Thursday, February 9, 2012

#Liberal4Life....CPAC day 1

Wow, I just got back from day one of CPAC. I have come to the conclusion that this is what an undercover agent must feel like…I was surrounded by people who I profoundly disagree with on a variety of issues. I have never felt so adamant about never identifying myself as a conservative (sorry Professor, not converted). So, for those about to read, be warned… I am a profoundly not conservative individual writing about attending the Conservative Political Action Conference. Today, I heard McConnell, Boehner, and Perry speak. (Please keep in mind when I quote them I am using a combination of my notes and memory…aka they are probably not verbatim)

First some general observations. It was insanely overwhelming walking into the atrium of the conference location. There were people milling about and talking, as well as a number of booths set up on multiple floors.  The main room where the bigwig speakers were to speak was HUGE—two American flags (obviously), three big screens and a giant stage.
Senator Johnson (R-WI)
I made it to the main room a bit early for McConnell’s talk, and managed to hear the last bit of Senator Johnson (R-WI)who beat Feingold (D-WI) in 2010. I noticed in his speech he was really trying to distance himself from government, saying that he “doesn’t find government particularly relevant or efficient”. Which I thought was mildly entertaining, considering he is a part of that government. However the best part was that when he was done talking, the lights flashed like at a concert and some crazy pump up music played while they prepared for the next speaker. The entertainment had begun.
Senator McConnell (R-KY)...sorry it is blurry!

The first speaker of importance I heard was Senator McConnell.  He focused on his position of opposing earmarks, and the economy, saying “the recent job report happened in spite of the President’s policies, not because of it”. My reaction to that statement is that if the economy continues to get better, the Republicans are going to have a seriously hard time making that argument. Another memorable quote was that, “The president should have higher priorities than picking of FOX news”. This just made me laugh for obvious reasons.

House Speaker Boehner (R-OH)

Boehner also spoke about being anti-earmarks. Similar to Johnson, it seemed like Boehner was trying to distance himself from the very unpopular congress, saying that his majority looks to the “people not politicians to set the agenda”. I think this tactic will be used by both Conservative and Liberals alike as people run for reelection out of a Congress that had only a 13% approval rating. Another common theme of his talk was stopping the Obama Administration’s “attack on religious freedom”.  It was during statements like this that made it VERY difficult for me not to make snarky comments under my breath. However, I executed some self-control and managed to show my disapproval by never giving anyone a standing ovation. Small victories.

Now my most favorite person I heard speak, from a purely comedic standpoint, was Mr. Rick Perry.  Who acknowledged his removal of presidential candidacy by referencing his college football team that “never loses, they just run out of time”. Charming.  He also took what I interpreted as a dig at Romney, arguing that the Republicans don’t want to nominate a candidate that is a “lukewarm version of the same.” Now, Perry was very proud of the fact that as governor, he had ended all state-funding for Planned Parenthood in Texas. The fact that young women in the crowd applauded that almost made me throw up. Clearly I am showing my bias here, but in general, Perry sounded like an a$$hole. He had far too many sports references, leading me to believe that perhaps his true calling is a football coach, not presidential candidate. His closing remarks? “If it is halftime in America—we need a new Quarterback.” gag.

Coach Former Presidential Candidate Rick Perry
Oh and for my own entertainment, I started a tally of how many times the speakers mentioned Ronald the four speakers I saw, the number was already at 12...#MoveOn

In general, I don’t have a problem with the Conservative ideal of cutting spending. I think the level of spending we are currently at, is not sustainable and must be cut. I just think that to cut spending without increasing government revenue (re: raising taxes), will never solve the problem. 

I also understand and am aware that the audience at this conference are all very strong conservatives, and that the speakers are very aware of that and therefore tailoring their speeches to please that audience. I would be curious to see how and if the rhetoric changes when these politicians discuss specific issues with liberals. I think a part of my serious dislike of Conservatism following this event has a lot to do with the extreme level I witnessed. I don't necessarily disagree that much with Hayward's article we read the other day. I am sure that if this was a liberal convention, it would also be too extreme, just in the other direction. 

I am looking forward to hearing Gingrich, Santorum and Romney speak tomorrow. 


TJE said...

Good reporting Amy. Did you observe the right wing dating scene as described below?

gslayen said...

haha, Amy! That was fantastic. Also, to add insult to injury, I think it was reported today that approval ratings for Congress were down to 10%. Yikes.

Amy S. said...

I did notice a lot of young people! So it really wouldn't surprise me if tomorrow they started using that guy's advice. And asking someone to a gun club on a date kind of seems like a red flag to me.