Instead, she hit the usual "tea party" high notes about the dangers of a second Obama term and the perilous financial situation the country faces.
But in addition to those familiar themes, she also unleashed a high spirited attack on “corporate crony capitalism” and the “permanent political class.”
It was not lost on the crowd of about 2,000 that a certain Texas governor has spent most of his career in office and has been accused of rewarding his financial backers. That man, Rick Perry, is widely considered the current frontrunner for the nomination.
Sounding very much like a candidate, she proposed her own plan for economic recovery, including repealing “Obamacare,” focusing on energy independence by developing America’s natural resources, and putting an end to the federal corporate income tax. “This” she said, “is how we create millions of high-paying jobs.”
To offset the loss of government revenue, she said, she would “eliminate corporate welfare—the loopholes and bailouts.”
“Barack Obama promised to cut the deficit in half. Instead he turned around and tripled it,” she said. “Barack Obama is adrift,” she said at another point. “He doesn’t make sense.”
“Who wants to win the future by investing in hare-brained ideas” like “solar panels and really fast trains?” These, she said, are “non-starters . . . . All aboard Obama’s bullet train to bankruptcy.”
During her 40-minute speech, delivered an hour or so after the crowd had braved torrential rains, she was repeatedly interrupted by chants of “Run, Sarah, run.”
She did not so much as allude to a White House run in her speech. But afterwards, as she shook hands and signed hats, books and T-shirts on the rope line, she said she had not yet made a decision. She also refused to say whether she was directing her barbs about crony capitalism at Perry, though at a Conservatives 4 Palin meet-up on Friday night near Des Moines, many in the crowd -- about half of whom had traveled from Texas -- repeatedly used that phrase to describe their state’s chief executive.
“We need to make sure all our GOP candidates are fighting corporate capitalism and aren’t participating in it,” she said on the rope line. “We have a great opportunity to finally knock it down.”
Though her onstage remarks sounded very much like a stump speech, Palin also gave an impression that she was passing some sort of torch to the tea party adherents who are her most ardent fans.
“Real hope,” she said, “will come from you.”