I can say with almost full confidence that I am hardly surprised by the enormous presence of neocons at CPAC. And that is a major tragedy. Conservativism is all about smaller government, less spending, and “strong family values.” Today, I’ve heard much about those three sacred pillars but little of any real suggestions to carry them out. What was encouraging, however, was the large number of limited government conservatives/Constitutionalists/libertarians present at CPAC. The John Birch Society, Students for Liberty, YAL, and C4L had a smaller but much more vocal and well-informed presence than the neocon majority.
Today’s most interesting speech, the opening address, was from Marco Rubio. Rubio was truly genuine throughout his speech and appears to be, sans a few major issues, quite conservative. (Note: This is not an endorsement of Rubio’s candidacy for Senate. YAL does not support or oppose any candidates.)
His speech began with an anecdote about his parents, refugees from Cuba, who came here with literally nothing. After the hard work of his mother and father, a K-Mart clerk and bartender respectively, Rubio said that he realized what America was about: “Today’s employee is tomorrow’s employer.”
The rest of his speech was mainly focused on bashing the Obama administration, albeit rightfully so, and their failure to solve the most pressing issue of today: America’s economic and jobs crisis. Rubio then wound down the speech by announcing his issue stances, some more in line with YAL’s positions than others:
- Reform and reduce taxes across the board (this includes abolishing the capital gains, interest, dividend, and death taxes; and significantly lowering the corporate tax rate);
- Stop Cap and Trade;
- Put consumers in charge of healthcare spending and get the government out of peoples’ way;
- Enact tort reform;
- Get the US debt under control; and now for the least encouraging pillars,
- Continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan;
- Stand by Israel regardless of the circumstances; and
- Try terrorists in a military tribunal.
Rubio ended the speech on a very inspirational note, encouraging the youth of America to stand up against the overbearing federal government. If we do so, we will be “the most important generation in American history.”
I am still perplexed how he and the many others there with “Draft Cheney” stickers on can consider themselves conservatives. Are they aware that war is a big government program? After all, how can one be against corporate welfare, socialized medicine, and wasteful spending, only to fight for those things under the banner of “war”? Where’s the outrage against Lockheed-Martin’s comfortable setup, the VA that is incapable of putting a band-aid on a soldier, and military bases around the world that serve no purpose other than to give a crony an official sounding title? It’s hypocritical and contradictory.
Other major points in today’s CPAC schedule have included a very forgetful Mitt Romney denouncing Obama’s healthcare plan and claiming that “Bush kept us safe.” He must have forgotten his hand notes to remind him that as governor he signed into law the very same socialized medicine he “detests” and a little event called 9/11 that happened under Bush’s watch. Looks like Sarah will have to give him a lesson in last minute reminders.Published in