler, of Texas Organize 4 Palin, walked away with what she described as an “amazing speech” by the Governor. “In my opinion, it was the platform for her upcoming campaign, as I believe an announcement is imminent.” When compared to those already in the Republican field, Sessler thinks a Palin administration would be “a completely different approach,” adding that Palin is known for “exposing corruption in her own party,” something she believes the other candidates “would not do.”
As she exited stage right, Tea Party of America’s Judd Saul took us back stage for the final moments with the Governor. She made sure to spend some time with a few men in uniform before she and Todd got into their black SUV and rode away. But I had one final question that I just had to ask. I had to know if all the critics and haters in the media were having their desired effect on her, or, as I suspected, was it actually having an opposite effect and making her want to fight back even harder? She put her pen down, her eyes brightened up, a smile spread across her face and in her usual feisty manner that so many have come to love, she said “Heck ya! That’s that independent Alaskan, pioneering, fighting spirit pushing back!”
She didn’t say the words, but in what she did say and the excitement with which she said it, I swear I could almost hear her recite a line from one of her famous speeches:
“Mr. President, Game On!”