Tag Archives: Iowa Freedom Summit

Palin's non-speech sours GOP base

Can it really be that the hard right wing of the Republican Party has come to its senses regarding a former half-term Alaska governor who for the past half-dozen years or so has been its darling?

Sarah Palin stood before the Iowa Freedom Summit and delivered what can only be described as a rhetorical goulash of blather.


It didn’t play well in Peoria, let alone in GOP strategists’ living rooms.

Her TelePrompter, loaded with prepared remarks, went pffftt. Left to her devices, Palin stammered her way through a bizarre litany of nonsensical sentences.

As the Washington Post described it: “Her address was a 31 1/2-minute roller coaster ride of cliches, non sequiturs and warmed-over grievances. One line that stood out: ‘GOP leaders, by the way, you know, ‘The Man,’ can only ride ya when your back is bent. So strengthen it. Then The Man can’t ride ya.’”


The Post reports that the critiques from those who heard Palin were harsh and unforgiving.

Darn! I was hoping she’d make a go of it, that her “serious” consideration of a White House campaign in 2016 would turn into the real thing.

Silly me. I guess I had forgotten — if only for a moment or two — about how miserable a campaigner she turned out to be when Sen. John McCain selected her as his vice-presidential running mate in the 2008 White House campaign. Or that she’d gotten twisted up in that goofy reality TV show. Or that she’s making a lot of money as a Fox News “contributor”; her precise contribution to Fox remains something of a mystery.

I suppose there’s some other stuff to mention, but I’ll just let it lie.

With that, I’ll bid adieu to Sarah Palin. It was nice while it lasted.


Welcome aboard the GOP 'clown van'

Roger Simon isn’t some left-wing, squishy liberal pundit who genuflects at the sound of Barack Obama’s name.

But he’s written an essay that sums up what many are beginning to sense already: The race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination well could provide as many laughs as the 2012 campaign did.


Simon’s commentary ticks off the dog-and-pony show that was known as the Iowa Freedom Summit, hosted by U.S. Rep. Steve “Cantaloupe Thighs” King. You’ll remember this goof, saying a couple of years ago that illegal immigrants are able to smuggle heavy loads of drugs across the border because they’ve got “thighs the size of cantaloupes.”

Sheesh, already!

It shouldn’t be this way. Most of the serious Republicans who might be running for president stayed away from the King-hosted circus. One of the serious guys, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, got criticized from the TEA party crowd because he threw his arms around Barack Obama, who ventured to the Jersey Shore in October 2012 to assess the damage done by Super Storm/Hurricane Sandy and vowed to provide federal help to New Jersey as it sought to recover from the destruction.

There were plenty of clownish moments at the Freedom Summit, as Simon revealed in his column.

A friend of mine, satirist and political commentator Rick Horowitz, noted that Republicans want to be considered thoughtful and capable of governing … then they trot out Donald Trump and Sarah Palin at this event.

The Republican Party is full of thoughtful and reasonable men and women. Why, though, do we keep focusing our attention on this collection of clowns?

I’m waiting to hear more from the grownups.


That darn TelePrompter

Maybe you’ve heard some of the criticism of President Obama from those on the right. They’ve chortled at his reliance on TelePrompters to deliver his soaring rhetoric.

Well, all politicians use the device. It doesn’t matter which party to which they belong. The TelePrompter has been a staple of stump speeches, State of the Union speeches, address to international audiences, hey, perhaps even at county fairs.

Well, Sarah Palin — who I’m quite sure has jabbed and poked at the president for his use of the device over the years — had a little trouble of her own at Rep. Steve King’s Iowa Freedom Summit.


The former half-term governor of Alaska had the darn thing freeze up on her while she delivered her remarks to her fans at the Iowa meeting. She turned out to be, well, not quite so quick on her feet. She started rambling and got a bit confused as she was forced, due to technical difficulties, to improvise on the spot.

Hey, stuff happens. Right?

Just maybe now we can put an end to the pointless criticism — by politicians — who make fun of other politicians’ reliance on a machine that makes ’em sound good.


Circus act convenes in Iowa

Call him the ringmaster. That would be Congressman Steve King of Iowa, the Republicans’ leading critic of immigration reform and the individual hosting something called the Iowa Freedom Summit.

It should be a showcase for what’s left of the Republican Party’s intellectual heft. There’s still plenty left, but the party’s center-stage attention has been hijacked by some seriously radical individuals — such as Rep. King.


Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is there, along with Donald Trump, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Dr. Ben Carson and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. But … all is not lost here. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also is there and I count Christie among the grownups of the party, a guy prone to actually thinking rationally and reasonably.

He’s no doubt going to trot out his conservative credentials to the summit attendees because, well, he’s thinking of running for president next year and the starting point in the campaign is in Iowa, where those GOP caucuses are dominated by the evangelical Christian wing of the party.

The news out of the Iowa event has been twofold: Palin and Trump both have expressed “serious” interest in running for the White House in 2016. Seriously. They’re thinking about it.

Look, the more the merrier. That’s how I see it. Neither of them is a legitimate contender for the presidency of the world’s greatest nation. By my count, I see maybe two individuals at this summit who should be taken seriously: the aforementioned Christie and Scott Walker.

The other serious candidates-in-waiting — Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul — aren’t there. Why? Because they’ve all staked out moderate positions here and there that just don’t comport with the far right wing of the party.

The ringmaster, King, is playing this event beautifully — I will acknowledge. He’s getting a lot of attention and, by golly, he’s getting that GOP base all fired up.

Let the fun continue.

Iowa in January awaits ex-Gov. Perry

Ah, yes. Nothing says “vacation” quite like Iowa in the middle of winter.

That’s where the former governor of Texas is headed days after leaving the office he’s held longer than anyone in the history of the state.

Rick Perry is going to Iowa not for a little sight-seeing or some R&R, but to take part in a rally among conservative politicians — of which he is one.


He’ll be attending the Iowa Freedom Summit. Its host is fiery conservative U.S. Rep. Steve King, the guy who once said that illegal immigrants with “calves the size of cantaloupes” are smuggling drugs into the United States. That, folks, appears to be one of the leaders of the conservative Republican movement these days.

Gov. Perry is going to be there, too. I guess he’s continuing to explore whether to run for president — again — in two years. Iowa, remember, is the first-in-the-nation state that holds those nominating caucuses that begins selecting the parties’ nominees for president.

He won’t be alone at this dog-and-pony show. Several other would-be candidates for president will be there as well: Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and ex-Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. The most interesting attendee of the bunch will be retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson — whose name I’ve seen on a couple of presidential campaign bumper stickers here in Amarillo.

I’ll hand it to Perry. He’s not going to slow down even after leaving office. I’d recommend, though, he take a vacation. Rest up. Then get ready to go one more time, governor.