Conservatives Defend Palin At Southern Republican Leadership Conference

It was fairly amusing watching these Republicans dance around whether Sarah Palin will actually run for president or not. Of course all of them know t
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It was fairly amusing watching these Republicans dance around whether Sarah Palin will actually run for president or not. Of course all of them know that she's not anyone the Republican Party or the American elecorate should take seriously and if she would win the nomination what the likely results would be. That said I don't feel any better about her close competitor in the straw poll Newt Gingrich who took a shot at "Sanfrancisco liberals" and called Palin a "total feminist". Anyone with Newt's background of cheating and divorces shouldn't be talking about anyone else's "values".

Quitter and half-term Governor Palin is going to ride her gravy train for all she can get out of it as long as Fox is willing to promote her and for as long as the Republican Party thinks she's going to help them win elections. I want to see how fast the other candidates throw her under the bus if she would actually run for President.

Transcript via CNN.

CROWLEY: There were plenty of potential 2012ers who showed up at this New Orleans Republican meeting, from Pence to Perry, Gingrich to Barbour, but there was only one belle of the ball, albeit one with really sharp elbows.

CROWLEY: There is something about Sarah that keeps conservatives on their feet and her name in the headlines. Maybe it is that cheery defiance.

PALIN: When they say, yes, we can, we stand up and we say, oh, no, you don't.

CROWLEY: Even perhaps especially when it comes to the president, who recently dismissed Palin's credentials to criticize his nuclear weapons policy.

OBAMA: If the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff are comfortable with it, I'm probably going to take my advice from them and not from Sarah Palin.

PALIN: Now, the president, with all of the vast nuclear experience that he acquired as a community organizer...

PALIN: ... and as a part-time senator, and as a full-time candidate, all that experience, still no accomplishment to date with North Korea and Iran.

CROWLEY: In the hallways outside the main ballroom, we cornered Republican players about the hottest ticket in the party.

CHENEY: I think they are looking for somebody who can say, you know, yes, I will stand up and fight against these bad policies, and who is committed to putting the right policies into place.

GINGRICH: Whether that translates later into something bigger or whether she is just a very significant person for the rest of her life, she is a real player, nobody should underestimate her.

PERRY: Americans are tired of milquetoast. They don't want somebody in the mush middle.

MATALIN: She has had more impact as an unelected person than anybody I have seen in my 30 years in politics.

CROWLEY: Palin's detractors call her vapid, naive, inexperienced. She responds with that in-your-face defiance, especially when the media is involved.

PALIN: Democracy depends on you. And that is why our troops are willing to die for you. So, how about in honor of the American soldier, you quit making things up?

CROWLEY: Supporters dismiss the criticism as a failure to understand.

GINGRICH: Look, some made the comment that she is an authentic product of Wasilla, Alaska, that she's a frontier person more than a suburban person. And I think that if you are, you know, a San Francisco liberal, she just drives you crazy, because she is clearly a total feminist, I mean, in the true sense of feminism.

She is her own person. She does her own thing. She does it her way. It's just she does it in a way that if you are part of the liberal elite, it is everything that you have tried to leave.

MATALIN: Real people understand that if someone with as many kids as she has and has such a normal life -- that she had, can step into the arena, can get engaged, she gives them a road map. It is about something bigger than her. This is not some -- I think the press tends to think of it as some cult following. It is not.

It is a -- she can do it, I can do it, it's an inspiration thing. This really, really transcends her. But she is the road map. She is the mom who did it.

WATTS: There is a "me too," you know, when she is talking, when she has, you know, presented herself. I think what she did in Alaska, I think there is kind of a "me too" about her that people, good, bad, or indifferent, they like it.

CROWLEY: That "me too" has turned Sarah Palin into a brand and a woman making big bucks. Where from here? More from her colleagues when we come back.

CROWLEY: Not many people bet that Sarah Palin would fade away after the election. And she didn't.

PALIN: Let's empower states to find the best solutions.

They need flexibility. That's what they need. They need respect for the 10th amendment, too. But they need the flexibility to see what works best. And shoot, look at Texas. I said "Shoot." I'm sorry. I...

CROWLEY: She's a politician who crossed into the celebrity zone, making gobs of money creating her own public space with maximum exposure and minimal risk. She has a lucrative and safe role as a Fox News commentator.

PALIN: Because, in America, anything is possible.

CROWLEY: She has put her brand on real American stories, tales of trial and triumph.

PALIN: Kudos to you and thank you so much for your good efforts.

CROWLEY: Thumbs down from the Eastern media; the New York times said her performance was "as cheery and bland as any news anchors in the mainstream media she deplores."

"Give it five minutes and it will evaporate right in front of your eyes," said Time magazine.

The normal Fox News audience has reported to have doubled in the time slot.

PALIN: Thank you all for joining us tonight.

CROWLEY: She also plans to host eight specials an "Sarah Palin's Alaska" for Discovery's TLC channel, scripted, safe.

So, too, her appearance here in New Orleans before adoring party activists, anxious to get her autograph and feed off her electricity.

Does Palin need the party as much as the party needs Palin? Is she out to make money or out to make change? Does she want to live as a private citizen or run for president?

What next for Sarah?

MATALIN: What she's been doing, her role has been, and she has been very impactful at it, asserting those base principles that are at the heart of constitutional conservatism. She knows how to say them in ways that people understand them and can repeat them.

WATTS: I know there are people out there who politically attack her because they're afraid of her. They're afraid that she is a powerful force. And so the easiest and the best way to get rid of someone you're afraid of is to go destroy them.

CROWLEY: How can you be a player if you're -- let's say she just says, look, no, I'm not interested in 2012. Then what's her role?

GINGRICH: Well, I mean, some people manage by ideas, by energy, by drive, by charisma. You know, Teddy Kennedy lost the presidential nomination to Jimmy Carter in 1980. And yet Teddy was, for 30 years, one of the dominant figures in the Democratic Party.

And I think that she has the potential to fill a niche for a very long time, particularly in an age of cable television and talk radio, when you can build your particular market and your audience and they can love you and come to your meetings and do things with you.

And she's done -- the last couple of months, I think she has been very impressive.

CROWLEY: Do you think she'll run in 2012?

WATTS: It's my guess. It's everybody's guess. I honestly don't -- personal opinion, way too early. But if you're asking me today to make a decision, you know, two and a half years down the road, which is virtually impossible to do, but if you are twisting my arm to say, give me a yes or no answer, I say no.

And the reason I don't think she will -- I think -- I think she has, and this is just my personal opinion, I think she has positioned herself to be a kingmaker, probably not the king.

CROWLEY: She'd be a worthy opponent in 2012, you think?

GINGRICH: Well, I mean, if my choice was Sarah Palin or Barack Obama, I would rather have Sarah Palin.

CROWLEY: Well, what if your choice was Newt Gingrich or Sarah Palin?

GINGRICH: Oh, I can't comment. That would be silly.

CROWLEY: OK, then, just for giggles, we report to you the results of the straw pole of 1,800 activists here at the this conference. The presidential preference winner is the man who wasn't there, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Romney, and just behind Romney by one vote, Congressman Ron Paul, both triumphs of organization over celebrity.

As for a Palin-Gingrich showdown, it was Palin coming in third overall, with Gingrich nine votes behind.

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