One is a rising conservative star. The other remains a beloved figure for many conservatives. They both envision a prosperous future for America, and the Republican Party. They also believe that path involves much more than Tea Party angst. It is time to turn that angst into action.
Utah Senator Mike Lee was the keynote speaker at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual fall dinner. He shared the marquee with former Alaska governor and 2008 vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
Lee is part young, conservative crop of U.S. senators that grassroots activists are rallying around. Both speakers issued a call-to-arms.
Here is a look at the two speeches:
Senator Mike Lee
Sen. Lee noted that the original Boston Tea Party would have been just a footnote in American history if our Founding Fathers did not follow up with action. He says we face a similar situation today, facing a government that taxes and regulates us excessively.
“We’ve spent some time protesting against the kind of national government we don’t want. It’s now time for us today to do what they did a couple of centuries ago and move, not just in the direction of protesting against the kind of government we don’t want, but signaling the kind of government we do want,” Lee said.
The senator from Utah noted that there is a gaping hole in the middle of the Republican Party today, and offered a solution on how to fill it.
“That is this gulf that separates the grassroots of the party and the conservative movement from the more establishment leaders,” Lee said. “I’m convinced that this hole is precisely the size and precisely the shape of a unifying, conservative reform agenda.”
Lee then outlined three issues Republicans could tackle, that would unite the GOP, while also bringing new people to the party.
- Developing a new anti-poverty, upward mobility agenda that would help get people out of poverty.
- Develop a new anti-cronyism agenda “to break up the nexus of Big Government, Big Business and Big Special Interest”.
- New ideas to improve lives of middle class families.
“The first and most important policy goal Republicans must adopt to improve the lives of middle class families is, and will remain, the full, unapologetic, unqualified repeal of Obamacare,” Lee added, to thunderous applause.
While that is not a new idea, it is one Mike Lee believes the entire party should rally around and stand behind.
Other thoughts on Mike Lee’s speech:
Senator Lee’s 35-minute speech was well received by the audience. He is a good speaker with plenty of enthusiasm. However, he relied on a prepared script throughout the speech. 35 minutes might be a tad too long as well, but Lee was fortunate to take the stage early in the event.
Lee also peppered his speech with humor at the beginning and the end. He started beginning with an extended dialogue about being a young, unknown senator and the pitfalls that has caused him in the U.S. Capitol.
Lee also recited a joke about the root of the word “politics” (‘poli’ meaning ‘many’, and ‘tics’ meaning ‘blood sucking parasites’). Interestingly, Texas Senator Ted Cruz told the exact same joke at The Family Leadership Summit in Ames three months ago.
Toward the end of his speech, Lee spent 3-4 minutes reciting a complete version of comedian Emo Philips’ classic “Man on a Bridge” joke. It’s a good joke and he delivered it well, but the senator needs to develop some material of his own.
Overall, Mike Lee impressed those in attendance and we are likely to see his in Iowa many more times in the future.
Palin offered an unyielding defense of the Tea Party and encouraged attendees to make their voices heard, while holding politicians accountable. She skewered Republican officials who shy away from the Tea Party and the media that has relentlessly tried to disparage the movement.
“Tea Party, the acronym, it stands for Taxed Enough Already. What is so wrong and radical about recognizing that we are taxed enough already and that it’s the Constitution that needs to be followed? That’s the blueprint that leads us towards a more perfect Union. What the heck is so radical about that,” she asked, as the audience loudly applauded.
Using a hockey analogy, Palin told attendees that part of the problem Republicans are facing right now is the party is too afraid to stand up for the principles it was founded on.
“There’s a point where simply being the opposition isn’t enough. For the past five years, haven’t we all been that hockey goalie in the net, stopping as many of the radical left’s pucks as possible? But if we want to restore this great nation and win back the trust of her people, we need more than defense and opposition.”
Palin believes messaging is part of the Republican Party’s problem and they need to go on offense to deliver that message.
“Explain our better vision for moving the poor and the underemployed out of poverty and out from the shackles of dependency on government. We stand for truth. We stand for faith, family, freedom and work ethic, free markets, equal opportunity. We stand for the sanctity of innocent human life itself. We stand for the things that right and good about America,” she said.
The former vice-presidential nominee also offered a glimpse of hope for the future, noting that elections come and go, “so the era of Obama is coming to an end, I promise”.
Other thoughts on Sarah Palin’s speech and the overall event
If you like Sarah Palin, you enjoyed this speech. If you’re not a fan, you probably would not have enjoyed it. It was classic Palin: quirky, deliberative and defiant. She garnered applause numerous times.
Palin took the podium late into the event. Most people had already been there for more than 3 ½ hours by the time she started talking. The former Alaska governor then spoke for around a half hour. Toward the end, some attendees were becoming anxious to get the event over with.
Many people TheIowaRepublican.com spoke with afterwards praised Palin, and Senator Lee, but the felt the event ran a little long.
Other speakers included Congressman Tom Latham, Congressman Steve King, Governor Branstad and conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly, who also received IFFC’s Defenders of Freedom Award in the most touching and emotional moment of the evening.
The crowd size was 800.
Photos by Dave Davidson, Prezography.com
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