Video Footage from CPAC 2012

This was one of my favorite speeches from day three:

I think McElhinney nails it; environmentalism is definitely a class issue. I have no problem with the Teddy Roosevelt sort of conservationism in which we set aside national parks for the enjoyment of the public and pursue reasonable policies to protect the environment. Really, I don’t think anyone objects to having clean air and clean water. But when people propose that we shut down large swaths of productive farmland in California for the sake of a fish – or that we block the construction of a pipeline that would bring thousands of JOBS to America’s heartland – I do have a problem. At that point, it’s not about “saving the environment.” It’s about exercising your power and screwing over people who, by the way, are probably a lot poorer than you are. Environmentalism, in essence, has morphed into a quasi-religion that our coastal elites have adopted so that they may feel better about themselves and their enormous carbon footprints.

And you know, whenever I re-watch McElhinney’s speech, I always find myself wishing we had a similar warrior on the contraception issue — someone with the cojones to call Obama and Sebelius out for the liars they are. Allowing the Catholic Church her freedom of conscience will not cut off anyone’s access to contraception. Condoms are distributed free of charge in clinics across the nation. Birth control pills are also widely available and extremely affordable. We don’t need insurance companies to make contraception “free” (as if you could actually do such a thing). No — what this is about, once again, is power. It’s about the Obama administration using the authority it was granted through Obamacare to expand the anti-life agenda and fire up its base. It’s reprehensible, it’s unconstitutional, and I’m glad our bishops are fighting back.

(By the way, the clip above was shot by Anang B., whom I met at CPAC and whose You Tube channel is here. I recommend checking out all of his videos, as they provide a good sampling of what went on over the course of the convention.)

CPAC 2012, Day Three – The Straw Poll

I saw several terrific speeches today, but I’m completely exhausted, so discussing them will have to wait. What I will do, however, is link you to the results of the CPAC Straw Poll (in which Mitt Romney was victorious).

Personally, I wish I had access to the raw data they collected, as I’m interested in learning the answers to the following questions:

  • Among those who stated that their top goal was promoting individual freedom and reducing the size of government, how many supported Romney and how many supported the other candidates?
  • Among those who stated that their top goal was defending traditional values, how many supported Romney?
  • Among those who stated that national defense was their top concern, how many supported Romney?
  • What were the age breakdowns? Are young people leaning more towards Romney, for example? (For what it’s worth, I suspect the answer to this question might be yes given that Romney did better with CPAC voters than with the general public — and as the above link reveals, said CPAC voters were younger than their counterparts in the national sample.)
  • What were the gender breakdowns?

Also, note the significant percentage of people in the national sample who are still undecided when it comes to the Republican presidential contest. I don’t think Romney has this in the bag just yet.

CPAC 2012, Day Two – Three Candidates, Three Different Strategies

As you know, today was Stump Speech Day at CPAC. Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich attempted to make their case to the convention’s attendees, and each used a slightly different approach. My personal observations are as follows:

  • Rick Santorum brought his entire family on stage (except for his youngest, who is still recovering from pneumonia) to emphasize his soc-con credentials and appealed to the audience to look for honor and integrity in their candidate instead of a massive war chest. He also continued to push his pro-manufacturing agenda — or, to use the Wall Street Journal term, his “supply-side economics for the working man.” And he vigorously decried both the contraception mandate and Obama’s obstructionism in re: domestic energy production.

    Throughout his speech, Santorum was trying to position himself as the Not Romney. At the start, he stated that his priority was to help the poor and struggling, which to me sounded like a thinly-veiled swipe at Mitt’s recent remarks in re: our supposed safety net. He also criticized Romney’s record on health care without mentioning Mitt by name.

  • Mitt Romney, on the other hand, spent a lot of time defending his record. And, to be fair, his achievements aren’t insignificant. He did save the 2002 Olympics. He did improve the budget situation in deep-blue Massachusetts. He did defend the Catholic Church’s right to run her own adoption agencies in her own way. And yes — he shouldn’t have to apologize for being a businessman. If Mitt were to take up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, he would certainly be a drastic improvement over Obama. But right-wingers still have difficulty trusting him. If you ever watch the video of Mitt’s speech, you will hear quite a bit of enthusiastic cheering. What you will not hear is what I heard in the hallway afterwards: a lot of people grumbling about “Romney-bots” being “planted” in the audience and “stock phrases that will never be fulfilled.” One student even told me that he thought Mitt was lying through his teeth!
  • Lastly, Newt Gingrich played to the Tea Party’s distrust of Washington. He mocked the establishment for taking so long to accomplish the simplest tasks and declared that DC needs bold, “unrealistic” reform. To that end, he promised to do the following things during the first twenty-four hours of his presidency: 1) sign bills repealing Obamacare, Sarbanes-Oxley, and Dodd-Frank, which he hopes the Congress will have ready for him by the time he’s sworn in; 2) get rid of all of Obama’s tzars; 3) approve the Keystone pipeline; 4) reinstate the pro-life Mexico City policy; 5) repeal the contraception mandate and any other Obama administration attempts to curb religious freedom. Basically, he stated, he wants to repeal 40% of Obama’s program before his first day is up. It all sounded rather grandiose to me, but that’s how Newt usually rolls.

In all honesty, I think the ideal Republican candidate would be someone who could use a fusion of these approaches — someone with Santorum’s religious values and appreciation for the working class, Romney’s business sense, and Gingrich’s willingness to stick it to The Man. Unfortunately, we can only pick one champion (so to speak), and like SABR Matt, I’m leaning towards Santorum because I like his pro-blue-collar ground game and the authenticity of his pro-life message. Of course, I can’t actually vote for Santorum in March thanks to Virginia’s uptight election laws, but that doesn’t mean I can’t cheer for his success elsewhere. Go, Rick, Go! Give Mitt a run for his money!

CPAC 2012, Day One

Went to several policy-oriented panels today, but I’ll be writing those up later once I’ve recovered from the frenzy of attending the conference and have had a chance to organize my personal responses. (In other words, expect CPAC to be my source of inspiration for this blog for the next week or so.) Right now, I’d just like to record a few drive-by observations:

  • Throughout the day, I conducted a highly informal and grossly unscientific study: I counted campaign stickers. My result? Rick Santorum was leading the pack by far when it comes to Sticker-Wearing Enthusiasm. I saw maybe one Mitt sticker all day — and the same goes for Newt. Santorum, on the other hand, was being promoted on lapels left and right. Make of that what you will.
  • The GOP field has definitely been frustrating this year, but today, I saw reason for hope: Our up-and-comers – like Marco Rubio and Rand Paul (who is not as insane as the Ronulan) – are awesome. These guys know how to articulate our message in a manner that is both intelligent and personally appealing. Rubio focused on America’s positive impact on the rest of the world, arguing – correctly, I feel – that the so-called “American Century” was a time of phenomenal progress for the entire human family because our example inspired others to seek liberty and free enterprise and reject the repression that, throughout history, has been the rule for mankind rather than the exception. “The greatest thing we can do for the world,” Rubio stated at one point, “is be America.” I couldn’t agree more. Rand Paul, meanwhile, needled Obama for rewarding his rich cronies and cleverly pointed out that Obama’s policies are actually hurting – not helping – the poor. Gas is nearly four dollars a gallon now, he noted, and food prices are rising as well. Both of these realities disproportionately impact low-income families, and they are the direct result of a left-wing energy policy that assumes everyone can afford hybrids and “energy efficient” light bulbs. “Do you hate all poor people,” Paul asked Obama, “or do you just hate poor people who have jobs?” To which I added under my breath, “Or poor people who want jobs.” Just think, for example, of all the poor people who would’ve had jobs had the Keystone Pipeline not been vetoed.
  • At least five separate times, someone on the stage mentioned the contraception mandate, and I personally find that very gratifying. This is not just a Catholic boutique issue. It should be a hot-button topic for anyone who cares about religious freedom, and I’m glad that CPAC’s speakers seem to instinctively recognize what’s at stake.

Tomorrow night, I will have even more to report. Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich are on the Friday schedule, and I will be attending all three of those speeches. Be sure to stay tuned!

Looks Like We Might See Some Excitement @ CPAC

According to the Labor Union Report, the Occupy crowd and their union supporters are attempting to orchestrate a party crash:

Next weekend, political conservatives from all over the nation will be descending on Washington, DC to attend the annual Conservative Political Action Conference—better known as CPAC. Across town, however, union bosses and their adopted #OccupyDC progeny appear to be planning to disrupt and lay siege to the conservative conference.

According to the AFL-CIO’s Washington DC Metro Council website, “Actions are currently being planned for noontime and after work on Friday, February 10.”

Don’t worry, though. Your intrepid onsite CPAC reporter will be careful — though she is bringing her video camera just in case.

Sarah Palin to Keynote CPAC

As reported by

Sarah Palin to Keynote CPAC

For the past four years, she has swayed, danced and dodged around the Conservative Political Action Conference, but, this year, Sarah Palin says she has committed to deliver the keynote address Feb. 11, the last day of the conference.

Now I really want to be sure I get that whole weekend off! Palin may have dropped off the 2012 election radar, but I still love her rather intensely and am dying to see her speak.