Gov. Sarah Palin, the former GOP vice presidential nominee, Thursday slammed Washington Republicans for failing to hold down spending, saying the mounting debt is symptomatic of a party enmeshed in hubris and ignorant of core GOP principles.
“Washington, D.C., leaders spent public money in disregard of the public interest, just like the opponents that they used to criticize,” Palin said in remarks at the Republican Governors Association in Miami. “They got too comfortable in power,” she said. “Maybe they forgot why they were sent to Washington and who they were sent to serve.”
Palin’s speech appears to be part of an effort to rehabilitate her image — tarnished by disastrous interviews during the campaign in which she stumbled on policy questions — and stake a potential claim to contention for the 2012 presidential nomination. Palin has in recent days suggested she would be happy to run for president in the future. With Thursday’s speech, Palin cast herself as a conservative standard-bearer while emphasizing the merits of governors — just like her.
Palin laid out a broadly conservative agenda for the party, emphasizing tax cuts, limited government spending and increased domestic energy production. She said GOP governors, who fared far better than Republican Members of Congress or her own presidential ticket on Election Day, must lead the loyal opposition, pressing conservative ideas on President-elect Obama and the Congress.
“If the new Congress and president err on the side, for instance, of excess taxes, then it will be falling on us to show them a better way,” she said.
She urged Republican governors to use “the power of example” to show conservative ideas at work in their states.
Palin rejected arguments routinely advanced by President Bush that the debt runup was necessitated by the need to protect the country.
“The costs of war and security alone — that cannot explain a federal debt that’s grown to more than $10 trillion,” she said. “We must see reform within” the Republican Party.
She quipped that Republicans should be addicted to “OPM,” which as she spoke it sounded like the famously addictive drug but which she then said stood for “other people’s money.”