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CPAC 2009: Lessons, Wisdom & Excitement

March 2, 2009

Jason C. O’Neill

Attending the Saturday session of CPAC 2009 was a remarkable experience.  Aside from seeing the powerhouse of the conservative movement, a few insights on the health of the our beloved Republican Party were reinforced. 

The day began with a moving speech from Rick Santorum.  Santorum commented on key issues such as the bailouts, national security and the importance of religion.

On the bailouts, Santorum added that former President Bush and Secretary Paulson “opened up a door, that the next President is driving a bulldozer through“.  He emphasized that conservatives (like Bush) failed conservatism, not conservatism is dead.

Santorum commented that conservatism is a three-legged stool.  Too often conservatism is two sided – fiscal conservatism and social conservatism.  He said to not forget the 9/11 conservatives, who focus on national security.  In this, he said we need to focus real hard on what Iran is doing and its threat to the world.

The last part of Santorum’s speech was on faith.  He said that faith is under assault, and that “the left does not want to seperate church and state.  The left wan to replace the church with the state.”

Next up was Tim Pawlenty.  Pawlenty addressed issues ranging from education to health care to government spending.  Here are the highlights from his speech:

We deserve freedom for the entrepreneurs to be free from costs, and regulation, freedom of school choice, and the freedom in health care to choose any provider.  Free from the bondage that came from the deepening, deepening, deepening deficit that is growing  by the minute, by the hour, by the day.”

Education is a 1940s industrial model system. The core mission of schools is not the costs and inputs, nor how they feel; but whether students are learning.  What, how, how fast from Labor Day to Memorial Day.  And up to twenty years ago we could precisely measure that.” 

He also added that ” the amount of money should correlate to the results we expect“.

Pawlenty also mentioned his rejection that the Republican Party was not for the working people of this country.  He stated that the best solution for the working people was jobs.  He re-emphasized the fact that thee Republican Party is the Pro-Job Party.  He added:

You can’t be pro-job, and anti-business”.  It’s like being pro-egg, and anti-chicken“.

Pawlenty ended his speech about having a winning team.  He added:

We got to have a team. Ronald Reagan used to say that if someone believes with you ninety-percent of the time, they are not our enemy“.

The came an hard hitting  speech by columnist and best-selling author Ann Coulter.  She rocked the house!  Her comments were on the falsehoods the Democrats portray about the GOP and their fetish with certain former GOP Presidents.

The Democrats won twelve years after Clinton won in 1996, and they are claiming the end of the Republican Party.  I don’t think that they should be hanging the ‘Mission Accomplished’ sign just yet“.

On Obama’s adoration with the Republican Presidents, she quipped “it’s interesting that Obama’s adorers in the press are comparing Obama to Lincoln and Reagan.  Apparently they can’t think of a Democrat President worthy of being compared to“.

We then searched for food.  Fortunately the Conservatism 2.0 Conference has a free boxed-lunch and an all-star line up.  Michelle Malkin, Fred and Jeri Thompson, Robert Davi, and ohter noted bloggers and columnists shared their vision of Conservatism 2.0. 

One noteworthy comment from one of the numerous panelists was that the Republican Party should either have “a ‘Big Tent’ tent or a small coffin“.  This was in reference to being more inclusive and welcome moderates and conservatives; Libertarians and Republicans – if they want to win!

The finale to a perfect day filled with intellectuals came with the barn-burning speech by the King of Media, Rush Limbaugh.    Limbaugh commented on the assault from Democrats on the country. Some highlights:

I want Obama to fail , if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation.  Why would I want that to succeed?”

I want the country to survive as we know it, and as you and I have been raised in it“.

Its (America) under assault… its never been under assault from within like this before.”

The Democratic Party has actively not just sought to seek the failure of Republican Presidents and their policies, but wars for the first time.  The Democratic Party does not stop at failure.  Talk to Judge Robert Bork.  Talk to Justice Clarence Thomas about how they tried to destroy lives, reputations and character“.

Of course Limbaugh raised the roof for over an hour. 

For the videos CPAC conference, check out

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