Sarah Palin on Monday offered a warning shot to Republicans who don’t cater to Tea Party wishes, telling them they’d be “through.”
“I think the machine within the GOP will realize the ‘we the people’ within message is rising and is resonating throughout with independents, with moderates, with hard core conservatives because it’s so full of common sense,” Palin told CNN.
“And time tested truths that could put the economy back on track that heaven forbid the GOP machine strays from this message if so, the GOP is through,” the party’s former vice presidential nominee added.
Palin is also believed to be testing the waters for a 2012 presidential run, and this message could be a part of that exercise. Though she remains popular among core conservative voters, a large majority of Americans — over 70 percent, according to some polls — don’t think she’s qualified for the job.
Her comments remind observers that the Tea Party movement has thus far widely opposed the creation of its own third party out of electoral pragmatism, as defeating Democrats is central to its mission. But her threat could be credible if the GOP continues to frustrate conservatives.
Embracing “Tea Party ideals” has become an article of faith among conservative politicians during the last two years, as it offers the GOP, which is still suffering from a notably poor brand image, an opportunity to repackage their views under a different banner.
The “Tea Party” label has been endlessly studied and marveled over, and surveys consistently suggest that the movement consists predominantly of elements within the Republican Party’s right flank. Its slogans are popular but its policies have been met with skepticism from those outside the conservative movement.
Some Tea Party-backed candidates whom Palin has endorsed, such as Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell, are generating enthusiasm but doing more harm than good to the GOP’s electoral prospects.
Recognizing this energy, Republican leaders have been careful not to irritate the Tea Party, fearful of losing its support. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a longtime moderate who has tacked increasingly rightward in recent years, embraced Palin’s message Monday.
The following video is from CNN.