My Excellent CPAC Adventure
October 10, 2011
By Tom Barrett
In the recent Republican debate and the CPAC conference that followed, I heard Ronald Reagan quoted more often than preachers quote the Bible. It is interesting to note that Reagan seldom quoted other presidents. Perhaps there is a lesson in that for our nine candidates: Think for yourself and quit trying to be Reagan, and perhaps one day you will be remembered as a great leader and others will quote you.
If you read my last article, you know that my wonderful wife gave me a birthday gift of and admission ticket to CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, held in Orlando. That article was about the Republican debate which was held in conjunction with CPAC. I suggest that you read that in conjunction with this article. It can be found at http://conservativetruth.org/article.php?id=2641. In it I give a perspective on the debate that can only come from being there in person. I found that it is impossible for television to capture the reality of what goes in the room.
I literally had a front row seat for most of the CPAC conference. The photos that accompany this article were taken fifteen feet from the main stage. Four thousand concerned citizens listened as the candidates and special guest like Anne Coulter and Dick Armey spoke about the state of our nation and the danger of a second Obama administration. They also discussed strategies to ensure that that disaster does not occur.
The difference between the debate and the CPAC event is that I got to hear what the candidates stand for and believe in their own words. Each was given fifteen minutes to say whatever they wanted America to know about them. This was far more satisfying than 30 to 60 seconds sound bites, controlled in large part by moderators. I learned more about the candidates in those nine fifteen minute speeches than I learned in all the debates combined.
I took fourteen pages of notes during the conference. I have enough material to write my weekly articles for the next several months. But the reality of what I do is that by next week there will be other important events to analyze, so much of what I learned will not be used unless I use it today.
So I decided to do something unusual. The majority of this week’s column will be simply quotes and one-liners with very little commentary. Most of the people who spoke were so eloquent that a sentence or two that they spoke can stand alone. It was rather like being at a church dinner, where everyone brought their best stuff to the meal.
Most of what I considered important enough to write down was serious. Some, like Anne Coulter’s comments, were funny while making important points. Where I use quotation marks I will cite the speaker. But many of the comments will not be attributed, either because I was writing very fast and thought I would remember who made them, or (more often) because they were composites of remarks made by several speakers. So here we go…
Newt Gingrich: “We have an educational system in America that refuses to teach American history or American values.”
We are citizens, not subjects.
Herman Cain: “I will be a Paycheck president, not a Food Stamp president.”
Most Americans are opposed to using our tax dollars for abortions. Then why are we using American tax dollars to pay for abortions all over the world?
The National Debt is not the almost $15 Trillion number often quoted by the media. They ignore the unfunded liabilities of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Unfunded liabilities are monies that the government is obligated to pay, but are not included in the budget. The REAL National Debt is $62 Trillion total debt - $532,000 per American family.
America only works when America is working. Obama’s Jobs Bill will not create jobs; it is the “Son of Stimulus.” It is just another excuse to raise taxes that will actually kill job creation.
Wayne LaPierre (Executive Director of the NRA): “Save the Second Amendment from a Second Obama White House.” Obama has kept his hands off American gun rights during his first term. “This is a pure political calculation designed to get him reelected.” If he gets a second term, the gloves will come off, and we can expect to see gun confiscations.
Speaking about aggressively attacking the nation’s worst problem, the National Debt, Dick Armey talked about “Republicans that don’t dare, and Democrats that don’t care.” According to many at the Conference, the gravest threat to our national security is the National Debt.
Anne Coulter: “Obama saved or created the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, and the Great Lakes.”
On ObamaCare, she explained, “If you don’t buy an ObamaCare policy, you will get fines. If you don’t pay the fine, you will go to jail. This is called ‘The Public Option.’”
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz came in for her share of criticism for her stupid statement that Republicans “Treat illegal immigration like it was a crime.” Speakers ridiculed Obama’s call for a “path to citizenship” for people whose first act in this country was to break our immigration laws. They said, “We HAVE a path to citizenship – it’s called LEGAL immigration. Currently 4.7 Million people have applied and are waiting in line for legal citizenship. Obama wants to shove 20 Million illegals to the front of that line.
Joe “Bumbling” Biden’s famous quote on the Solyndra loan guarantee was quoted by several speakers: “This is exactly what the Recovery Act was all about.” Of course, now that the scandal of the White House pushing the Energy Department to give the loan guarantees to a company tied to a huge Obama campaign donor has become known, Obama is muzzling Biden – once again. Prior to Solyndra squandering half a Trillion dollars on a lavish plant and offices (including a spa), and then going bankrupt, Obama said, “The true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra.”
Other quotes heard several times were from Danny Denon, Deputy Speaker of Israel’s Knesset. “Obama is zigzagging in accordance with whatever will bring him more votes and justify his Nobel Peace Prize,” and “Israel will not pay [Obama's] private tuition as he tries to understand the essence of the conflict.” Newt Gingrich spoke of one way the US can help its only ally in the Middle East: Move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.
It is well known that Obama reveres FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) as one of our nation’s greatest heroes, and models his Administration after FDR’s. Obama seems oblivious to the fact that FDR was probably the worst president (prior to Obama himself) our nation has ever had. He was the one who he started the nation down the path to Socialism, resulting in a 96% decrease in the purchasing power of the Dollar since he took us off the Gold Standard. FDR was quoted in the Conference describing the Constitution as a “Marvelously elastic document.” Judging by Obama’s abuse of the Constitution, he agrees with FDR on this as well.
2.5 Million jobs have been lost under the Obama Administration; one in six Americans is out of work. The official unemployment rate ignores the fact that 16.25% of Americans are under-employed (people who want to work full time, but can only find part time jobs). And it ignores the millions of Americans who have given up on finding work, and are not listed because they no longer draw unemployment. Even though the government figures don’t list them as unemployed – they are unemployed nonetheless.
The Fair Tax would create tens of millions of jobs, yet the White House (and most of the Republican candidates) ignores it. Politicians hate it because it would take power away from – politicians.
Florida will be a key state in this election. Governor Rick Scott, speaking at both the debate and at CPAC, called it a “must-win state.” With that in mind, candidates would be smart to pay attention to a poll that was quoted at CPAC, in which 72% of the residents of the state say they support a Balanced Budget Amendment – with NO tax increases. As I mentioned in my last article, the most popular button worn by attendees underscored the fact that it is not just the economy that will play a key role in this election. It said, “It’s the SPENDING, Stupid!”
Along that line, the Straw Poll taken during the Convention asked what the single most important factor was for the respondents:
1) 85% chose “Independence, freedom, and small government”
2) 10% chose “Traditional Values”
3) 5% chose “Safety – National Defense”
In a conference heavily attended by people who believe in traditional values and a strong national defense, the fact that the great majority put economic freedom as their key concern speaks volumes about what is going to get conservatives to vote, and who they will vote for.
In a separate question, 93% said they would vote for a candidate who would cut spending and fix the Debt problem. I see this as a fair warning to some of the less Conservative candidates in the race.
Speaking of Conservatives, the TEA Party had a big impact at this event. Not only did they sponsor the previous debate (held in Tampa), but they also had speakers at this event who represented the TEA Party’s point of view. Their clear message was that no candidate in this election will receive the Republican nomination without TEA Party support. This is a problem for Romney, who has been asked in debates about whether he supports the TEA Party. He has always waffled on this question.
TEA Party leaders noted that they played a huge role in getting Scott Brown elected. This was a major upset because Brown won the Senate seat held by “Teddy” Kennedy for decades. It was “certain” that the Democrat contender would keep the seat safely in their Party. But with TEA Party help, Brown won – and nobody remembers the Democrat’s name!
They also brought up the TEA Party’s part in defeating the Wisconsin recall of their Governor after he successfully battled union abuses.
They made it clear that the Republican Party does not own the TEA Party. As one spokesman said, “We’re fighting for the soul of America. We’re happy if the GOP comes along.”
Niger Innis, a black Conservative, spoke on one of the panels about the fact that he doesn’t want to live an America where:
1) 1/2 of marriages end in divorce;
2) 1/3 of babies are murdered in their mother’s wombs;
3) 1/4 of high school graduates can’t read; and
4) Black young men between 12 and 20 are more likely to be murdered here in the US than our soldiers are to be killed in combat overseas.
The conference ended with two inspirational speeches. One speaker was the Lt. Governor of Florida, Jennifer Carrol, the first black woman ever elected to this office. She was born in Trinidad, and adopted by an American couple when she was a baby. She joined the Navy and distinguished herself there. A true conservative, she quoted her parents as saying, “No one owes you anything.” She spoke of her relentless commitment “to serve the people, not myself. “ She ended with these inspiring words for black people and women seeking high office: “I hold the door of opportunity open for you who come behind me.”
Also impressive was Luis Fortuno, the Governor of Puerto Rico. He believes that “Hispanics are Republicans; they just don’t know it yet.” I tend to believe this statement, since most Hispanics are Conservative in their views. They have just been marketed into voting Democrat because the Dems have done a great job of lying to them and claiming to represent their interests. He is the first Republican to be elected Governor since 1969. After over 30 years in power, the Democrats had almost destroyed the economy of this beautiful US Territory. But Fortuno has done a wonderful job of cleaning up Puerto Rico, as evidenced by the fact that since he took office in 2008:
1) He has cut government expenditures from 44% of revenues to 7%.
2) He has reduced the deficit more than any US state.
3) And he has hugely slashed government regulations. One example: To get a business license, owners used to have to go through the red tape of TWENTY-ONE separate government offices. Now they go to ONE office to get their license.
This Conference has been a highlight of the year for me. My main take-away is that Obama is going to be a One-Term-President, as Michelle Bachman likes to say. I believe that any of the nine candidates (even the ones I don’t favor) can not only do a ten times better job of running the country than Obama; any of them can also beat him next year.
Team Obama likes to talk about their “landslide victory” over McCain in 2008. First, there was no landslide. Obama won the popular vote by just three percentage points. Second, with all he had going for him, he SHOULD have won by a landslide…
1) He outspent McCain by hundreds of percent, largely due to illegal campaign contributions.
2) McCain was a weak, dispirited candidate. Everyone knew that if he had own, it was very unlikely that he would have run for a second term. That makes it hard to get people excited.
3) Obama had the advantage of being the “new kid on the block,” running against an unpopular Republican administration, and an unpopular war.
Things have changed. Many of the dirty tricks he used in the last campaign won’t work today, thanks to advances in technology. For instance, he used different ads and different speeches in various parts of the country, selectively targeting his message to the demographic. One example is when he ridiculed Southerners for “clinging to God and guns.” Of course he only did that with Liberal Northern audiences who believe people in the South are a lower life form. He also spoke to a Jewish group and professed support for Israel, and the same week spoke to a Muslim group and promised them that Jerusalem would be their capitol. Today lies and contradictions like that will be on YouTube within an hour.
I don’t want to imply that we won’t have to fight to save the nation from another disastrous four years of Obama. We will. But we have a lot going for us. Obama’s poll numbers are in the toilet. Most Independents are Conservative in their views. And America is finally getting the fact that we are in danger of losing everything because of Obama’s failed economic policies.
If I learned anything at CPAC, it is that we have a chance to elect a truly Conservative president. We don’t have to settle for a pseudo-Conservative in order to avoid offending the Left. The Socialist-Democrat-Leftists are on the ropes. They are playing defense. We need to push our advantage and elect a REAL Conservative who will slash the Debt, slash spending, and slash Big Government.
Amen. (Which means, “So be it.”)