Opinion Brief

Sarah Palin's 'grand slam' anti-union speech

After plummeting in the polls and being written off by pundits, Palin gives a rousing, campaign-like speech in Wisconsin. Is the Mama Grizzly back?

It's been a rough few months for Sarah Palin. Her poll numbers took a nose dive, and pundits on both sides all but dismissed her chances of becoming a viable presidential contender. But this weekend in Madison, Wis., the old Palin was back, delivering a stemwinder in which she defended Gov. Scott Walker (R) and sharply criticized President Obama, unions, and the GOP leadership. About 6,500 people showed up to the state capitol, with the crowd split about evenly between Tea Party activists and union supporters, who staged their own rally close by. Palin's speech was covered by CNN and Fox News, and roundly praised by conservative commentators. Is this the beginning of Palin's return from the political wilderness?

Palin pointed to left field, and hit a "grand slam": I hope this means Palin is running for president, because this was "the single best stump speech I’ve heard since, well, Palin's '08 convention speech," says Jim Nolte at Big Government. Her "tight, sharp, and articulate attack" on Obama's fiscal failures sent "a thrill... up everything in me that’s American," and if she keeps this up, Obama and Palin's GOP rivals should be very afraid."Sarah Palin... points to Left field, and hits a grand slam"

Indeed, Palin is back: "Political professionals and insiders have been writing off" Palin for months, says James Pethokoukis at Reuters, but this one "powerful, pugnacious, and presidential speech" made Palin instantly and "completely relevant to the current political and policy battles raging across America." Does this mean she's running? "Palin herself may not have made a decision." But this "high-wattage appearance in Madison shows "she's back.""Palin in Madison: Veni, vidi, vici"

So where were all her fans? "It's not a good sign" for Palin that her supporters were outnumbered at their own rally by the counter-demonstrating pro-union crowd, says Steve Benen at Washington Monthly. And its a terrible sign for the Tea Party, and the billionaire Koch brothers, whose Americans for Prosperity paid for a "parade of odd right-wing figures" to speak. I'm sure the hundreds of Tea Partiers enjoyed Palin's "fairly predictable rhetoric," but their small numbers don't portend well for Palin, or the clamorous grassroots movement."High intensity, low turnout in Madison"

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