Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Big T's Pic of the Day

Paul Harvey
Paul Harvey was a genuine childhood memory for me. I can remember riding with my dad in his pick-up truck and Harvey would come on with his "The Rest of the Story."
I always enjoyed listening to Harvey and can still here him sign off: "Paul Harvey.....Good Day."
Good Night Paul Harvey... you will be missed.

My First CPAC

I was able to attend my first Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday, and I must say my experience at CPAC 2009 was unforgettable to put it lightly.

I was only able to attend on Saturday, but was glad to be able to be a part of the most attended CPAC in its 36-year history. I met some amazing people and seeing Rush Limbaugh in person was a perfect way to end the day and the conference.

CPAC 2009: Can Libertarians re-shape the GOP?

I left CPAC 2009 with a feeling that the conservative movement is stronger than ever, but the Republican Party may no longer hold the monopoly on the grass roots effort of the movement. Which is something that I suspected to be true for several years as more and more conservatives like myself left the party that abandoned their core base principles of smaller government, less spending and less government interference.

There seemed to be a huge Libertarian influence at the convention, with several Libertarian organizations such as the Cato Institute, Young Americans for Liberty, Campaign for Liberty and Ron Paul who gave a speech at the conference. One attendee told me the speech was powerful and the atmosphere inside the ballroom was electrifying. Paul had an impromptu book signing in the exhibit hall following the speech that was also well attended.
Saturday Afternoon I met and spoke with a volunteer for the Campaign for Liberty. She told me they were very happy with the impact they were making at CPAC. They held a “Tea Party” at Lafayette Park Friday afternoon with an estimated crowd of 200-300 people, which was pretty high for purely Internet activism.

On Friday night CPAC attendees squeezed into a crowded Hampton Room to see the Liberty Forum and others watched the forum on a screen in the hallway. The panel was made up of Ron Paul, Judge Napolitano, Tom Woods Bruce Fein, Mark Mix and Larry Pratt. The group defended free markets, civil liberties and non-interventionist foreign policy, with each speaker giving his unique perspective on limited constitutional government and individual rights.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Libertarian influence to me was the fact that Ron Paul finished third with 14 percent in the straw poll asking: Who would you vote for as the next republican nominee for president behind Mitt Romney with 20 percent and La. Gov. Bobby Jindal with 14 percent.

There is no doubt the Libertarian influence was one of the big stories of CPAC, even though the mainstream press didn't and will never mention it.

The Republican Party no longer holds the monopoly on conservatism. If the so-called leaders of the party elite are smart enough to recognize this, they will welcome Libertarians in just like they did with the Christian right in the 1980’s.

Rush Limbaugh Rocks CPAC and Emerges as a Leader of Conservative Movement, but not the Party.

CPAC attendees started lining up 2 hours before Rush Limbaugh was to give the keynote speech at the convention. Within half an hour the line stretched all the way through the Omni Shoreham hotel and out into the street. Rush was in such demand crowds were placed into two large over-flow rooms with giant projector screens and some were even turned away. It was by far the largest audience ever for a speaker at CPAC shattering the record audiences set by Ronald Reagan.

As Limbaugh was introduced the room instantly sprung alive and filled with energy. In fact it was so energetic, Limbaugh was scheduled to speak for half an hour; but convention organizers told him to keep going. He ended up speaking for an hour and a half, and it was the re-awakening of a sleeping giant that is ready to rumble. It is American Conservatism, and I was thrilled to be there to see it, witness it and be a part of it.

Two things I want to harp on from the speech. Limbaugh discussed and defined conservatism in the words I have been searching for, but could never quite find.

Limbaugh told the crowd most Americans think they know what conservatism, but they know it the way it is packaged by the media and Hollywood in movies and such. We conservative know what conservatism is, but we make the mistake and assume everyone else does too. We need to do a better job of telling people who we are.

Limbaugh: “Let me tell you who we conservatives are: We love people. (applause) When we look out over the United States of America, when we are anywhere -- when we see a group of people, such as this or anywhere -- we see Americans. We see human beings. We don't see groups. We don't see victims. We don't see people we want to exploit. What we see -- (applause) what we see is potential. We do not look out across the country and see the average American -- the person that makes this country work -- we do not see that person with contempt. We don't think that person doesn't have what it takes. We believe that person can be the best he or she wants to be if certain things are just removed from their path like onerous taxes, regulations and too much government. (applause)
We want every American to be the best he or she chooses to be. We recognize that we are all individuals. We love and revere our founding documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. (applause) We believe that the preamble to the Constitution [sic] contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life, (applause) liberty, freedom, (applause) and the pursuit of happiness. (applause) Now, those of you watching at home may wonder why this is being applauded….. We conservatives think all three are under assault.”
Yes, Limbaugh misspoke, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are from the Declaration of Independence not the constitution, but that is not the point. Limbaugh is exactly right; these things are under assault straight from DC. Never in our history has there been an attack on our way of life so strong from within, but let’s also make one thing clear. The attack has not been limited to the current political party in power.

Republicans have done a nice job of growing government and destroying individual freedom as well.

Limbaugh addresses some of the Party’s problems as well, stuff I have been saying for years.

”Now let’s talk about the conservative movement as it were. We, ladies and gentlemen, have challenges that are part and parcel of a movement that feels it has just suffered a humiliating defeat when it’s not humiliating. This wasn’t a landslide victory, 52 to, what, 46. 58 million people voted against Obama. There would have been more if we would have had a conservative nominee. [Applause] I don’t mean that — I mean that in an instructive way, as a lead-in to what I’m talking about here. No humiliating defeat here. I can’t — sometimes I get livid and angry.
We do have an organizational problem. We have a challenge. We’ve got factions now within our own movement seeking power to dominate it, and worst of all to redefine it. Well, the Constitution doesn’t need to be redefined. Conservative intellectuals, the Declaration of Independence does not need to be redefined and neither does conservativism. Conservativism is what it is and it is forever. It’s not something you can bend and shape and flake and form. [Applause] Thank you. Thank you.

For the purposes of this occasion, I’m not going to mention any names, I bet with you I won’t have to. People watching my first address to the nation might be curious what I’m talking about. They’ll find out in due course, trust me on this. I cringed — it might have been 2007, late 2007 or sometime during 2008, but a couple of prominent conservative but beltway establishment media types began to write on the concept that the era of Reagan is over. [Crowd Booing]
And that we needed to adapt our appeal, because, after all, what’s important in politics is winning elections.
And so we have to understand that the American people, they want big government. We just have to find a way to tell them we’re no longer opposed to that. We will come up with our own version of it that is wiser and smarter, but we’ve got to go get the WalMart voter, and we’ve got to get the Hispanic voter, and we’ve got to get the recalcitrant independent women. And I’m listening to this and I am just apoplectic: The era of Reagan is over? When the hell do you hear a Democrat say the era of FDR is over? You never hear it. Not only that, the President of the United States today thinks he’s FDR, thinks he’s Abraham Lincoln, and sometimes, Tuesday night, thinks he’s Ronald Reagan. Our own movement has members trying to throw Reagan out while the Democrats know they can’t accomplish what they want unless they appeal to Reagan voters. We have got to stamp this out within this movement, because it will tear us apart. It will guarantee we lose elections.” [Applause]

What Limbaugh is describing is a lack of leadership. There is a lack of leadership in the Republican Party across the board, from the Republican National Committee, the Senate and the House. The leadership to stand up on conservative principles and stand up to the opposition, not trying to compromise or reach out has been missing from the party for a long time.

Millions of conservatives and republicans are sitting on the sidelines waiting to be led, but they won’t have anything to do with the RNC. When the RNC calls them for donations they get hung up on. They are sick of the opportunist elitists who can’t see past the DC beltway that have hijacked the Republican Party. The RNC is so far out of touch with whom their base is. They think they can win elections by selling big government better, by ignoring the base and appealing to moderates and independents. We all saw how well that worked out in the midterm election and the presidential election with John McCain.
It seems Limbaugh is the only one on the national level that realizes this, or is the only one with the guts to address it. Limbaugh may have emerged as one of the leaders of the conservative movement, and has sparked the real leaders of the movement, us, but he is not the leader of the Party. It will have to be the grass roots of this movement that will lead the elitist of the RNC back to the party’s core principles and values.

News and Views from Around the Web

Pat Buchanan has an excellent column about the cost of President Obama’s new budget and the taxes you are about to see to pay for it.

Interesting study “Freedom in the 50 States: Index of Personal and Economic Freedom” lists New Hampshire, South Dakota and Colorado in a three way tie for the freest states, New York is the least free…on personal freedom alone Alaska tops the chart, while Maryland brings up the rear.

Need cheap affordable housing? The median price for a house in Detroit is $7,500…

New study finds Muslims in the United States are happier than Muslims in other countries…they needed a study for this?

President Obama has nominated yet another with tax issues. Ron Kirk, nominee for US Trade Representative owes nearly $10,000 in back taxes. Is it a requirement to be a tax cheat to be nominated?

Stuart Rothenberg wonders if it’s possible for the GOP to loose even more seats in Congress…well, judging by their continuous betrayal of the base I would say the answer is an astounding yes!

Impeached Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is getting a six-figure deal to right a book…Amazing!

We've lost $3 trillion in American wealth since the election. Investors are walking away. Capital is on strike. Why? According to Investor's Business Daily, the people with the money just have no confidence in the person with the power. This is not good…