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.
I missed David Keen’s introduction, but did catch Keene’s introduction of Senator Jim DeMint, which provided the first standing ovation of the day. The first boos came when DeMint noted that the DC establishment was supporting Governor Crist because of polling numbers. “Principles before polling,” reintroduced the applause in the main hall.
Marco Rubio started off with jokes about the snow in DC being a good thing as no new regulations were passed while the city was shut down. Here are some choice Rubio quotes:
“From Tea Parties to the election in Massachusetts…”
“A long list of early endorsements will not spare you in a primary”
“The old tired policies… …. won’t get you elected this time.”
“The US Senate already had one Arlen Specter too many”
“America already has a Democrat Party, it doesn’t need two Democrat parties.”
The crowd started cheering “Marco, Marco, Marco.” “That cheer always worries me because I’m afraid people are going to start screaming ‘Polo,’” responded Rubio.
“Let’s put the consumer in charge of health care spending in America.” “We will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to defeat radical Islam.”
Rubio received a standing ovation for his line about prosecuting terrorists in a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay.
“This is the only place in the world where you can start a new business in the spare bedroom of your home.”
“Everything that I have ever accomplished, I owe to God, and to my parents, and to the United States of America.”
“The final verdict on this generation will be written by those who haven’t even been born yet.”
“Thank you and God bless…” … as Rubio's words drifted off into applause.