Sarah Palin is reloading—again.
Returning to the gunplay-flavored rhetoric that has become a trademark, the prospective presidential candidate urged conservatives in Congress on Wednesday evening not to back down in the increasingly chaotic fight over raising the federal debt ceiling, even as the nation teeters closer to a possibly catastrophic default.
Interviewed on Sean Hannity’s program on Fox News, Palin also took a shot at the Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell, who is pushing for a legislative end-around that would force President Obama and Hill Democrats to assume almost sole political responsibility for raising the debt ceiling.
Palin, the former Alaska governor, said McConnell’s plan was tantamount to waving a “white flag.”
“We cannot default but we cannot afford to retreat right now either. Now is not the time to retreat, it’s the time to reload. And we reload with reality by giving facts and numbers to the American public so that those of us across the United States can start chiming in and letting our representatives know that we will not capitulate, we will not hand over more power, which I believe is unconstitutional, to President Obama to further manipulate our economy,” Palin said.
“Congress has the power of the purse strings. So this plan of McConnell’s, I think, makes no sense because it does cede power to our president and takes away that authority that is inherent in Congress to control the economic decisions that have to be made when it comes to debt.”
Palin is taking sides in what is growing into a factional fight that is splintering the GOP along its more traditional wings, represented by seen-it-all pragmatists such as McConnell, and its newer, more radicalized conservative members.
Those tensions came to a head Wednesday evening when a negotiation session between President Obama and congressional leaders ended acrimoniously. Both sides are seemingly deadlocked over issues concerning taxes, revenue, spending cuts and entitlement reforms.
Like many House Republicans, Palin said she isn’t convinced default would be as much as a calamity as the Obama administration, business groups, and multiple independent economists have suggested.
“I’m still not one to buy into this notion that we must incur more debt, we must increase the debt ceiling by Aug. 2, otherwise there will be catastrophe,” Palin said. “I still don’t believe that that’s necessarily the case.”
Palin argued that the U.S. treasury would have enough cash to pay its obligations and accused Obama of failing to prioritize those obligations. But Hannity noted that in August there would be less than $40 billion available after debt service and entitlement payments are made and the military is paid, saying there was a risk that government agencies such as the FBI and the CIA could be shut down.
Palin said government agencies could be “revamped.”
As for a presidential bid, Palin said that the “timeframe” for a decision is August or September. She was the subject of a Newsweek cover story this week in which she stated unequivocally that she believes she can win the Republican presidential nomination—and would wage an unconventional campaign.
Palin was widely maligned in the wake of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in January for her embrace of gun metaphors in her political discourse, including the use of a so-called “target map” featuring symbols that resembled gun sights to identify vulnerable Democrats. Polls have shown that the affair seemed to damage Palin politically among voters beyond her conservative base.
“The Undefeated,” a feature film that takes a highly favorable look at Palin’s rise to power in Alaska, premieres nationwide in select cities this week.