I caught a bit of Rick Perry's CPAC speech today and, boy, does he have a fire in the belly.
The Spectacle Blog
Despite losing two presidential elections, former senator Rick Santorum delievered a powerful speech at CPAC this afternoon. Rather than setting the stage for a presidential bid, Santorum warned grassroots activists and future Republican politicians not to be concerned with winning elections if it means "losing" cultural conservatism:
'We have to win.' We know what they mean: We have to put aside what we believe is in the best interest of the country so that a Republican candidate can win...They wonder why we lose.
Sen. Rand Paul took a strong stance against the NSA at CPAC today, bringing a whole room of attendees to their feet—something which ten years ago would have been unimaginable. "Generalized warrants that don’t name an individual go against the fabric of the Fourth Amendment," he said.
Although Paul’s speech was primarily intended to sell a liberty-centered conservatism, it also served as a dress rehearsal for the 2016 race for the Republican presidential nominee, specifically between frontrunners Paul and Governor Chris Christie. Yesterday, Christie marked himself as a proponent of a tough national defense. Paul countered by railing against the NSA on moral grounds:
We will not trade our liberty for security…Our rights are inherent. They are inseparable from our person…They come from our Creator and no government can take them away from us. The Constitution merely codifies what exists before time.
Political philosophy isn’t the only area of dispute. Whereas Christie identified himself as an outsider to an inept Congress, Paul defended his accomplishments in the Senate: "I took a stand. I filibustered…I sued the president."
Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee gave a standard-issue conservative speech at CPAC this morning, trashing the NSA, Obamacare, abortion, and all forms of government overreach.
He also focused heavily on his belief in God, the Christian heritage of America, and our national defense. He even quoted Billy Graham’s wife Ruth:
If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.
Texas Governor Rick Perry electrified the crowds with his passionate words this morning at CPAC.
Perry introduced his speech discussing the weakened state of America’s place in the world, but quickly turned to solutions and hope:
It’s time for a little rebellion on the battle field of ideas!
His battle cry? Look to the states.
He devoted a good portion of his speech to complimenting his fellow red-state governors, including Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, and Florida’s Rick Scott. Perry said that conservative governors are the “common denominator” between “flourishing” red states. He jabbed at subsidies, the nanny-state, and Obamacare, mentioning the “freedom of the individual” over and over.
His words invited hearty applause from the audience, which erupted into a Texas-sized standing ovation toward the end of his speech.
In his speech at CPAC this morning, Senator Marco Rubio worked hard to find a middle ground between neoconservatives and Rand Paul on foreign policy.
He focused on the global state of the world – bloodshed in Venezuela, China’s overreach, North Korea’s missile power, Putin’s totalitarian control – and asked Americans to remember that all of this global unrest has negative effects on the American economy:
Americans must be involved in leading the world... we cannot ignore the reality of who we are and the global importance of this nation.
He pled with younger Americans to consider what their world will look like in ten years if we do nothing.
But how will he practically influence the world without directly getting involved militarily? He didn’t quite say.
“I’m shy. I don’t like to speak my mind.”
Gov. Chris Christie’s CPAC speech this afternoon was more than just a rally for conservatives: It laid the groundwork for a future presidential run.
His speech targeted key issues that conflicting factions of the conservative movement can agree on. He touted his strong pro-life streak, called the Democratic Party “intolerant,” and demonstrated his success as a fiscal conservative in New Jersey.
"Our ideas are better than theirs," he said confidently.
Once he proved his conservatism to the CPAC audience, Christie focused on pragmatics:
We need to start talking about what we’re for….not what we’re against.
Not only are we against Obamacare…higher taxes…bigger government…more intrusion into our constitutional rights…but we’re for a free market society that allows your effort and ingenuity to determine your success, not the cold, hard hand of government to determine winners and losers, which is what this administration has been about.