If I had a little money and a lot of time, I’d love to have attended this year’s CPAC conference. As Sen. Jim DeMint said this weekend, “there has never been a time in our history when CPAC was more necessary.”
Because I could not possibly attend, however, I wanted to replace the normal installment of “Weekend Reading” and take some of what I think were the best moments and bring them to you at America’s Right. Now, I don’t have time to transcribe video–thanks to C-SPAN and YouTube, video is most readily available–so over the course of the weekend I will be taking a look now and again for actual transcripts of speeches.
It’s with regard to the transcripts that I ask you to help me out — I’d really like to bring you some of the best comments from people like DeMint, like Mike Huckabee, Ann Coulter, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty and more . . . but I need the transcripts. So, if you find any, please e-mail me the link and I’ll be sure to get some comments up here on the site. Thank you, and have a great weekend.
Some critics speak as if we need to redefine conservatism. I think that misses the mark. America’s challenges are different from year to year, but our defining principles remain the same. Conservatives don’t enter each new political era trying to figure out what we believe. Facing new and complex problems, we find the answers in principles that endure. Ronald Reagan used to say that “the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that what they know is wrong. ” Conservatives don’t claim to know everything, but what we know is right.
Conservatives believe in settling great questions the way the Founders intended — especially where the stakes are the highest. Courts that have undermined the fundamental right to life have shown an equal disregard for the rights of property and the rights of religious freedom. We’ve even seen them extend rights to terrorist combatants who have killed Americans and who would like to kill many more.
[...] America voted for change. America did not vote for a boat-load of new government spending programs that would guarantee higher taxes and high deficits as far as the eye can see and that would threaten our currency, our economy, and our future. We must be the alternative course. We can’t be that if all we say is no. Our plans must be clear, compelling, and first to the table. Our plans must have at least one common thread — they must make America stronger. Better education strengthens our kids; better healthcare strengthens our citizens; and bringing our budget into balance strengthens our economy and preserves our future. Today, as much as ever, conservative principles are absolutely essential to keeping America strong and prosperous and free.
ON THE “STIMULUS” PLAN:
The President has already moved to stop our economy’s downward spiral. Parts of the stimulus will, in fact, do some good. But too much of the bill was short-sighted and wasteful. Every single Republican in Congress voted in favor of a better stimulus plan, one that focused on creating jobs immediately. But Congressional Democrats couldn’t restrain themselves from larding up their bill with tens of billions of dollars for their political friends. Republicans wanted to stimulate the economy, Democrats wanted to stimulate the government. Conservatives in the House and Senate stood their ground and voted no — and they were absolutely right.
So far, the administration has been unclear on what it will do to address the huge decline in the pool of risk and investment capital. These losses will be felt in businesses that don’t start-up and grow, and in jobs that don’t get created. To grow the pool of investment capital, the last thing you’d do is to raise taxes on investment, as the President has proposed. The surest, most obvious course is to rule out higher taxes on investment. I would propose going one step further. For all middle-class Americans, we ought to abolish the tax on interest, dividends and capital gains.
ON LIBERAL HYPOCRISY:
For the last several years, we’ve heard liberals moaning about the 700 billion dollars that have been spent over six years to win freedom in Iraq. They have now spent more than that in 30 days. And with a government almost 12 trillion dollars in debt, any unnecessary spending puts at risk the creditworthiness of the United States. If the world loses confidence in our currency, that could cause a run on the dollar, or hyperinflation that would wipe out savings and devastate the Middle Class. President Obama says he hopes to cut the deficit in half after four years — does that mean a deficit in 2012 of 600 billion dollars? No president should accept such a staggering deficit, much less hold it up as a national goal. This is the time to pare back government spending. It is not the time to fulfill every liberal dream and spend America into catastrophe.
I stand before you today at a historic moment for the conservative movement, and for this great country. The coming weeks and months may well set the course of this nation for the next generation.
This Administration and this Congress is barely a month old, and already the problems facing this nation have grown in magnitude — eclipsing the ones the nation faced when voters cast their ballots in November.
How we, as conservatives, respond to these challenges could determine whether America retains her place in the world as a beacon of freedom; or whether we slip into the abyss that has swallowed much of Europe in an avalanche of socialism.
While some are prepared to write the obituary on capitalism and our movement… I believe we are on the brink of a great American awakening.
ON THE “STIMULUS” BILL:
After writing a stimulus bill that was nothing more than a wish list of liberal spending priorities and power grabs, Speaker Nancy Pelosi went to the House floor and said, “Every American is asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’” She thinks the American people are a bunch of congressmen!!
No, Madame Speaker, they wanted to know what’s in it, period. Which is more than you can say for the 246 Democrats who cast their votes for it.
The American people weren’t asking “what’s in it for me”… they were asking, what’s in it for America? What’s in it that will strengthen the foundations upon which our prosperity rests?
As the details of that bloated bill emerge, the answers to “what’s in it for America?” are all too clear. What’s in it for America is generations of debt, burdening our children and grandchildren with debt tomorrow to fund liberal priorities today — all with sore little chance of stimulating the economy.
Americans are not happy. And they know this is not just about dollars and cents… this is about who we are as a nation.
As Reagan said in 1964, it’s about whether “we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”
My money is on the American people.
ON THE “FAIRNESS DOCTRINE”:
And the freedom to listen to what we want, who we want, when we want is also a blood-bought American right.
Despite assurances to the contrary from the White House, Democrats from Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Illinois Senator Dick Durbin to California Senator Diane Feinstein all openly advocate a return of the so-called Fairness Doctrine to the airwaves of America.
But there’s nothing fair about the Fairness Doctrine. Allowing bureaucrats to decide what opinions can be expressed on the public airwaves is nothing more than government rationing of free speech and it must be opposed.
We cannot permit the Democrats to censor the airwaves of America. We must pass the Broadcaster Freedom Act and once and forever, send this Doctrine of Censorship to the ash heap of broadcast history.
Republicans remain far from the prominence we require to set the course for our national policy. Having failed to intelligently or ideologically define and communicate our principles to the American people, the party finds itself out of power, and many conservatives have lost faith in our leadership. The Republican Party is at its best when its leadership has a bold vision rooted to conservative principles: personal responsibility, liberty, limited government, traditional values, providing for the common defense, and optimism about the future. These principles represent the lifeblood of America and our party. It is time that we again embrace these traditions and set a course for renewal.
[...] Moreover, no longer can Republicans cede the language or institutions. And we must remain unified and disciplined. Once, Americans valued “responsibility,” “self-determination,” and “hard work.” Now, these ideals have been replaced by fuzzy appeals to “diversity,” “fairness,” and “social justice.” Democrats have been successful in altering the mindset of what made this nation great through language and institutions.
Hostile Democrat majorities and liberal special interests are more energized than they have been in decades, and there are many battles ahead. From an attempt to eliminate secret ballot elections in union organizing to the trillions of dollars more that the administration seeks to spend to inject itself further into the private market; from their goals of a bureaucratic government-run health care system to the ongoing attacks on traditional American values, we must stand up and fight. As a unified and principled force for freedom, we will beat back the liberal Washington agenda and restore the principles upon which our party and proud nation were founded.
Over the past few months, we’ve seen a Big Government mentality creep back into fashion on Capitol Hill. It seems the failed big government solutions of the Carter-era are making a comeback — and I assure you, Republicans are going to do everything we can to make sure that the failed policies of the past stay where they belong: right next to the bell-bottoms and the leisure suits. No one doubts that government should have a role. Indeed, some challenges are so great or so urgent that they require government to act. Government can also play an important role in helping Americans meet 21st century challenges through things like education reform, making healthcare more efficient and more affordable for everyone, and increasing energy exploration. But in the face of new challenges, Democrats seem to be reverting to the old playbook of bloated government, out-of-control spending, and higher and higher taxes to pay for it all.
During the last administration, they never passed up an opportunity to wring their hands about the spending that both parties approved to recover from a horrific terrorist attack, fight two wars, and to rebuild after the single worst natural disaster in U.S. history. Now the shoe’s on the other foot. And what have we seen? Well, in just one month, Democrats have spent more than President Bush spent in seven years on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Hurricane Katrina — combined. If the overall spending has been jaw-dropping, then the individual proposals have been even more troubling. Everyone is familiar with the $1 trillion dollar Stimulus Bill. A bill that was supposed to be timely, targeted, and temporary turned out to be none of the above. Much of the spending won’t go into effect for years, much of it’s directed at wasteful projects like government golf carts, and much of the new government spending will be virtually impossible to cut off once the economy recovers.
Let me tell you who we conservatives are: We love people. 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 — 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.
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. We believe that the preamble to the Constitution contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life. Liberty, Freedom. And the pursuit of happiness. Those of you watching at home may wonder why this is being applauded. We conservatives think all three are under assault.
[T]ake a look at all the constituency groups that for 50 years have been depending on the Democrat Party to improve their lives. And you tell me if you find any. They’re still complaining, still griping about the same problems. Their problems don’t get fixed by government. And those lives have been poisoned. Those lives have been cut short by false promises, from government representatives who said don’t worry about it, we’ll take care of you. Just vote for u