DES MOINES - Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin used an appearance here Friday to put herself firmly at the head of the insurgency overtaking the Republican Party and to demand that the party unite behind her candidates.
Speaking to reporters after the speech, she dismissed Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s attempt to revive her re-election bid through a write-in campaign after losing her primary – a step Murkowski announced about the time Palin spoke - as “a futile effort.”
And Palin imagined herself as the quarterback of a free-flowing Republican offense, fueled by members of Congress, conservative columnists, and even former president George W. Bush - each with an assigned role.
“I’d say ‘DeMint, you’re awesome, we need you down South,” she told the Iowa Republican Party’s annual Ronald Reagan dinner. “Mitt, go West. GW, we need you to raise funds. Kristol, Krauthammer – you gotta go East.”
Palin said former Bush adviser Karl Rove – who has criticized Palin’s Delaware protégé Christine O’Donnell – could come do his penance in Iowa, where he “will see the light and realize that these are just the normal, hardworking, patriot Americans who are saying, 'No. Enough is enough. We want to turn this around and we want to get back to those time-tested truths that are right for America.'”
Palin’s audience were members of Iowa’s Republican establishment, a group key to winning the Iowa caucuses on the path to the 2012 presidential nomination, but her speech made clear that she’s no closer to pursuing a traditional path to the presidency than she was when she stopped taking orders from John McCain’s campaign manager at the end of the 2008 campaign. (Continues here)