Arguably today’s CPAC lineup was the best of the three day Conference, all three conservative Presidential candidates addressed the CPAC Conference as did Ann Coulter telling us to vote for Romney, Laura Ingram telling us not to vote for Romney, Allen West once again demonstrating why I call him Congressman mensch and Andrew Breitbart being …well Andrew Breitbart, funny, frantic, informative, able to summarize the progressive strategy we face, in and incredibly compelling way and for the second time in two days, warning the president that he has videos.
If the three candidates were to win awards for their performance, Rick Santorum would win best in show, Mitt Romney most improved and Gingrich most consistent.
Santorum was first and immediately drew a standing ovation. Standing in front of his wife and kids he went right after Mitt Romney saying that the GOP should not sacrifice it’s conservative principals a reference to the perception that Mitt Romney is not a true conservative. Over and over and in different ways he said that Romney did not present a big enough contrast to Barack Obama to defeat the sitting president.
He then began to talk about vision. He talked about the election not being about individual polices, but about returning to the individual rights outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the constitution.
I thought Mitt Romney’s speech was his best in a long time even though at times he tried too hard I understand that especially in front of this forum he needed to prove that he was conservative. But 25 times during the speech (which was only 25 minutes long) he felt the need to tell us that he is a conservative including using the phase “I was a severely conservative Republican governor,” Sorry Governor, but severely conservative is severely awful rhetoric.
On the other hand Romney finally displayed flashes of the vision needed to win the presidency.
I believe this is a moment that demands we return to our basic values and first principals. This is our moment. This is why we are conservatives. The task before us now is to reaffirm the convictions that unite us and go forward shoulder to shoulder to secure the victory America deserves.
It’s a tepid start but if he gets the nomination and wants to win, Mitt Romney need to take that paragraph expand it and start his speeches with explaining those values and principals, all of his policies must flow from those values not vise versa. That’s how he will convince people he is conservative not the other way around.
Finally there was Newt and for the first time in three years he did not enter the conference room from the pack as the speakers blared “Eye of The Tiger.” The campaign is being sued by the songs author to get him to stop using the song.
Newt seemed to be interested in attacking the nefarious “Republican Establishment.” more than uniting the party. That tact may win cheers at CPAC, but it will not help him win the presidency.
“For the Republican establishment, managing the decay is preferable to changing the trajectory because changing the trajectory requires real fights and a real willingness to roll up sleeves and actually take on the left,” Gingrich said.
He followed with some pretty strong steps that he would take once he occupied the White House, promising:
“My goal, with your help, is that by the time President Obama lands in Chicago, we will have repudiated at least 40 percent of his government on the opening day,”
Newt’s problem is that he substituted being divisive for vision and that divisiveness may make it hard to unite the party should he win the nomination.
Finally, the highlight of the day, as it is any day he speaks was Andrew Breitbart. Rather than trying to explain his speech to you, which cannot do it the justice it deserves. Andrew Breitbart is by far the most entertaining speaker at CPAC. I will simply embed the video below. I cant wait to find out what he means by that warning to Obama, ” I have videos.”