Michael Shannon CPAC Report Day 1
By: Michael R. Shannon
The 39th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) conference kicked off with a prayer long enough to be listed on the program. Which is an important consideration in a conference this large. Some 6,000 conservative activists are gathered today, Friday and Saturday in Washington, DC to hear conservative speakers and attend workshops designed to prepare them for the coming election.
The agenda is so packed one must ruthlessly prune the less interesting sessions to concentrate on the more valuable, since every session has competition from other speakers and trainers.
Do I listen to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R–OH) bring the house down with a barn–burner of a speech? Or do I suffer crippling depression during a session about the massive debt that is the current and future legacy of the Obama administration?
Today’s speakers include Boehner, Sen. Jim DeMint (R–SC), Sen. Marco Rubio (R–FL), Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–KY) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R–MN).
DeMint began with a spirited defense of playing to win. Compromise, according to the senator, is fine when both parties have shared goals; as in a marriage. But compromise does not work when the two parties have opposing goals.
Democrats want to spend regardless of how much it adds to the debt. Conservatives want to cut spending. Any compromise you make with spenders always involves more spending. It’s like an alcoholic compromising with his wife by agreeing to drink Ancient Age instead of Maker’s Mark. He’s still passed out on the sofa at the end of the evening.
DeMint contends that with the current makeup of Congress, Republican conservatives have no shared goals with Democrats.
His solution is more conservatives in Congress, but particularly in the Senate, which is currently a mortuary for conservative legislation.
So far no sighting of the herd of Occupy parasites that boasted about occupying CPAC, just a number of DC police cars. But the day is young. Next up is Sen. Rubio, candidate of the future.
Sen. Marco Rubio was introduced as a future resident at 1600 Pennsylvania and they may have a point. He gave a good speech that was summed up in his statement, “The greatest thing we can do for the world is be America.”
Evidently, Rubio wants to start this by producing a conservative government where people are comfortable cleaning out their garages and making enough room to start a new business, rather than using it to store a stockpile of bottled water and freeze–dried food for the apocalypse.
Rubio’s conservatism includes tax reform, sensible regulations and an emphasis on the Constitution of the US rather than that of South Africa. He stressed that the current controversy over Obama’s unprecedented order that forces Catholic institutions to provide birth control and abortions is not a social issue.
And I agree. Making it a social issue makes it “divisive” and part of the “abortion controversy,” that makes it intractable and beyond solving. Rubio points out the obvious and demonstrates the unprecedented order is a Constitutional issue and imminently solvable, if you follow the plain language of the Constitution.
Rubio also pointed out that any candidate who is in favor of leaving Medicare alone, is a candidate who is in favor of bankrupting Medicare.
Rubio’s introduction stressed his personal life and how he lives family values, so it is probably for the best that Newt Gingrich speaks on Friday.
Gov. Rick Perry (R–TX) was scheduled for Thursday afternoon, but I was planning to miss his speech. What could he possibly say that was relevant?
I made a mistake with the Gingrich endorsement. I knew he had two wives but couldn’t remember the third? Oops.
But when I wandered into the media center there had been a schedule change and Perry was onstage. In retrospect it was instructive.
Rick Perry is actually a more dynamic speaker than Marco Rubio. He seems bigger on stage when he’s by himself and not surrounded by the competition. Instead of looking like the guest of honor for a firing squad, Perry is obviously large and in charge.
In a set–piece speech he is very good. The governor is relaxed, connects with his audience and doesn’t step on his applause lines. His speech was also more Evangelical than Rubio’s.
I don’t recall Perry setting any records for intentional humor on the campaign trail — although his accidental humor will live forever on YouTube —here Perry was funny.
One of his best referred to the Clint Eastwood “halftime in America” commercial. Perry felt that if it’s half time in America, he’s afraid of what’s going to happen if we don’t change coaches.
Too bad the sound track was the whistle of his Presidential train leaving the station….
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at email@example.com.