Sarah Palin Inflames Tea Party Anger

Republican Party figurehead Sarah Palin is mobilizing against wasteful government spending. Since her resignation as governor of Alaska last summer, the 46-year old has become a major fixture in American politics.

Americans mark April 15th as a red-letter day on their calendars: It’s the last day for filing income taxes. It’s also the day of reckoning for Tea Partiers who are mobilizing against the Obama administration. They’re against bureaucracy, governmental meddling and wasteful spending — Satan’s work, in their eyes. As they did last year, the activists are flooding Washington’s main boulevards with country music and beating drums, with stickers and banners containing patriotic maxims and hate slogans.

A few days earlier, Sarah Palin incited the demonstrators at a Boston rally held not far from the historic harbor where the American colonists began the tax revolt against their British masters in 1773. It was the moment of birth for the American nation and the impetus behind the modern day tax revolt. The controversial Republican figurehead whipped up populist resentment against Obama’s policies: “We need to cut taxes so that our families can keep more of what they earn,” she said.

The former Alaskan governor and vice presidential candidate challenged her political opponents: “I want to tell ’em, nah, we’ll keep clinging to our Constitution and our guns and religion — and you can keep the change.” She then scornfully added that it “was nothing a good old fashioned election couldn’t fix.”

Praised by a media moderator as smart and sexy, Palin took the podium wearing her usual red leather jacket and dark skirt. Since her resignation as Alaska’s governor last summer, Palin has become a fixture in U.S. politics, as well as one of Obama’s sharpest critics. When she recently weighed in on the president’s revised nuclear weapons policy, he coolly responded, “I really have no response. Because last I checked, Sarah Palin’s not much of an expert on nuclear issues.”

The right-wing politician is a polarizing figure. Political strategists say people either love her or hate her and that’s why it’s by no means certain that she will run for president in 2012. She’s biding her time and says her decision will depend on whether “that is the right thing to do for our country and for the Palin family.”

Only the Number Three Choice

Current surveys give her absolutely no chance against Obama: The president would humiliate her with 70 percent of the vote. Even among Republicans, she’s only their third choice at best. Republicans have decided on a strategy that will concentrate their energy on the congressional elections this November.

Even the Tea Party isn’t convinced about Palin’s presidential qualities. Like the Tea Party itself, she’s seen as a vital political force, but one who has yet to demonstrate her endurance or whether she’s even the right pick to lead the Republican Party. Several racially tinged incidents during the health care debate have meanwhile diminished the Tea Party’s public image.

At party meetings, however, Palin is celebrated as their most attractive star with the greatest media presence. It gave the heavily criticized politician a good deal of satisfaction to appear recently in support of John McCain’s senatorial reelection bid. As an author and television commentator — most recently as tour guide in a Discovery Channel travelogue on Alaska — as well as on the speaking circuit, Palin has earned millions of dollars. That fact immediately prompted a controversy when the public saw what this “hockey mom’s” luxurious lifestyle was like.

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