The Question Remains: Was Sarah Palin the Pioneer of the Tea Party Movement?
After watching the movie Gamechange this weekend, a film about the 2008 presidential election and, most importantly, the John McCain campaign’s plight controlling Sarah Palin. The question was clear: did Sarah Palin start the Tea Party movement? McCain knew his odds were against him defeating Obama in 2008. The McCain team went for the home run shot in their pick of Sarah Palin for the Vice Presidential candidate, she was either going to boom or bust. According to latimes.com, “He also is taking a risk that in elevating a largely unknown figure, he undermines the central theme of his candidacy that he puts ‘country first,’ above political calculations.”
The team decided that the only way to compete with Obama was through the first term female governor of Alaska.
Palin, as it turned out, was not very experienced considering she had only been governor of Alaska for 17 months. Her inexperience showed on the campaign trail. For example, in an interview with Katie Couric on June 2, 2010, Palin summed her foreign policy experience up by stating Alaska shares a border with Russia and Canada. In that same interview, Palin had difficulty naming a newspaper or magazine she read, leaving many to believe she never reads national news. In her defense however, Palin has been able to attract massive crowds whenever she speaks, such as in Manchester, New Hampshire where she had 600 people in the audience. Following the 2008 election she quickly became one of the biggest stars of the Republican Party.
The more popular she became, the more right leaning her rhetoric became. Her outspoken conservatism began to split from the mainstream republican establishment. Her attacks on Obama “Paling around with terrorists” and hinting to the idea that Obama could be a socialist while on the campaign trail in 2008 was an instant hit with Republican voters who began to question the man that Obama was. Senior political science major, John Feldman, agrees, “Sarah Palin purports a message that if you put good in, you will get good out. It goes back to the story of Jamestown and the fable of the Ant and the Grasshopper, where the morally reprobate are left hungry and out in the cold, and I think this is very attractive to many people.” McCain came to the defense of Obama many times when confronted with these hostile Ameri cans who were adamantly against the future Head of State. Mc- Cain told reporters in a politico. com article, “I have to tell you. Sen. Obama is a decent person and a person you don’t have to be scared of as president of the United States.”
The split of the Republican Party began with the selection of Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential candidate in 2008. Her rise to power and her stark conservatism saw the creation of the Tea Party movement. The movement which began shortly after the 2008 election is sharply against President Obama and was able to greatly influence the 2010 midterm elections which saw the Republicans regain control of the House of Representatives. Policital Science Professor Dr. Gregory Bordelon believes that Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party movement have started divisions in this country. “It is becoming increasingly difficult to have a centrist view anymore,” he said, “Extremist groups tend to look to icons such as Sarah Palin to be the role model of their movement.”
Tea Party members broke away from many of the platforms and policies of the Republican establishment. For example, the debt ceiling debacle from last summer saw John Boehner and President Obama agree to a compromise. However Boehner had a very difficult time winning over the whole Republican Party, in particular the Tea Party freshmen who were against any debt ceiling increases.
IMAGE TAKEN from mediaite.com