Palin: Tea party hasn't even begun to fight
Sarah Palin speaks at a 'Patriots in the Park' Tea Party rally at the Wayne County Fairgrounds July 14, 2012 in Belleville, Michigan. / Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
As Republican leaders and strategists call for the party to evolve past polarizing partisanship, former Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, says those furthest on the right haven't even begun to fight.
A day after quietly leaving the Fox News contributor post she's held for three years, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee resurfaced this weekend in a Q&A with Stephen Bannon, the conservative filmmaker who directed the pro-Palin documentary "The Undefeated." She denounced the idea that the she and the tea party are "dead and buried."
"I was raised to never retreat and to pick battles wisely, and all in due season," she said. "When it comes to defending our republic, we haven't begun to fight! But we delight in those who underestimate us."
Palin made glancing reference to her departure from Fox News: Encouraging others to "broaden our reach as believers in American exceptionalism," she said, "I'm taking my own advice here as I free up opportunities to share more broadly the message of the beauty of freedom and the imperative of defending our republic and restoring this most exceptional nation.
"We can't just preach to the choir," Palin continued, referring presumably to the conservative news network. "The message of liberty and true hope must be understood by a larger audience."
Rallying tea partiers to take on "big-government enablers" in the GOP "election after election," Palin said she plans to invest focus on the 2014 midterm elections, which she predicted will "be like 2010," when a large number of conservatives touting the banner of limited government and the Constitution rode the tea party wave into Washington. "But this time around," she continued, "we need to shake up the GOP machine that tries to orchestrate away too much of the will of constitutional conservatives who don't give a hoot how they do it in D.C."
"The problem," she said, "is that some on the right are now skittish because of the lost 2012 election. They shouldn't be. Conservatism didn't lose. A moderate Republican candidate lost after he was perceived to alienate working class Reagan Democrat and Independent voters who didn't turn out for him as much as they did for the McCain/Palin ticket in 2008.
"...As long as we allow the media and GOP establishment to tell us who our nominees must be, we can expect to lose," she said. "I'm not interested in losing. America's next generation can't afford another loss."
Does that mean 2016 will see a reprise of the will-she-or-won't-she-run game that Palin played for months with the media ahead of the 2012 presidential election?
"As far as long-term plans, the door is wide open," she said. "I know the country needs more truth-telling in the media, and I'm willing to do that. So, we shall see."
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