If you have never been to a Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) convention, let me encourage you to consider attending. The American Conservative Union (ACU) holds an annual convention where thousands of conservatives of all ages converge.  You will spend three days immersed in activism, conservative thought, and lively discussion. Below you will find comments on some of the panel discussions, workshops, and speeches we were able to attend.  Here is a link to the website, http://cpac.org/. Videos of speeches and panel discussions can be found at www.cspan.org.  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Senator Mike Lee, Utah – The senator told us that we must be up to winning in 2016 with conservative principles, positive, and proven. He stressed that we must put forth specific ideas.

Panel Discussion – Reclaiming the American Dream; Millennials Look Toward Their Future – Senator Ben Sasse of NE told us that American are skeptical about government central planned. He learned this as he campaigned in NE, spending 400 days on a bus with his family. Before running for the senate, he was a college president.  Washington D.C. should exist to provide order and liberty. He believes Millennials agree with this.

Charlie Kirk, Founder, Turning Point USA – An economics major from IL, this young man started Turning Point USA to communicate with Millennials. He says that Millennials are tired of what is going on, and conservatives must be united and focused. This young man may be on to something, he had a very lively and impressive organization. Here is the website: http://www.turningpointusa.net/.

Representative Mia Love, Utah – She claims that Americans will lift each other up, and rally to a good cause. She encouraged us to be ready to get involved when the opportunity arises.

Panel Discussion – The Conservative Replacement to Obamacare – Jim Capretta of the Ethics and Public Policy Center laid out a broad structure for what a replacement must look like:
It must leave employer healthcare plans alone.
It must provide equal tax treatment for those who buy insurance on their own.
It must ensure that patients with pre-existing conditions stay continuously insured.
It must change and improve Medicare and Medicaid and ensure they are state-focused.

Panel Discussion – Strategic Communication – Heather Higgins of the Independent Women’s Voice discussed using the right “bait” in the message and she believes that purity of principle alone won’t win. President Reagan wanted to improve life for all Americans, not just some. Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform, told us to be on the lookout for messages of “freedom”. Take baby steps to broaden the conservative message. Tammy Bruce, The Washington Times, talked at length about liberal messaging. She believes that liberals spend their time trying to get into our heads and then work 24/7 to keep us in the dark. A conservative message must be about freedom. She encouraged us to get involved outside of our comfort zone. Visit her website at www.tammybruce.com.

Panel Discussion – Vote Early, Vote Often: How to Combat Election (Voter) Fraud – James O’Keefe, journalist with Project Veritas showed video of himself voting several times with no ID required. Don McGahan, Former FEC Chairman, stressed that boards of elections must set down rules of engagement ahead of elections. A particularly egregious example of “no rules” was the election of Al Franken to the senate. There were no rules about what ballots could be counted, as such, many fraudulent ballots helped him to win.

Governor Sarah Palin – The governor spoke about our veterans, a topic near and dear to her heart. She had three suggestions to secure better benefits for our vets:
Give healthcare vouchers.
Allow vets to test out so that they can use their skills immediately to work.
Secure their benefits permanently.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Speaker Newt Gingrich – Speaker Gingrich discussed the threat of Islamic terrorism and that congress should decide policy on this. He discussed his concerns over foreign money going to the Clinton Foundation during Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State and the potential conflict of interest this creates.  He also explained that there many pieces of Islamic terrorism and that ISIS is just one piece. The silent threat by those who would change our way of life is equally as serious.

Ambassador John Bolton – The ambassador made remarks on Mrs. Clinton’s record as Secretary of State and that she has not shown herself to be qualified as Commander in Chief.

Sean Hannity, Fox News – Sean came out throwing his signature footballs into the crowd, and got everyone revved up and on their feet. He pledged to make 2016 happen, so that our country can hold promise again for our young people.

Wayne LaPierre, NRA – Mr. LaPierre discussed the need for a national reciprocity law so that concealed carry laws can apply from state to state.

Workshop – Tea Party Patriots – Speaking the Language of Liberty – William Norton of the TPP gave us tips and tricks when trying to persuade others to see the conservative side of the equation. He said to localize your language, talk about freedom vs. captivity by government, fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets. He encouraged us to speak with both our hearts and minds (feelings versus only facts), keep phrasing and words positive and optimistic. Don’t sound mean, and don’t only spew facts. He encouraged us to immerse ourselves in the principles of liberty, so that they become second nature.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Mark Levin, The Mark Levin Show – Mr. Levin came out quoting Thomas Paine – reminding us we are here because we are concerned for the loss of our republic. However, he reminded us that while President Obama may have a pen and a phone, we have the Constitution. He had a long list of redresses, as though we were once again crafting a Declaration of Independence. He said that to win in 2016, Republicans must defend us against growing government, defend the constitution, reject crony capitalism and the media, and offer real alternatives to iron-fisted government.

Panel Discussion – Reining in a Lawless President: Obamnesty and other Pen and Phone Affronts – Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch reminded us that the constitution was mean to protect individual liberty through separation of powers and that challenging through litigation is the first line of defense. He also discussed the power of the purse and that is it shared by the House and Senate. If needed, change the filibuster rule so that it does not supersede the Constitution and policy debate. He also strongly stated that any member who funds the amnesty bill is complicit with the recent judge’s orders.

Toni Lahren – On Point with Toni Lahren, One America News Network – Ms. Lahren is a Millennial radio talk show host who discusses issues of the day. She reminded us that the left is good at telling us what we stand for. She counters that by reminding Millennials that free stuff means you are trapped, that Millennials do not appreciate being told what to do, and that limited government does not include a takeover of the Internet. She compared Net Neutrality, where all traffic must be treated the same, to Obamacare for the Internet. Ms. Laharen said that we must start to put Americans first.

Panel Discussion – Dusting off the 10th Amendment: The Future of Federalism – This was a great discussion and a real eye-opener. Representative Bob Goodlatte, VA-6, opened the discussion by reminding us that powers not delegated specifically delegated to the Federal government, nor a thing not prohibited at the state level (currency, for example), belong to the states or to the people. Governor Sam Brownback of KS discussed that he is pushing back against the federal government and he has created a federalism office. Vertical checks and balances are needed for real federalism.  He said to watch the state of UT on federal lands issues. This really made us stop and think about everything the Federal government has its hands on.

Panel Discussion – America’s Security in the Age of Jihad – Dr. Zudhi Jasser, American Islamic Forum for Democracy, discussed the need for the leader that Muslin reformers are so desperately seeking. Major Pete Hegseth, Concerned Veterans for America tell us that the Koran reads from a peaceful document to a more violent doctrine. J. D. Gordon, former Pentagon Spokesman and Navy Commander tells us that radical Islam is a violent ideology. He said that American should be pressuring Saudi Arabia to change. Lt. Col. Anthony Schaffer, Sr. Fellow at London Policy Research Institute, explained that we may have lost the will to win, and that President Reagan wasn’t afraid to name the Evil Empire.

Presidential Candidates: You may find videos of speeches by the potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates by visiting www.cspan.org, and typing the candidate’s name into the search box. Speakers included: Dr. Ben Carson, Governor Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina (a must-see speech), Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Scott Walker, Governor Bobby Jindal, Governor Rick Perry, Senator Rand Paul, Donald Trump, Senator Rick Santorum, Governor Jeb Bush, and Senator Marco Rubio. You can also find videos of the panel discussions and other speakers at www.cspan.org.

Submitted by: Linda and Bill Trausch