CPAC 2013 (With Updates)

Highlights from the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference held in Washington D.C.:

Watch live HERE.

CPAC Speakers.

Schedule HERE.

Videos HERE.

Notable quotes:

Marco Rubio:

That’s what’s at stake in America’s greatness. This is not just about national pride. The truth of the matter is don’t take this for granted. What we have here is different and special and historic. In the vast history of the world and of mankind, almost everyone that’s ever been born is poor and disadvantaged with no ability to get ahead. What’s made us different is that here people have had the real chance to get a better life no matter where they started out. And do not underestimate what that has meant for the world. Now, as soon as I’m done speaking I’ll tell you what the criticism on the left is gonna be. Number one, he drank too much water. Number two, that he didn’t offer any new ideas. And there’s the fallacy of it. We don’t need a new idea. There is an idea. The idea is called America. And it still works.

Of course, Obama dismisses any notion of American exceptionalism.

Rand Paul:

“The GOP of old has grown stale and moss-covered…”I don’t think we need to name any names, do we? Our party is encumbered by an inconsistent approach to freedom. The new GOP will need to embrace liberty in both the economic and the personal sphere.”

The GOP needs an overhaul.  More on that in a future post.

Rick Perry:

“The popular media narrative is that this country has shifted away from conservative ideals, as evidenced by the last two presidential elections. That’s what they think. That’s what say. That might be true if Republicans had actually nominated conservative candidates in 2008 and 2012.”

Perry also slammed Obama for releasing illegal aliens into the streets of America due to “sequestration cuts”:

“This president’s posture, it’d be laughable if he hadn’t taken it one step too far, dangerously releasing criminals onto our streets to make a political point,” Perry told the crowd at CPAC. “When you have a federally-sponsored jailbreak, and don’t get confused, that’s exactly what that is — when you’ve had a federally-sponsored jailbreak, you’ve crossed the line from politics of spin to politics as a craven form of cynicism.”

Allen West:

“I’m speaking from experience when I tell you that there is nothing on this green earth that a liberal progressive fears more than a black American who wants a better life and a smaller government.

I’m tired of liberals dividing this country up into little groups, setting them upon each other, breeding spite and envy — and then having the nerve to accuse conservatives of hatred.

In the real world, I see conservatives giving to more charity than liberals, even though their paychecks may be smaller. In the real world, I see conservatives volunteering at adoption agencies, at churches, at bake sales, and the local American Legion post — while the only charity a progressive sends is a smug sermon on fair share and what fairness is.

Louie Gohmert:

“Benefit your friends, make sure your enemies suffer from being your enemies.”

NRA Chief Wayne LaPierre:

“I didn’t come here to be popular; I came here to stand for what I believe is true.” As for the elitists in the mainstream media and the nation’s capital: “Let them be damned,” he said.

LaPierre reserved his harshest criticism for Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security, which suggested in a recent Web video that citizens protect themselves from gunmen with scissors.

“Scissors? That’s their answer?” LaPierre asked. “Let’s get this straight: To protect our children at school, we recommend a trained professional with a gun, and they recommend scissors? And they say we’re crazy? It’s sheer madness.”

He went on to mock the advice offered by Vice President Joe Biden in a recent town hall, in which he counseled a young woman to protect herself with a double-barreled shotgun, arguing that such a weapon is preferable to a semi-automatic rifle. “The vice president of the United States actually told women facing an attack to just empty their shotguns into the air. Honestly, have they lost their minds over at the White House?” The question was rhetorical, and the crowd whistled and cheered in approval.

“Keep your advice, we’ll keep our guns,” LaPierre concluded, to sustained applause.

Paul Ryan:

Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, defended his plan to slash spending by $4.6 trillion, roll back President Barack Obama’s health care initiative and balance the budget in 10 years.

He jabbed at the Democrats, telling the crowd, “You know, this has been a really big week. We got white smoke from the Vatican – and a budget from the Senate.”

Brent Bozell had a few choice words for the Republicans:

In particular, Bozell rebuked Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) for his budget, Gov. Haley Barbour for his barbs against conservatives, and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for funding Obamacare:
“So what do we conservatives believe? What is a conservative?

“Throughout this wonderful conference so many very good leaders have discussed this so eloquently. Another discussion is unnecessary. Instead, let me tell you first what a conservative isn’t.

“Paul Ryan, you’re a good man and you mean well, and good for you for your courage trying to reform Medicare and rid us of Obamacare. But your proposed budget that has the federal government spending $41 TRILLION over the next ten years, with more and more and more spending increases every single year, and assumes all the oppressive Obamacare taxes. Congressman, that’s what liberal Democrats do, not us.

“This is not conservatism. It is, literally, Democrat Lite.

“Do you have national aspirations? Do yourself and your country a favor. Rip that budget up and come back with one that truly does reduce the size of government, which puts us on the path toward a balanced budget by reducing deficits, and one that puts us on the path of solvency by eradicating our debt. Watch what happens to both your national aspirations, and your legacy.

“Haley Barbour, my friend, when you call for unity and on conservatives to “sing from the same hymnal” and then publicly trash good conservative groups like Club for Growth for supporting good conservatives, you’re out of tune, and you’re out of line. Do you want to be seen as a national conservative leader? Start supporting national conservative groups.

“John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Kevin McCarthy: You said all the right things to conservatives to propel the GOP back to the majority and you to the top three leadership positions in the House.

‘You, like virtually every single other Republican elected to Congress solemnly vowed to rid us of Obamacare, which you can do simply by refusing to fund it. Why haven’t you done so?

……”You’ve done nothing for over two years but give us excuses and more commitments that tomorrow, yes tomorrow, you’ll honor your promises. Gentlemen, where promises are concerned, you are not what you promised to be.

“Do you want to restore your reputations as conservative leaders? All you need to do is honor your promises. They were good ones. Watch what happens next. You’ll be heroes.”

Dr. Ben Carson:

“We continue to spend ourselves into oblivion,” said Carson, adding the country’s younger generations have become “uniformed” and “ignorant.”
He said if somebody was in the White House and “wanted to destroy this nation,” then “that person might create division among the people … undermine the financial stability of the country … weaken the military … .Coincidentally, those are the very things that are happening right now.”

Ann Coulter:

“The reason we don’t have the Senate is because Republicans keep screwing up,” Coulter said in her speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Certain Senate races were “just pissed away though narcissism, greed or stupidity,” she added, referring in particular to former U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin in Missouri for his “legitimate rape” comment. “We can stop encouraging candidates to show off for the base,” she declared.

Coulter also chastised the GOP for rewarding celebrity status to candidates who lose elections.

“Where’s Howard Dean’s TV show?” she asked rhetorically, referring to Fox News’s penchant for hiring failed Republican candidates as either show hosts or contributors. She used former Sen. Dennis Kucinich as an example of one Democrat who is now employed by a TV network (Fox News). “And that was only after Keelber let him out of his contract.”

Though Coulter’s speech hit on many of the issues the author is known to tackle, it was filled with a number of similar scathing and quick one-liners.

On the effects of sequestration, Coulter said “even CPAC had to cut back on speakers this year by about 300 pounds,” a reference to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s absence from the event. On the so-called “war on women” and political activist Sandra Fluke’s cry for taxpayer-subsidized birth control, Coulter said Fluke’s haircut is “birth control enough.”

Sarah Palin:
“Barack Obama promised the most transparent administration ever. Barack Obama, you lie,” the former Alaska governor said in an address to the Conservative Political Action Conference near Washington.

She was echoing a line from a Republican member of the House of Representatives who shouted at Obama during a speech to Congress in 2009 and accused him of lying about healthcare for illegal immigrants.
“More background checks? Dandy idea, Mr. President. Should have started with yours,” she said in a speech peppered with one-liners and folksy language.

Palin called on Republicans to stick to conservative principles as they learn lessons from Obama’s 2012 election victory over Mitt Romney.

“We’re not here to put a fresh coat of rhetorical paint on our party. We’re not here to abandon our principles in a contest of government giveaways. That’s a game we will never, ever win. We’re here to restore America,” she said.

Ted Cruz:

Walking back and forth across the stage in his patented style, Cruz delivered body blows to both establishment Republicans and to the Obama administration. Urging conservatives to “stand for principle,” he said, “I think 2014 has the potential to be a very, very good year, but the number one way we can screw it up is if we fail to stand on principle.”

As an example of standing on principle, he mentioned Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) filibustering over President Obama’s drone policy. “We have an administration that seems to recognize no limits on its power,” said Cruz. Paul pointed that out with his filibuster – and more than that, Cruz pointed out, he made the constitution the issue. Holder, Cruz continued, seemed confused by all the talk about constitutionalism versus what was “appropriate” when it came to drone use, as though he expected Americans to simply trust the administration without reference to the appropriate scope of presidential power. But, said Cruz, “the entire premise of the US constitution is that we don’t trust you.”

It wasn’t just the Obama administration that opposed the filibuster, Cruz continued. “There were more than a few Republicans who didn’t show up, who held their manhoods accursed and cheapened,” Cruz said, paraphrasing Henry V.

Cruz saved heavy criticism for the media as well. Laughing at MSNBC’s attempt to offer advice to Republicans, Cruz said, “MSNBC on how to save the Republican Party is like Typhoid Mary giving the keys to good health.”

Most of Cruz’s speech was directed at the Obama administration’s regulatory and fiscal policy. Regulators and administrators, he said, were multiplying and occupying America like locusts. After seeing a picture of locusts descending on Egypt on the Drudge Report, he said, “I thought we’d sent the EPA.”

The biggest surprise about the US Senate, Cruz explained, was the “widespread sense of defeatism … It’s maddening.” But he said that he and his Tea Party colleagues “ain’t gonna stop … A lot of good things happen when you stand for principle.”

The standout speakers were the ones who gave the GOP the chastising it deserves for not standing up for its principles. Romney lost not because more Obama voters showed up—he had a poor showing compared to the last election—but because at least 3 million Republicans stayed home.


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