Winning a New Generation of Young Conservatives

A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government. – Thomas Jefferson

The political paths of young adults are often guided by the environment they were raised in. The “Roaring Twenties,” with Presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, created a conservative voting bloc that remained staunchly Republican. Franklin Roosevelt’s charisma and plan during the Great Depression created a group of lifelong Democrats. The Reagan Revolution built a nationalistic excitement based in unprecedented prosperity…and produced a new batch of Republicans along with it. The Bush years (the only president on the list whose era lacked a catchy nickname) left many young adults disenchanted with the perceived tone deafness of the executive branch and threatened to lose a generation of potential Republicans.

It is clear that the economic environment and the president’s response have a direct effect on the political ties of an entire generation. Obama should consider himself warned. A new Rasmussen poll shows that a vast majority of young adults aged 18-29 believe the nation is headed in the wrong direction. By a 68% to 23% margin young adults believe the United States is on the wrong track rather than the right direction – the highest margin of any age group polled.

During the campaign Barack Obama appeared as if he was going to capture the hearts of a generation. Hope and change resonated with young adults who were completely fed up a Washington removed from their cares and concerns. But President Obama is not the same as Campaign Obama and Republicans stand ready to reap the rewards.

Democrats failed to understand that they were elected to change Washington. Well young adults have now given up on changing government and simply want to minimize its role in their lives. A straw poll , taken at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference with 56% of respondents being 25 years of age or younger, confirmed this desire. When asked for the top two issues that matter to you personally reducing the size of the federal government and reducing government spending were far and away the top two choices.

Somewhat surprisingly young conservatives are willing to overlook things that will benefit them immediately – stimulating the economy and lowering taxes – because of a greater understanding of the long term threats of the deficit. President Obama, by focusing on big government initiatives such as health care and big ticket items like the stimulus, is losing the support of young adults.

Millennials have very few examples of government success in our lifetimes. Medicare is heading in to the red. We don’t believe we’re going to see a dime of Social Security benefits. The list goes on. Medicaid, the Post Office, the response to Katrina – simply put, we have been presented with little evidence that the government is equipped to handle our problems. The natural reaction to a federal government headed in the wrong direction? Make it smaller and have it spend less.

Listen up Republicans. Our generation is not lost to the pretty sounding words of a charismatic president. In fact, if new polls are any indication, we’re trending conservative. And we represent the next generation of the Republican party, the foundation of the conservative movement going forward.  The boots on the ground today, and the votes in the ballot box tomorrow. But you must understand what President Obama clearly doesn’t – we’re not willing to mortgage our future for a slight benefit today, we don’t believe the government is the answer to our problems, and we are legitimately scared by the ballooning debt. Do this right and Milllennials will become your biggest ally.\

- Brandon Greife, Political Director of the College Republican National Committee.

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Why Ron Paul's CPAC Victory is Good for the Movement

The response to Ron Paul's CPAC straw poll win ranged somewhere between dismay and outright panic. Let me offer a contrarian take. 

I have written in recent years about CPAC being an insular affair -- a trade show for Beltway conservative groups, but little more. The vibe I picked up at this year's CPAC was a little different -- more students, more grassroots, more friends from outside the Beltway making the trip. Matt Lewis has an astute take on this shift: 


CPAC director Lisa De Pasquale told me: "Our pre-registration numbers were 20 percent above last year's. We're expecting over 10,000 attendees and more than half of them are college students. I think it really speaks to the excitement and energy in the conservative movement right now."

One seasoned CPAC veteran, who asked not be named, bluntly told me, "I've been coming to these for years. This used to be a convention of blue hairs; now it has youthful energy." If you're a conservative -- as I am -- it was nice to see fresh young faces, who attend at a greatly reduced price. "Blue dog" Democrats are one thing, blue-haired Republicans are quite another.


It shouldn't be too surprising then, that a group outside the normal circles of conservative influence was able to out-hustle and out-organize, and win the straw poll on dramatically increased turnout. Across the board, lots of new people are getting involved in the movement (see: tea parties), creating fertile ground for a seismic shift in the results. 

While I won't necessarily be rooting for a Paul 2012 candidacy, I *like* the fact that CPAC was shaken up, for two big reasons. 

First, it shows that Ron Paul and the Campaign for Liberty are engaging constructively in the conservative movement. In 2007, the Paulites were an oppositional force trying to submarine the GOP's commitment to the war on terror, thus threatening traditional conservatives. Today, libertarians and conservatives have come together against Obama's endless expansion of the State, with Ron Paul supporters supplying creative organizing tactics and boots on the ground. 

This leads into my second reason: in terms of grassroots organization, Paul supporters are some of the best -- if not the best -- that we have. The iconography of the tea party movement is heavily libertarian (think the Gadsden Flag) and that's no coincidence. If you broke down the organizers and even those in attendance, you'd find more than your fair share of Ron Paul supporters. 

This is a categorical shift that's happened in the last year. Remember when the image of conservatives in the political arena was that of dutiful salaried workers with families and limited time to engage in the kind of direct political protest perfected by ACORN and That image has been turned on its head by the tea parties and 9/12 protests. And I think that's due in no small measure to the influence of libertarians, who've been more willing to employ bold tactics conventionally thought of as leftist (but effective). 

In terms of organizing, conservatives can learn a lot from libertarians. Online, the moneybomb concept originally pioneered during the Ron Paul campaign has started to work for more conventional Republicans like Scott Brown. 

The 2008 Ron Paul campaign can be compared to the 1988 Pat Robertson campaign in helping a movement find its way into the Republican Party and thus establishing itself as a permanent fixture in the party. Like Robertson, Paul did not come anywhere near capturing the nomination, but the influence of Christian conservatives -- and now libertarians -- endures. 

For CPAC and Beck, The Truth About the ACORN 8

What began in 2009 as a quiet rumble of discontent blossomed into a movement over health care and rocked the nation with the election of Scott Brown. Now fired up Conservatives are bringing that energy to DC for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Thursday CPAC began with an abundance of Conservative leaders coming together from across the country. Republicans, Conservatives and Libertarians will mingle with the tea partiers, now recognized as a force even by The New York Times that buried an ACORN/Obama expose before the 2008 presidential election. The perceived and much hyped divides that exist within the movement have many taking sides and others looking to assume control and dictate how President Obama and his radical Administration should be contested.

In a message to supporters, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich quoted Ronald Reagan in unveiling the new Contract From America

“In a message that resonates to this day, President Reagan proclaimed, 'Our people look for a cause to believe in,' and then asked: 'Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors, which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?"

The 2010 CPAC promises to be exciting, invigorating and, most importantly, a journey for many Conservatives. Glenn Beck will deliver the closing speech on Saturday. The choice of Beck is an interesting one for CPAC, but as the rising star of the movement, Beck will pull large crowds and attract media attention.

CPAC's invitation to Beck is interesting because he is a polarizing figure, but after his move from CNN to Fox in January 2009, pundits on the left and right appear to hang on his every word. Beck drew anger and derision from the left after focusing on the then emerging ACORN Scandal in early 2009. In March of 2009 an ACORN affiliated bus tour terrorized the families of AIG executives and Cleta Mitchell of the Republican National Lawyers Association appeared on Beck's television program to discuss ACORN.

However, it wasn't until a showdown with ACORN spokesperson Scott Levenson that ended with Beck directing Levenson to leave after Levenson had told him, off air, that he was "afraid of black people" that Beck's ACORN hunt began in earnest.

After that, Beck recruited guests (black and white) to appear with him and expose ACORN. Chief among them was Marcel Reid, former National Board member of ACORN and president of the ACORN 8. Interestingly, many of the guests were in some way affiliated with Reid and her quest for “truth and transparency" within ACORN. More on that in a later post, but for now let's examine how this star of the new conservation movement becomes tied to the very radicals that are exposed on the famous Glenn Beck chalkboard.

Can The ACORN 8 Pass Beck's Chalkboard Test?

Whistleblowers rarely come forward without enduring much agonizing and trepidation, and usually there is not a ready support network for them. But what happens when conditions are set in such a way as to “create a whistleblower” for personal and financial gain?

The top leaders of the ACORN 8 are Marcel Reid, Karen Innman, Michael McCray, and Zena Crenshaw Logal. In 2007 all four ACORN 8 leaders became actively involved in a number of organizations that would set the stage for an internal power struggle within ACORN that would eventually spill into courts and onto television screens across America. Among the ACORN-life affiliates controlled by these four are:

  • The Congress Against Racism and Corruption in Law Enforcement (CARCLE),

  • Power Over Poverty Under Laws of America Restored (POPULAR)

  • The ACORN 8

  • The International Association of Whistle-blowers (IAW)

  • National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project

  • The 3.5.7 Commission (appears to be inactive)
  • National Forum On Judicial Accountability (NFOJA), the official network of Community Forums on Judicial Accountability (CFOJA)

A number of the above ACORN 8 affiliates operate out of a modest apartment building at 3870 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE, Washington, DC. While it is not a funeral home, let's take it to Beck's Chalkboard to compare the two ACORN-related front buildings:

An Internet search of one of the progressive ACORN 8 organizations reveals that the The International Association of Whistle-blowers (IAW) was established in 2007, and was founded by Michael McCray, Esq, Dr. James J. Murtagh MD and Zena Crenshaw, Esq. Amazingly, the initial meeting of the IAW was held the week of May 11-18 2008, just as the ACORN embezzlement scandal broke.

Back at Glenn Beck's chalkboard. It appears that a group of friends may have established a network in direct competition with ACORN while serving as board members and used this same network to, among other things, boost their credibility with awards and sham conferences while using the ACORN scandal as a spring board into the national spotlight.

One of the ACORN 8 affiliates, Power Over Poverty Under Laws of America Restored (POPULAR) has even started an “Obama Lights the Way” campaign in order to push their agenda on Capitol Hill.

The ACORN 8 and the Making of a Whistleblower

Conveniently for America, at the very moment that ACORN was imploding, a group materialized and offered a solution to “save America.” The group appeared non-threatening and often exclaimed shock at the very mob protest activities that ACORN had engaged in for decades. With the help of several well placed Republicans and Conservatives whom they used for credibility, the ACORN 8, offered a revisionist history of ACORN while peppering stories with innuendos of danger. In a op-ed piece published in 2009, the co-founder of McCray's IAW posted this  prepackaged ACORN 8 statement (emphasis mine).

"The ACORN 8 is America’s last, best chance to empower low and moderate income members of society through Integrity in Community Organizing.

"If you love ACORN and its original mission; you should support the ACORN 8. If you hate ACORN and its corrupt practices; you should support the ACORN 8. If you are an ACORN member and tired of being ignored; you should support the ACORN 8. If you are an ACORN employee and tired of being sacrificed for senior management; you should support the ACORN 8. If you are an ACORN donor and want to be sure you were not a victim of funder fraud and that your contributions are not being used for illegal political activities; you MUST support the ACORN 8. If you are a taxpayer and want to be sure your tax dollars are not funding a corrupt organization; you MUST support the ACORN 8."

The situation is almost too convenient and according to ACORN insiders with knowledge of the events that led to the formation of the ACORN 8, it is. Insiders paint a tale that began with an alliance among Marcel Reid, Karen Innman, Carol Hemingway and most importantly, Bertha Lewis. According to reliable evidence,

Reid, Innman and Hemingway provided Lewis with the crucial votes to elect her as interim Chief Organizer of ACORN after founder Wade Rathke was removed from the organization. Apparently Lewis agreed to help elect the trio to the ACORN interim management committee, with substantial perks like trips, computers and hotel stays.

The ACORN 8's claim that they were denied access to the financial records of ACORN has also been debunked by inside information and research. Every December ACORN held the Year End, Year Beginning or YEYB conference in New Orleans and staff from around the country submitted reports on the status of their local operations. Immediately following YEYB in January, the ACORN executive committee met and they are given financial reports and all of the YEYB local reports. Some within ACORN have concluded that this information was used to make an outlandish power grab in 2008.

After being elected to the interim management committee, Marcel Reid submitted a proposal from the Kappa Alpha Psi Federal Credit Union (KAPFCU) to take over ACORN accounting operations from Citizens Consulting Inc. (CCI). Insiders at ACORN claim the proposal was for $3 million a year. A look at the 4th Quarter report of the KAPFCU show that this deal would have been a major coup for the "country’s first virtual credit union."

Oddly, none of the ACORN 8 members ever mentioned that the lawsuit they filed against Rathke, ACORN and CCI was the result of their refusal to turn operations over to a credit union of which Michael McCray is an associate board member.

“KAPFCU’s Administrator of Community Development Financial Initiatives Michael McCray says of his CU:

'As a virtual institution, we’ve been an ugly duckling for nearly four years. Our balance sheet and profit/loss profile differs from most community based credit unions.

We don’t have a physical office, we operate through a 20 member advisory board and management team. KAPFCU provides service to the entire country - instead of a local geographic market. We just don’t look like the typical low income or community development credit union. Consequently, it has been very difficult for us to successfully receive financial support from credit union or philanthropic communities'

Independent columnist Michael Gaynor has done the legwork on this one:

"...McCray had opportunistically responded to the ACORN embezzlement scandal by pushing for Kappa Alpha Psi Federal Credit Union (KAPFCU) to replace Citizens Consulting, Inc. (CCI) as ACORN's accountant and ACORN 8 leaders and former ACORN national board members Marcel Reid and Karen Inman quietly helped him.

The truth is that the ACORN embezzlement scandal presented a golden opportunity to take control and make lots of money and McCray recognized it and acted, with the assistance of ACORN 8 leaders and without disclosing McCray's interest in KAPFCU (

KAPFCU's bid to replace CCI and do ACORN's accounting work failed, despite the best efforts of McCray, Ms. Reid and Ms. Innman.

As reported in ACORN's Submission in Support of Its Petition for Writ of Quo Warranto in the now dismissed ACORN v. Rathke case filed in a Louisiana state court (available at

..."These two Board members, and their attorney, further attempted to coerce the Board by reporting that the Temporary Restraining Order had been granted, attaching a copy, instructing the Board, IMC, Senior Staff, and the Executive Committee to comply with its terms, and warning the Board that it may otherwise be participating in concealment of evidence and violations of federal law. In fact, at the time Mr. Gray wrote the Board, IMC, Senior Staff, Executive Committee and Corporate Counsel, he and his clients knew that the bond had not and would not be paid and that the TRO was not in effect. This pesky fact was not reported to the members of the ACORN Board, all of whom are non-lawyers or to ACORN's Corporate Counsel."

Even more significantly, the Submission continued: "ACORN is also concerned about the relationship between the two Board members who filed the suit, their attorney, and KAPFCU, an organization that the two Board member promoted to take over the financial responsibilities of ACORN from CCI, one of the named defendants in the Petition. Mr. Gray holds himself out as representing both ACORN and KAPFCU in this matter, which appears to present a conflict of interest. ACORN has not hired KAPFCU, the KAPFCU proposal is not responsive to the Board's resolution for financial review, and KAPFCU has no legal interest in the litigation. KAPFCU's only interest in this litigation is in taking over ACORN's business from CCI. Mr. Gray has ignored ACORN's request to explain the relationship, and ACORN specifically refuses to waive the conflict."

Screen shots of the proposed agreement illustrate the complete control that KAPFCU wanted over ACORN in what had become a full power struggle complete with press releases and leaking articles to New York Times reporter Stephanie Strom.

The ACORN 8 began to paint themselves as whistleblowers and use the specter of ACORN to drive the story on the right. By claiming ignorance, the ACORN 8 have always stopped short of blasting Obama to the Conservative Press and this has allowed these radical Democrats to effectively hoodwink conservatives into supporting their cause. ACORN 8 affiliates are already setting up a network across the country in anticipation of absorbing ACORN offices and continuing its radical progressive agenda. Below is a comparison of the ACORN 8 affiliate National Forum On Judicial Accountability (NFOJA) and a 2006 ACORN office expansion map.

Besides a penchant for card check, government health care, and cap and trade; the ACORN 8 have on a number of occasions taken deliberate steps to protect Obama from the ACORN scandal. As previously reported in another blog, the ACORN 8 concealed a copy of the Elizabeth Kingsley ACORN report and it was deliberately leaked to Strom to stop an expose on ACORN and Obama.

“...'Moncrief finally agreed to go on the record' and Strom had scheduled a meeting with her. It was when she called Moncrief to cancel the meeting that Strom allegedly told her that her bosses had killed the investigation to protect Obama. Obviously, if Strom was about to hit pay-dirt with an on-the-record witness, Daley's assertion that she killed the story because Strom 'had come up empty-handed' is false.

Hoyt interviewed Strom, of course, but--rather remarkably--he does not reveal what Strom told him about her conversation with Daley in which Daley killed Strom's ongoing investigation. That's a rather significant omission, isn't it? Instead, Hoyt merely quotes Strom's observation that she did write a story on ACORN that appeared on October 22:

Before they were to meet, Strom said, another source gave her an internal report detailing concerns about impermissible political activity by Acorn and its tax-exempt affiliates. The resulting article was published on Oct. 22.”

After halting The Times Obama/ACORN investigation, Reid's loyalty to the progressive cause may have led her to befriend a reluctant whistleblower who had the goods on Obama and ACORN. As noted in the recently released report by the the House Oversight Committee, Reid and I began as allies exposing ACORN wrongdoing. We were both radical Obama supporters and she urged me not to hurt Obama's election prospects by accepting an invitation to do Fox News on the days before the election.

Beck's "Rosa Parks": Pay No Attention to the Radical on the Conservative Bus

Before Election day 2008 Fox News was the only major media outlet willing to take on the Obama Campaign machine, but as a frightened radical, I listened to Marcel Reid, a women who was mentored by the radical Ron Karenga and she discouraged me from working with Fox by citing racism, bias and a hatred for Obama. Documents show that Reid, who was still negotiating with ACORN to retain her position on the board, agreed to signed a joint defense agreement with ACORN and, it was decided to not "go after Wade" until AFTER the last presidential election:

"IF the idea for ACORN to go after Wade is decided upon--the recommendation is to wait until after December--elections, ACORN needs to get their corporation in order, clean house in terms of getting paperwork in order, etc."

The ACORN 8's habit of ignoring or hiding evidence to protect Obama was evident last year when a so-called Department of Justice complaint was amended at the last minute to protect Obama's mentor, former ACORN leader, Madeline Talbott and her husband, Keith Kelleher.

."ACORN is a Democrat scandal and it is hard to separate one from the other. Corruption is the overriding theme and it comes mostly from the left. Another particularly odd pairing continues to be the radical reformers of ACORN and top Conservatives and Republicans. The ACORN 8, a group of former ACORN board members, have formed a [Dede] Scozzafava-like partnership with the Republicans. In attempting to expose ACORN, some appear to have ignored key facts and overlooked a pattern of withholding key information to coincide with opportunistic timing aimed at aiding Democrats.

An example of this is the complete removal of two longtime Obama ACORN cronies from a complaint filed with the United States Justice Department last January by the ACORN 8. Madeline Talbott is described by Stanley Kurtz of the National Review Online as 'the woman who first drew Obama into an alliance with ACORN.' And Keith Kelleher is Talbott’s husband, the Chief Organizer of SEIU Local 880 in Chicago.”

Using the Glenn Beck Show as a launching pad, the ACORN 8 continued to conceal their radical roots and desire to protect Obama. In fact, ACORN 8 leader, Marcel Reid began her career with ACORN as a member of the Marxist New Party:

"The fact that Obama received the New Party’s endorsement in his first run for office cannot be dismissed as insignificant. On the contrary, Obama’s ties to the New Party and the New Party’s backers at ACORN and the SEIU are long-standing, substantial, and reveal a great deal about his personal political allegiances.

The New Party’s biggest wins in the country were in Chicago, including Obama’s victory in his 1996 run for the Illinois Senate. Chicago’s New Party was formed around two core elements, ACORN and the SEIU’s local 880. SEIU 880 was itself an ACORN offshoot."

Beck's appearance at CPAC will send a message to the thousands of conservatives who have traveled to DC. As Conservative meet and network many are realizing that we did not need liberal grassroots organizations to reach into communities of color. Conservatives are door knocking and creating real grassroots movements.  Conservatives do not need the ACORN 8 to defeat ACORN. Beck has exposed much about the radicalness of Obama, his administration and his supporters, particularly ACORN and SEIU, but he needs to research the ACORN 8.


CPAC Straw Poll Results


Here are the presidential numbers: 

  • 22% Mitt Romney
  • 7% Sarah Palin
  • 31% Ron Paul
  • 6% Tim Pawlenty
  • 5% Mike Pence
  • 4% New Gingrich
  • 4% Mike Huckabee

Full results here

2,395 CPAC registrants voted.  50 states plus DC represented in the balloting. Only registrants can vote. 

48 percent of the respondents were students, 32 percent identified as individuals. 13 percent sponsors and cosponsors. 

CPAC Report: Les Phillip

Yesterday, Representative Mike Pence held an impromptu press conference at Blogger's Row.  I was busy on other issues at the time, so I wasn't paying attention until I heard my home state mentioned. 

With my ears perking up when I heard the word "Alabama," the first words which registered were that Alabama's governor supports Democrat-recently-turned-Republican Parker Griffith and that Republicans in DC support him, too.  The implication was that everyone else should do the same, too.

Les Phillip is one of the Republican candidates running against Griffith. He and another conservative, Mo Brooks, have been campaigning for that seat long before Griffith changed parties. 

Before he changed parties, Griffith spent a lot of time dodging Town Hall forums. 

Phillip is at CPAC and I ran into him this morning.  When I asked him about Rep. Pence's statement, he reminded me that Griffith was a Democrat before he was a Republican.  He reminded people to check Griffith's actual voting record.

"He was a liberal, then jumped to keep his seat," Phillip said. "I saw the same poll he did."

I've seen plenty of "Les Phillip" buttons here, but none for Parker Griffith.  It's not just in DC.  I know plenty of people in the district who support Brooks or Phillip. I know even more who are undecided but will vote for "either of the two conservatives." Finding people who live in the district who support Parker Griffith isn't happening all that often, though.


CPAC Report: Ron Paul


I've been too busy to blog much today, but as I hope to be covering the Ron Paul speech, it seems important to first provide a bit of relevant background.

Two years ago at CPAC, Ron Paul's presidential campaign didn't even have a booth.  After Mitt Romney dropped from the race, his staffers offered their booth to the Ron Paul supporters who had showed at the event.  

Two years later, various Ron Paul related organizations now occupy most of a full row of exhibit booths.  As opposed to 2008, there are now a lot of young, clean cut, polite, well-spoken supporters representing a variety of groups.  They are the ones most likely to ask passersby for contact information, inform people of upcoming events or manage to smile and get a piece of literature in someone's hand.  Their general part of the movement is the most organized group of people I've seen at CPAC, so far.

From what I've seen so far, they are an army of young liberty lovers hoping to politely persuade conservatives at CPAC to return to their conservative/libertarian values.  One sign of their professionalism this time around is that I've not heard the term "neocon" used even once.

Like any CPAC, I've seen plenty of spontaneous interviews which turn into press conferences. I just ran into the largest of these earlier today.  I had to move close enough to see who the current rock star was.  It was Paul.

Leading up to Paul, former Congressman Barr and former Governor Gilmore received (what, IMO) is an unprecedented level of applause (and one moment of jeers) when engaging in the semi-traditional debate over security versus liberty. A student speaker with Students for Liberty received some boos over support of GOProud, but a very loud level of applause over all.  A speaker a few minutes later spoke against GOProud, and I heard the loudest boos of the day.

It's impossible to cover this CPAC without covering the Ron Paul and libertarian angle.  They are clearly a force to be reckoned with this year and to cover CPAC and miss this part of this story is to miss some of the flavor of CPAC 2010.

In the early introductions for Ron Paul, there were some boos and then the crowd broke into cheering "End the Fed, End the Fed!"

An introductory "non-aggressionist foreign policy" line broke into a mix of boos and yeas.  The rest of the speaker's sentence was drowned out.

Strong applause from everyone on the Audit the Fed bill.

Paul received a prolonged standing ovation when he walked on stage.

"It sounds to me like the Revolution is alive and well," Paul began to another round of cheers.

"By the end of this year, I think America is going to be a lot better off.," Paul predicted, talking about issues ranging from Tea Party to recent Republican victories.

"We want balanced budgets, we want our liberties back," Paul explained.

Paul received overwhelming applause and a minor standing ovation when he stated that the true conservative position is to get out of the United Nations."

When Paul suggested that we should end the Federal Reserve system, the crowd broke into "End the Fed, End the Fed" again.

"Strong national defense, but not go to war so carelessly" received a fair amount of applause. Paul called for a full constitutional declaration of war next time.  While some people in the audience obviously disagreed, there were no boos.  They may have simply being tired of being over-shouted.

"Preach it, Ron," a member of the audience shouted as Paul defended Eugene Debs' right to protest a war.

There were mixed cheers and boos when Paul used the word "neoconservative."

Paul spent some time defending President Eisenhower's foreign policy.

"Our lives come from our Creator and our liberties come from our Creator," Paul said.

"You have liberty because you are an individual and that should be protected."

Starting wars because someone "might do something to us" received mixed cheers and jeers.

Paul spoke about individual liberties and chastised stimulus plans and bailouts.

He stated that the GOP used to win elections by saying that we aren't the policeman to the world.

Paul reminded the audience that he had more support from members of the military than any of the other candidates during the presidential campaign.

He also mentioned that the economic crash he predicted during the campaign happened and then took a jab at Fox News because suddenly they want him on the air frequently now.

"We have to allow freedom of expression.  That will bring us together," Paul said to another healthy level of applause.

They played We Will Rock You as Paul walked off stage. 

"Ron Paul 2012" were the last words I heard being yelled as I walked back to Blogger's Row.








CPAC Report #2: Mitt Romney


Big cheers for Scott Brown as he walked on stage to introduce Mitt Romney.

"I'm the newly elected Republican Senator from Massachusetts," opened Brown.

There was a lot of enthusiasm for Romney, but not nearly as much as for Brown.

Romney reported that the medal awarded to one of our Olympic heroes (Lindsey Vaughn?) was stripped because Obama is going downhill faster than she did.

Initial report from CPAC 2010: Marco Rubio


My first blog entry for CPAC 2008 (on a now-defunct website) was entitled “Conservative Roadkill.” Even before Mitt Romney and Ron Paul dropped their presidential aspirations during the event, it was apparent that John McCain would win the GOP nomination, leading to an eventual Democratic win. This year at CPAC, I’m at a totally different event. More people, more excitement, and more importantly: The younger people here actually understand and are excited about a conservative or libertarian message.

CPAC 2010: The GOProud Controversy

A couple weeks ago, the American Family Association protested CPAC's inclusion of GOProud - a gay conservative group - as a CPAC 2010 sponsor.  They may say they don't hate homosexuals, but the AFA rhetoric makes it pretty clear that they don't want gay people around.

A spokesman for the American Family Association says a Republican homosexual activist group doesn't belong at a popular conservative political conference in February. ... "The bottom line is that homosexuality is not a conservative value," Fischer states emphatically.

Unsurprisingly, WorldNetDaily is leaping to participate in the bigotry, saying that "A viral alarm [is] spreading among conservatives that the American Conservative Union is accepting homosexual sponsorship for its annual Conservative Political Action Conference..." and adding "Campaign launched to reject support from homosexuals".  AFA Action is demanding other conservative organizations oppose GOProud participation at CPAC, saying "groups that promote the normalization of homosexual behavior should be resisted without reserve or compromise by any genuinely conservative organization."

Know how you can tell this is more about bigotry against gays themselves than principled opposition to any support for gay marriage?

  • Dick Cheney is pro-gay marriage and opposed to federal marriage amendment....just like GOProud.  Go try to find an example of AFA or WorldNetDaily "resist[ing] without reserve or compromise" when he spoke at CPAC.  You can't.
  • Ron Paul is opposed to a federal marriage amendment (he voted against DoMA) or a Constitutional ban on gay marriage...just like GOProud.  Go try to find an example of AFA or WorldNetDaily "resist[ing] without reserve or compromise" when he spoke at CPAC.  You can't.
  • The Libertarian Party opposes government restrictions prohibiting gay marriage (they opposed DoMA and support "marriage equality").  Go try to find an example of AFA or WorldNetDaily "resist[ing] without reserve or compromise" when the LP co-sponsored CPAC.  You can't.
  • Google supports gay marriage (they opposed Proposition 8 in 2008).  Go try to find an example of AFA or WorldNetDaily "resist[ing] without reserve or compromise" when the Google co-sponsored CPAC.  You can't.
  • UPDATE: The Log Cabin Republicans, who support gay marriage, sponsored CPAC in 2005. Go try to find an example of AFA or WorldNetDaily "resist[ing] without reserve or compromise" when the the Log Cabin Republicans co-sponsored CPAC.  You can't.

American Family Association and WorldNetDaily are not defending traditional marriage or conservative principles. They're just being bigots.

I've made my case regarding gay marriage in the past, and I'll line up with Ed Morrissey of Hot Air on this story.  Commending CPAC's courage in accepting and defending GOProud's co-sponsorship, Morrissey writes that "GOProud’s priorities are fundamentally in line with [our key principles].  We should not allow a purity campaign to push away natural allies on the fiscal crisis that grips our country, and the opportunity we have to correct it in 2010."

I hope a CPAC speaker will address this matter and express support for GOProud...or even make the case for gay marriage.  I'm looking at you, Andrew Breitbart. Or perhaps it's time to start a "Draft Dick Cheney to talk about Gay Marriage at CPAC" campaign.

Should GOProud and CPAC face more of this during CPAC 2010, I hope that CPAC attendees, whatever their position on the gay marriage issue itself, will stand against the kind of bigotry that WorldNetDaily and American Family Association are peddling.

Fight for the Right: It is not Grassroots VS Elites

The LA Times reported on the Right's struggle against the fevered swamp fringe.  My favorite part: "WorldNetDaily's Farah [had] asked" CPAC to hold a panel on "whether Obama was a native-born US citizen", but CPAC rejected their request and said:

"It would fill a room," said event director Lisa De Pasquale. "But so would a two-headed monkey."

I couldn't have put it better. However, I should clarify one aspect of the story which I think does not characterize my intent.

Henke said, "There is a substantial discomfort among the people who want to make intellectual arguments and want to have a substantive role in the debate." He compared the Obama birth theorists to those who said Obama's healthcare overhaul would create "death panels."

" 'Death panels' is not a substantive contribution to the discussion. It's a cartoon," he said.

Actually, I think there's a substantial difference between the birther and "death panel" comments. The former are irresponsible, dishonest conspiracy theories that divert us from important matters; the latter are absurd, hyperbolic characterizations without real reference to anything in the bill (optional counseling on end of life patient choices are not remotely comparable to "death panels"), but at least there's a plausible argument that more government involvement in health care will inevitably lead to the government making cost/benefit decisions about treatment.

Still, we shouldn't defend "death panels" any more than Democrats should defend Ted Kennedy's "Robert Bork's America" smears.  The comment may have been tactically effective in making Democrats cringe (for all the good that did), but it didn't get us any closer to good policies.  Tactics are not replacement for strategy, and a month spent discussing "death panels" only helps discredit Republicans among the people who might be willing to listen to more substantive policy proposals.

Finally, I reject the idea that this is a division between the elite and the grassroots for a couple reasons.

  1. It is a very cynical and patronizing view of the Right's grassroots, which does not deserve this tyranny of low expectations.
  2. It excuses the "elites" (or "insiders" in the LA Times description), who don't necessarily deserve credit for being thoughtful and serious.  As Conor Friedersdorf has pointed out, there are many "movement conservative elites in positions of power who sell out the base and never get called on it." The elites are not just part of the problem; they are, in some senses, responsible for the culture and state of the movement.


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