A conservative conference US-Style

Minnesota Rep Michelle Bachmann, former Presidential Candidate, at CPAC

The American CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) took place last week in Washington.  A number of our ECR colleagues were there.  I was unable to go myself, but Joe Bono from my office was there, assisting with the ECR stand, which he tells me was very well attended indeed.

He’s sent the following brief summary:

———————————– WE STILL HOLD THESE TRUTHS————————

“We still hold these truths…” That was the theme at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference. The conference is an annual event focused on bringing together Republicans in a fashion not unlike Conservative Party Conference. One major difference is that, because of our fixed election cycle, this year’s CPAC was especially active.

Like every year, a list of keynote speakers is scheduled to give their pep talks to the assembled masses. Some names may seem familiar; Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, among many others. In the cases of Romney, Santorum and Gingrich the topic of their speeches weren’t so much a call to public action but rather a plea for support in the already heated Presidential race.

The US is now in the swing of Primary Season – the preliminary votes that take place state-by-state to decide the party’s presidential nominee. These races are hard fought and often turn ugly. No candidate ever sweeps them all, one after the next. The fact that one state’s results can vary wildly from the next is what keeps the race interesting for months.

Earlier in the week Rick Santorum had won three states’ primaries in a single day (Colorado, Minnesota & Missouri). This places him in the category of, “not going away any time soon”. Mitt Romney, while racking up wins in several key states, is not even close to being able to declare victory. Newt Gingrich has announced publiclly that he has no intention of bowing out the race no matter how many states he wins or loses. So this contest is far from being decided.

CPAC finds itself right in the middle of the horse race. A straw poll was taken during the three days of events. The results of that poll would be seen as a determinant of how the conservative voters of America feel about these three candidates. The poll isn’t binding in any way and is not recorded as an official election activity. But if I could only describe the fever pitch campaign efforts there were to win… Canvassers blanked the conference center with posters and flyers and stickers all brandishing their candidate’s name, all accompanied with the image of the American flag, and all touting some variation on the slogan “Let’s make America Great Again”.

In the end it was Romney who won the straw poll and, as predicted, media reports were all saying this was a key victory for his campaign. I’ll not be divulging who I voted for.

With President Obama’s approval ratings hovering somewhere around 45 – 50% for the last few months the tone of the Conference was cautiously optimistic. With a strong candidate the GOP may pull off a win, perhaps even with majorities in the House of Representatives and Senate as well. Stay tuned.

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3 Responses to A conservative conference US-Style

  1. Sean O'Hare says:

    Not even a mention of Ron Paul! Is he invisible to ECR or something?

  2. Joseph Bono says:

    Ron Paul is indeed an important voice for libertarian values within the U.S. Congress. He calls for the balancing of budgets, the disengagement of the US’s aggressive foreign policy and the moderate reduction of the so-called “Military Industrial Complex”. At campaign rallies he prompts wild cheers when saying things like, “We’re all Austrians NOW”, in a reference to Austrian economist Ludwig Von Mises. This type of educated dialogue is much needed in the American political system. Paul’s candidacy is refreshingly welcome by all conservatives (Republican and otherwise).

    Alas, he has never been accepted by the Republican main stream. Though in previous years he faired well in popularity his campaign simply decided not to attend CPAC 2012. The official reason was that his scheduling wouldn’t permit as he was campaigning in the state of Maine. As a matter of fact he placed second, less than four points behind Romney, in the Maine primary election last Saturday.

    Ron Paul supporters were not scarce, however, and they could be seen wearing buttons and stickers brandishing the Texas Congressman’s name. It is believed that the 76 year old will likely not run for President after this race. His omission in my earlier piece was not meant to diminish his importance, but his absence at CPAC gave me little incentive to include him.

  3. Sean O'Hare says:

    Please thank Joseph for his reply. I now appreciate why he was not mentioned.

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