Palin’s Tax Day Tea Party Speech, Madison, Wisconsin, April 17, 2011
(Note: a reader is offended
by my remark about Palin’s voice and says it “reeks of sexism.”)
If, like me, you have trouble listening to Sarah Palin’s screechy voice, you may prefer reading the text of the speech instead, which a reader just sent:
Hello, Madison, Wisconsin! You look good. I feel like I’m at home. This is beautiful. Madison, I am proud to get to be with you today. Madison, these are the frontlines in the battle for the future of our country. This is where the line has been drawn in the sand. And I am proud to stand with you today in solidarity.
- end of initial entry -
I am here today as a patriot, as a taxpayer, as a former union member, and as the wife of a union member. What I have to say today I say it to our good patriotic brothers and sisters who are in unions. I say this, too, proudly standing here as the daughter of a family full of school teachers. My parents, my grandparents, aunt, cousins, brother, sister—so many of these good folks are living on teachers’ pensions, having worked or are still working in education.
A pension is a promise that must be kept. Now, your Governor Scott Walker understands this. He understands that states must be solvent in order to keep their promises. And that’s what he’s trying to do. He’s not trying to hurt union members. Hey, folks, he’s trying to save your jobs and your pensions! But unfortunately some of your union bosses don’t understand this, and they don’t care if union members have to be laid off. No, they want to protect their own power, and if that means forcing a governor to lay off union workers, then so be it; they’ve proven that is fine with them. But that’s not real solidarity! Real solidarity means coming together for the common good. This Tea Party movement is real solidarity!
Well, I am in Madison today because this is where real courage and real integrity can be found. Courage is your governor and your legislators standing strong in the face of death threats and thug tactics. Courage is you all standing strong with them! You saw the forces aligned against fiscal reform. You saw the obstruction and the destruction. You saw these violent rent-a-mobs trash your capital and vandalize businesses.
Madison, you held your ground. Your governor did the right thing. And you won. Your beautiful state won. And you know what—people still have their jobs because of it! That’s courage. And that’s integrity. And that’s something that’s sorely missing in the Beltway today.
Because let me tell you what isn’t courageous: It’s politicians promising the American voters that, as we drown in $14.5 trillion debt, that they’re going to cut $100 billion out of this year’s budget. But then they cave on that and they reduce it down to $61 billion after they get elected. Then they get in there and they strike a deal and decide, nah, they will reduce that down to $38 billion. And then after some politics-as-usual and accounting gimmicks, we find out it’s not $38 billion in cuts. You know that $38 billion—we don’t have it; we’re borrowing it. We borrow from foreign countries to give to foreign countries, and that’s insanity. We find out it’s not even $38 billion; it’s less than $1 billion in real cuts. Folks, that $352 million in real cuts—that’s no more than the federal government is going to spend in the time it takes us to hold this rally today! That is not courage; that’s capitulation!
Now, there’s a lesson here for the Beltway politicos, something they need to understand; the lesson comes from here in Madison. So, our lesson is to the GOP establishment first. And yeah, I’ll take on the GOP establishment. What more can they say about us, you know?
So, to the GOP establishment: if you stand on the platform, if you stand by your pledges, we will stand with you. We will fight with you, GOP. We have your back. Together we will win because America will win!
We didn’t elect you just to re-arrange the deck chairs on a sinking Titanic. We didn’t elect you to just stand back and watch Obama re-distribute those deck chairs. What we need is for you to stand up, GOP, and fight. Maybe I should ask some of the Badger women’s hockey team—those champions—maybe I should ask them if we should be suggesting to GOP leaders they need to learn how to fight like a girl!
And speaking of President Obama, I think we ought to pay tribute to him today at this Tax Day Tea Party because really he’s the inspiration for why we’re here today.
That’s right. The Tea Party Movement wouldn’t exist without Barack Obama.
You see, Candidate Obama didn’t have a record while he was in office; but President Obama certainly has a record, and that’s why we’re here. And hey, media, it’s not inciting violence and it’s not hateful rhetoric to call someone out on their record, so that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to do it to be clear. That’s right: we’re here, we’re clear, get used to it!
Candidate Obama promised to be fiscally responsible. He promised to cut the deficit; but President Obama tripled it!
Candidate Obama promised that fiscal responsibility; but President Obama flushed a trillion dollars down the drain on a useless “stimulus” package and then he bragged about the jobs he “created” in congressional districts that don’t even exist! That’s right; on this, White House, you lie. The only thing that trillion-dollar travesty stimulated was a debt-crisis and a Tea Party!
Now, the left’s irresponsible and radical policies awakened a sleeping America so that we understood finally what it was that we were about to lose. We were about to lose the blessings of liberty and prosperity. They caused the working men and women of this country to get up off their sofas, to come down from the deer stand, get out of the duck blind, and hit the streets, come to the town halls, and finally to the ballot box. And Tea Party Americans won an electoral victory of historic proportions last November. We the people, we rose up and we decisively rejected the left’s big government agenda. We don’t want it. We can’t afford it. And we are unwilling to pay for it.
But what was the president’s reaction to this mandate for fiscal sanity?
Less than 90 days after the election, in his State of the Union address, President Obama told us, nah, the era of big government is here to stay, and we’re going to pay for it whether we want to or not. Instead of reducing spending, they’re going to “Win The Future” by “investing” more of your hard-earned money in some cockamamie harebrained ideas like more solar shingles, more really fast trains—some things that venture capitalists will tell you are non-starters. We’re flat broke, but he thinks these solar shingles and really fast trains will magically save us. So now he’s shouting “all aboard” his bullet train to bankruptcy. “Win The Future”? W.T.F. is about right.
And when Wisconsin’s own Paul Ryan presented a plan for fiscal reform, what was Obama’s response? He demonized the voices of responsibility with class warfare and with fearmongering. And I say personally to our president: Hey, parent to parent, Barack Obama, for shame for you to suggest that the heart of the commonsense conservative movement would do anything to harm our esteemed elders, to harm our children with Down syndrome, to harm those most in need. No, see, in our book, you prioritize appropriately and those who need the help will get the help. The only way we do that is to be wise and prudent and to budget according to the right priorities.
Now, our president isn’t leading, he’s punting on this debt crisis. The only future Barack Obama is trying to win is his own re-election! He’s willing to mortgage your children’s future to ensure his own. And that is not the audacity of hope. That’s cynicism!
Piling more debt onto our children and grandchildren is not courage. No, that’s cowardice!
But did you notice when he gave that polarizing speech last week there was a little gem in the speech. Maybe you missed it. But he spoke about the social contract and the “social compact.” Well, Mr. President, the most basic tenet in that social compact is adhering to the consent of the governed. That would be “We the People.” President Obama, you do not have our consent. You didn’t have it in November. And you certainly don’t have it now. You willfully ignored the will of the American people.
You ignored it when you rammed through Obamacare.
You ignored it when you drove up the debt to $14.5 trillion.
You ignored it when you misrepresented your deficit spending.
You ignored it when you proposed massive tax increases on the middle class and on our job creators.
You ignored it when you went to bat for government-funded abortions and yet you threw our brave men and women in uniform under the bus, Mr. Commander in Chief.
You ignored it when you got us into a third war for fuzzy and inconsistent reasons, a third war that we cannot afford.
You ignore it when you apologize for America while you bow and kowtow to our enemies, and you snub our allies like Israel.
And you ignore when you manipulate the U.S. oil supply. You cut off oil development here and then you hypocritically praise foreign countries for their drilling.
And when hardworking families are hit with $4 and $5 a gallon gas and your skyrocketing energy and food prices as you set out to fundamentally transform America, you ignore our concerns and you tell us we just better get used to it.
Well, Mr. President, we’re not going to get used to it. Not now. Not ever. You ignored us in 2010. But you cannot ignore us in 2012.
Mr. President, you and your cohorts threw all the hatred and all the violence you could at these good folks in Madison, Wisconsin. But you lost here.
And Madison, you defended the 2010 electoral mandate. You are heroes, you are patriots, and when the history of this Tea Party Movement is written, what you accomplished here will not be forgotten.
Your historic stand brought down the curtain on the last election. And the 2012 election begins here.
We will take the courage and the integrity that you showed all of America. We will take it and we will win back our country!
God has shed His grace on thee, America. We will not squander what we have.
We will fight for America! And it starts here in Madison, Wisconsin!
It starts here! It starts now! What better place than the state that hosts the Super Bowl champs to call out the liberal left and let them know: Mr. President, game on!
God bless you, Wisconsin, and God bless America!
Buck O. writes:
Thank you for posting the text of Palin’s speech. I read that it was terrific, so I attempted to listen to it. I couldn’t. I find her louder voice unbearable. I have a hypersensitive hearing syndrome—ironically, from years of using power tools. A yelling Sara Palin literally causes me pain.
Same here. I often find her voice unpleasant, but when, on top of that, she’s yelling, it becomes unbearable.
Nile McCoy writes:
Are you trying to get a rise out of me?!
You wrote: “If, like me, you have trouble listening to Sarah Palin’s screechy voice … “
This is at least the second time you’ve characterized her voice as screechy. I frankly find it a little offensive. It reeks of sexism. I realize the news medium is vastly different now, but Abraham Lincoln is noted to have had a screechy voice. [LA replies: False. Lincoln was described as having a high pitched voice, not a screechy voice.] Theodore Roosevelt had a fairly high pitched voice as well as speaking too fast. [LA replies: Yes, high-pitched, not screechy.] As a woman, Sarah has the voice God gave her. It is a feminine voice. I don’t listen to Sarah because of the sound of her voice, it is the message she communicates to fellow conservatives.
So, according to Nile, if a person, or rather a man, finds a female politician’s screechy, badly modulated voice unpleasant to listen to, and thus very unprofessional and unacceptable on the part of that politician, whose main job is public speaking, that is “sexist,” i.e., anti-woman.
If I were more compassionate, I would have declined to post Nile’s comment in order to spare him the embarrassment of having said such a thing. But truth will out. As I have pointed out many times, and as Nile’s comment further shows, much of the support for Palin is driven by emotional and personal identification with her, and therefore many of her supporters find any criticisms of her to be intolerable, even the simple statement that her voice is often unpleasant to listen to.
Buck O. writes:
Bully for Palin!
Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt? How about General Patton?
Laura Wood writes:
I found this screech unbearable to listen to, particularly when she cried out her distasteful feminist fighting-girl joke.
Nile McCoy writes:
“unprofessional and unacceptable”
I may have been hasty in saying your remark was sexist, but you’ve mentioned it in the past. If it’s a simple matter of turning the volume up on the mic and other sound equipment so she doesn’t need to yell, would it change your opinion? [LA replies: Anything done, whether with the sound system or with the modulation of her voice, to make her voice less unpleasant would change my opinion for the better.]
Her voice hasn’t hurt Sarah Palin in the past, from winning a seat on the Wasilla City Counil and then its Mayorship, unseating an incumbent Republican governor for the nomination and then the Alaska governorship. She gave a several rip-roaring speeches during the 2008 campaign, and then after leaving the governorship, promoted and campaigned for candidates in the 2010 mid-term elections. She is-all-but the de facto leader of the Tea party, which if the Republicans want to win in 2012, will be the key to activating the party grassroots. [LA replies: what does any of that have to do with my response to her voice, or Buck’s response, or Laura’s response?]
By the way, last night I said about Donald Trump:
He looked like a clown with that ridiculous hairdo blowing in the wind, and with all the hair on one side of his head completely white which he evidently forgot to color, and he repeated himself like crazy, and the speech went on too long …
That was much tougher than anything I said about Palin. But somehow I don’t think anybody will say that they find the remark offensive or accuse me of being anti-male for saying it. Which shows again how Palin”s supporters are too emotional about her and can’t stand even moderate criticism of her. Just the other week, a reader who has been reading and commenting at VFR for years, including the last three and a half years in which I’ve repeatedly criticized Palin without his complaining about it, suddenly accused me of throwing a “cheap shot” at her when I said she is often incoherent. I’ve alienated and lost more readers, including a major donor, over my criticisms of Sarah Palin than over any other issue in the history of this site.
James R. writes:
I don’t think your reaction is sexist. I have a similar reaction. In her speeches she almost always seems to be yelling. Contrast that with Thatcher, another woman, who always sounded calm (except when the occasion demanded more intensity).
Steve W. writes:
Frankly, I could hardly read the speech itself. Just a bunch of political hot air.
But buried in all the Tea Party rhetoric were these telling remarks:
A pension is a promise that must be kept. Now, your Governor Scott Walker understands this. He understands that states must be solvent in order to keep their promises. And that’s what he’s trying to do. He’s not trying to hurt union members. Hey, folks, he’s trying to save your jobs and your pensions!
Palin is no limited government, free market conservative. She’s a “compassionate conservative,” who explicitly supports the welfare state (which she’d probably describe as a “safety net” for those “most in need”), but apparently believes it can be administered in a smarter, more efficient manner. This is liberalism with a supposedly “commonsense” slant. To see this compromised philosophy in action, see George W. Bush’s presidency. Unless Palin has taken positions I am not aware of, it doesn’t sound as if she supports meaningful reform of middle class entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare, student loans, etc.)—reform which only can succeed by eliminating the fundamentally redistributionist (i.e., socialist) nature of those programs.
And I say personally to our president: Hey, parent to parent, Barack Obama, for shame for you to suggest that the heart of the commonsense conservative movement would do anything to harm our esteemed elders, to harm our children with Down syndrome, to harm those most in need. No, see, in our book, you prioritize appropriately and those who need the help will get the help. The only way we do that is to be wise and prudent and to budget according to the right priorities.
In her speech, Palin criticizes Obama for raising the specter of “class warfare”—but, really, that’s mostly what Palin is offering. Although in her case, it’s not warfare between economic classes (which doesn’t really describe contemporary America anyway), but warfare between cultural classes, the “reds” versus the “blues.” I agree that this red-blue divide is real and growing. But on the central issue of the size and scope of the federal government, Palin has much more in common with her “blue” opponents than she, and her supporters, apparently realize.
Nile McCoy writes:
“what does any of that have to do with my response to her voice, or Buck’s response, or Laura’s response?”
I’m simply saying her voice hasn’t hurt her standing in the grassroots of the Republican party and Tea party activists, which directly bears on her possibility of being the GOP nominee in 2012.
Nile McCoy writes:
Steve W. wrote, “Palin is no limited government, free market conservative. She’s a “compassionate conservative,” who explicitly supports the welfare state (which she’d probably describe as a “safety net” for those “most in need”), but apparently believes it can be administered in a smarter, more efficient manner.” “Unless Palin has taken positions I am not aware of, it doesn’t sound as if she supports meaningful reform of middle class entitlement programs … “
Palin hardly governed the state of Alaska as a conservative ideologue. She is a political pragmatist. Her ACES program, which distributes oil revenues to the citizens of Alaska (on the basis that oil is a resource owned by the state) is effectively a type of economic socialism, and one her successor Sean Parnell is paring back. She’s an Evangelical, in many ways cut from the same cloth as Mike Huckabee and George W. Bush, although she has the opposite positions on illegal immigration, and amnesty. As an Evangelical, Palin believes the state has a role in being a good Samaritan to those in need. It’s a problem within conservatism; I agree.
Steve W. also wrote, “Although in her case, it’s not warfare between economic classes (which doesn’t really describe contemporary America anyway), but warfare between cultural classes, the “reds” versus the “blues.” I agree that this red-blue divide is real and growing. But on the central issue of the size and scope of the federal government, Palin has much more in common with her “blue” opponents than she, and her supporters, apparently realize.”
Palin has used the red-blue divide as a narrative, that her being maligned by the left on abortion, her Down’s Syndrome Child, etc., effectively positions her on the right despite her moderate-to-liberal positions on entitlement programs and gays in the military. If she runs, which looks increasingly likely, her opponents need to flush her out on these positions during the debates. To my knowledge, Palin has never qualified her support for gays in the military as seen in the Tammy Bruce re-tweet (see this and this).
That’s a powerful statement. This site has often pointed to the major liberal components in Palin’s belief system, but this is the first time I can remember that someone has said that if she becomes a candidate for the Republican nomination, her liberalism should or will be targeted by her Republican opponents.
D. Edwards writes:
Mrs. Palin may have a horrible voice, she may have liberal/libertarian leanings, but I think she deserves some credit for going to the foci of leftist outrage and calling them out. Where were the rest of the big name GOP? Not delivering a rebuttal in a snowy Midwest town with union thugs surrounding and denouncing her very existence. She’ll fight them. Do they?
Philip M. writes from England:
I also found Palin’s voice difficult to listen to, but it got me thinking about why there seems to be so many women at the forefront of right-wing movements over the last few years.
Could it be that conservatives who like female leaders do so because they are scared by the aggressive nature of the modern left, and believe firstly that women are less confrontational and more conciliatory than men, so hopefully will not attract left-wing anger in the same way as a man, and secondly that they will be able to use “female privilege” or the left-wing sexist angle to protect her and themselves from possible left-wing attacks.
This latter reason of course must be the reason why the left hate Palin, because as a woman she should be “one of them” and is therefore a traitor.
Al H. writes:
Here’s a little something you may add on to your Palin post. This is from her Facebook page today on Passover.
“Tonight is Passover, the Jewish people’s celebration of their deliverance from bondage and their Exodus to the Land of Israel. Passover contains poignant spiritual and historical meaning for Jews, but it also reminds all of us of mankind’s universal aspiration to be free from bondage and oppression. Today, in the same region where the story of Exodus took place, Arabs suffering under despotic regimes are seeking their own freedom and self-determination. As Jews in Israel, the Middle East’s only liberal democracy, gather for Passover, we hope for the spread of freedom and peace throughout the region. On this Passover holiday, our family sends our best wishes to the Jewish community. Chag kasher V’Sameach. Happy Passover. And next year in Jerusalem.”
Note the bolded sections. Is she really equating the release of the Children of Israel from Bondage to the Muslim uprising in the Middle East? Sure looks like it to me. Out of all the dumb things coming out of potential GOP candidates this may be the dumbest.
It sure sounds as though she’s an unreconstructed Bush-and-Kristol follower.
James P. writes:
I, too, find Palin unbearably annoying to hear, due to the pitch of her voice and her accent. I much prefer to read the transcripts of her speeches. But the same was true, for slightly different reasons, of George W. Bush. I simply couldn’t stand to listen to him blundering through a speech. I still remember his first debate with Kerry in 2004, in which he sounded not like a sitting President but like a whipped schoolboy. It was truly pathetic.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 18, 2011 09:59 AM | Send
One of the major skills of a politician is to speak effectively in public. This is a skill that can be acquired. A politician who can’t or won’t learn this skill does not deserve our respect.