Day two of CPAC was filled with serious Presidential candidates and sideshow libertarians.
On the Presidential side, Mitt Romney, John Thune, and Time Pawlenty all gave pretty good speeches. Gov. Romney came out swinging at President Obama, proving that he’s capable of facing off with Obama in a Presidential contest. He didn’t announce his candidacy, but he certainly hinted at it. The Daily Caller, in their coverage of CPAC, noted how Romney criticized Obama for adopting European-style policies:
Romney attacked Obama’s economic policies and said the president should stop looking to failed European socialist and big government models for ways to fix unemployment problems. He said Obama should have had more to say than, “It could be worse.”
“What’s next? Let them eat cake?” Romney said. “Excuse me, let them eat organic cake?”
The audience got a good laugh from that organic cake line. Prior to saying that, Romney had made fun of Michelle Obama’s organic garden and joked that, as part of his calculated move to the center, Obama “was going to dig up the First Lady’s organic garden to put in a Bob’s Big Boy.”
John Thune, a Senator from South Dakota, also took on Obama. But his speech was less fiery and more about introducing himself to the CPAC audience. He’d make a good V.P. in my view. The Washington Post noted that:
Most conservatives have never heard Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) speak. What they heard at CPAC was an extremely engaging and fluid proponent of core Republican beliefs. He understands the benefit of self-deprecating humor, explaining that he doesn’t have the name recognition that other Republicans enjoy. He told the crowd that he never had a book tour and goes to Iowa “on his way to South Dakota,” a reminder that he has a bit of a home field advantage there. His funniest line of the speech: “The closest I’ve been to being on a reality show is C-SPAN’s coverage of the Senate floor.” (Noteworthy: his gentle jab at Sarah Palin went over very well with the crowd.)
Thune went after ObamaCare, something Romney didn’t really do (or couldn’t really do, since ObamaCare and Massachusetts’ RomneyCare are very similar). He made a good impression with the audience, although his chances for the GOP nomination still seem slim. But then again, there’s a lot of time to go until the Iowa caucuses and so for.
As for Tim Pawlenty, the former Governor of Minnesota, he ratcheted up his usually reserved rhetoric, signally that he’s in the race for the GOP nomination without expressed saying so. My favorite part of his speech was when he took on members of Congress for created a complicated tax code, saying,
“Let’s start by requiring, under penalty of perjury, every member of Congress to do their own tax returns without the help of a tax preparer, accountant or lawyer. Let them experience firsthand the moronic, burdensome and intimidating beast that our tax system has become.”
His problem, like Sen. Thune, is that many Republicans don’t know him. If he keeps making noise like he did at CPAC, he will find a lot of support. In my opinion, T-Paw is the dark horse of the GOP nomination race.
I’ve given you my views on the Presidential speakers, except Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, who might run. His speech was really good, and he was very expressive, waving his hands all around. Check out the links to all the videos below. Rick Perry is a must-watch.
Now, for my take on the two libertarian Republicans, Gary Johnson, the former Gov. of New Mexico, and Ron Paul, the Charles Manson of libertarians (I’ll explain that a little later).
Mr. Johnson did a good job of highlighting his strengths as a potential Presidential candidate (he could never win, but he will take up the Ron Paul mantle once Rep. Paul gets committed to a mental hospital). He vetoed lots of bills, balanced the budget without raising taxes, and wants to legalize marijuana. The marijuana part got mixed reaction, but I give him props for defending his views in front of what could have been a hostile audience. There were contingents of libertarian college kids in the big room where the speeches take place. They kept cheering and holding up “Gary Johnson Rocks” signs. The rest of us just ignored them.
Ron Paul, meanwhile, gave a great speech for the libertarian students in the audience, who promptly left after he finished speaking, proving that they aren’t really conservatives, just small-government liberals. Dr. Paul railed against “the military-industrial complex,” the “police state,” and against bipartisan support for big government. I respect Congressman Paul for standing for his principles; However, I have nothing but contempt for his rude and raucous supporters, who only support him because he’ll legalize pot. True story: While out getting fresh air, a Paul supporter pulled out a bag of weed, rolled up a joint, and lit it up. He actually started to smoke it. At that point I went inside, not interested in seeing the cigarette smokers beat down a pot head.
Anyway, that’s my CPAC Recap. Check out my twitter feed, which I updated throughout the day, for more info about all the “famous” people I saw.
Also check out my “KaibCast” from Friday night, which recapped day two of CPAC: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/joshkaib/2011/02/11/fridays-kaibcast-21111
Courtesy of CPAC, here’s video of all the speeches for day two:
Archived Videos – Friday, February 11, 2011
- 9:00 AM Public Attitudes Toward Security
- 9:20 AM Hon. Gary Johnson
- 9:30 AM Cutting Spending by the Spenders
- 10:30 AM Hon. Mitt Romney
- 11:00 AM Gov. Luis Fortuno (PR)
- 11:15 AM Rep. Tom Price (GA)
- 11:30 AM Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN)
- 11:55 AM Presentation of the Blogger of the Year Award
- 12:00 PM It’s the Spending, Stupid!
- 1:00 PM Sen. John Barrasso (WY)
- 1:30 PM Sen. John Thune (SD)
- 2:00 PM Sen. Mike Lee (UT)
- 2:15 PM Do We Need a Constitutional Amendment to Stop the Spending?
- 3:00 PM Hon. Tim Pawlenty
- 3:30 PM Rep. Ron Paul
- 4:00 PM Gov. Rick Perry (TX)