Lanterns.Buzz and MadisonsMedia have arrived at CPAC 2017! Located at the Gaylord Convention Center at National Harbor just outside of Washington, DC, the next three days will prove to be jam-packed with speakers and interviews. While the radio guys and gals are on media row broadcasting and doing interviews, I am in the main ballroom covering the main events of the day. Later in the day and in the days to come, each of these speakers talks can be viewed in full online. I hope to recap most of the speeches, so you can maybe pick and choose what you’d like to see.
The morning began with Dr. Larry Arnn of Hillsdale College speaking on the roots of Conservatism. He stressed how liberty, principles, intent, The Declaration, The Bill of Rights, and the Constitution all tie together with liberty at the core. He reminded the audience through a quote by Margaret Thatcher that, “You may have to fight a battle more than once before you win it.”
Sabrina Schaeffer of the Independent Women’s Forum made the distinction as to how differences are real. However, they are not determinative. In other words, each of us has unique life experiences, but that is not what determines our station in life. This is the main difference with conservatism. Conservatives don’t put people in blocks and boxes.
Gov Scott Walker “rocked the house” and received a standing ovation as he came on stage to talk of governing as a conservative. The Governor began by sharing a bumper sticker, “1 Walker beats 14 runners.” He then reminded the audience of the time when the Democrat legislators all fled the Capitol to Illinois and shut down the government, then returned with busloads of protesters. At one point, the Capitol building was occupied by over 1,000 protesters. They tried to use lawyers and judges to stop the will of the voters, but Walker and the voters prevailed, passing tax and regulatory reform. He said Washington listens to noise, and conservatives should make more. “DC is 68 square miles surrounded by reality.”
Dan Schneider of the American Conservative Union discussed how the “Alt-right Ain’t Right at All.” He detailed how a left wing fascist group hijacked the name in an effort to sway media and the people. He used the analogy of how Treasury officials are trained to find counterfeit bills. They study ONLY real currency. When a fake is introduced, it sticks out. We should also educate ourselves so we can tell real right from the left wing fascist alt-right. Government can only protect or take our rights-- it cannot give them.
Next was a panel discussion of Federalism: States vs. the State
Four governors participated: Doug Ducey (AZ), Sam Brownback (KS), Scott Walker (WI), and Matt Bevin (KY). This was an excellent discussion and well worth the time if you can watch it. They discussed the importance of lowering taxes and regulations on the state level while pushing back as able against the federal government. Gov Walker suggested that the feds should only do the military, social security, and medicare. The states can do everything else better. The states have better things to do than being dictated as to whom has to be in bathrooms and locker rooms, and suing the government for their state’s rights.
From EPA to education, the states are better suited and closer to the people. The success of charter schools demonstrates the importance of choice and competition. Brownback made the point that high school seniors are inundated with information and offers from colleges, and asked why this wasn't possible for primary education? Wisconsin passed legislation for teachers to receive merit pay and protection, rather than seniority. Regarding welfare reform, it should be a trampoline, not a hammock. People “pushed” from welfare to work saw an average of triple the income over their welfare check, and a sense of accomplishment one gets from working vs. a handout.
They each stressed the importance of citizen involvement. To demonstrate the this, Matt Bevin said he went from a 44/100 in his legislature to 64/100 in one year. Regulations kill competition. For example, after the telephone and airline industries were deregulated, options went up, and costs went down.
The challenge was to name one thing that the federal government has waged war on that has shown any improvement. The war on drugs, poverty, etc. have all failed. Look at a dollar, would you rather that go to Washington and let them send a little back to you, or keep it at home?