Sarah Palin at CPAC: "Mr. President, you won. Accept it."

Amidst the inevitable “Why is Sarah Palin invited to CPAC?”-type media buzz, Sen. Ted Cruz — in advance of his keynote speech later this evening — volunteered his own reasons for Palin’s presence on Saturday and made it clear that he has no plans to try and stealthily unhitch his wagon from the anti-establishment mentality that helped blaze his trail into office. Making a surprise celebrity shot just before Sarah Palin took the stage, Cruz reminded the crowd of Sarah Palin’s role in helping our current roster of young, conservative rock-stars get elected in the first place: “The mainstream media is absolutely convinced that women cannot be conservatives. … That’s why Gov. Palin drives the mainstream media bat-crap crazy. It shakes up their entire world view, and you know what, she can pick winners. Sarah Palin jumped in early and supported Rand Paul. She supported Marco Rubio. She supported Tim Scott. She supported Pat Toomey. She supported Nikki Haley. And this last election cycle, there were three Republicans who won new seats, Deb Fischer, Jeff Flake, and myself. She supported all three of us. Let me tell you something: I would not be in the U.S. Senate today if it were not for Gov. Sarah Palin. She is fearless, she is principled, she is courageous, and she is a mama grizzly.”

Cue Sarah Palin, who definitely did not shy away from slamming the shady, back-room, crusty old Washington power structure, but also took President Obama to the cleaners on his utter bankruptcy of leadership skills: “We don’t have leadership coming out of Washington. We have reality television. … Well, the election came and went. But, the campaign never stopped. At a time when our country is desperate for leadership, we get instead a permanent campaign. … Leaders reach across political differences, campaigners double down on those differences. … Leaders seek to bring Americans together to confront our challenges, and campaigners, they seek to divide and conquer and orchestrate crisis after crisis after crisis, to exploit. Mr. President, you won. We accept it. Now step away from the teleprompter and do your job.” Heh.