This week political Conservatives from all 50 states gather in DC for the annual CPAC - Conservative Political Action Conference sponsored by The American Conservative Union. One of the great things about CPAC is the streaming video online of their speakers. You can check the schedule to see who is speaking now and the rest of the day. If you missed some of the big names who spoke yesterday or earlier today, they have the CPAC 2011 speeches archived online and easy to view.
Much of the talk around the speakers at CPAC is of course on GOP Presidential hopefuls. Many of potential contenders are speaking and tonight the more than 11,000 conference attendees will cast their vote in a GOP Presidential straw poll. The results of the straw poll, which should be released early Saturday, will put the Presidential spotlight on one Conservative extremely early in the 2012 election cycle.
Of the speakers at CPAC 2011, there are a few of my favorite conservatives such as Paul Ryan and Rick Santorum; several GOP Presidential hopefuls such as Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, and Mitt Romney; rising GOP stars: Michele Bachmann, Chris Christie and John Thune; fellow Texans: Rick Perry and Ron Paul; and newcomer to the conservative movement Donald Trump, whose speech mentioning a potential Presidential run whipped the media into a frenzy yesterday.
With enough speeches to fill two full days at a podium, there is somebody for almost every right leaning American. One of my favorite conservative politicians Paul Ryan, R-WI gave a solid speech yesterday. Ryan is a politician who speaks and acts consistently on conservative, founding principles and his 15 minute speech reflected those conservative beliefs. My favorite moments of Paul Ryan's CPAC speech centered around these quotes.
"If Government gets to give us our rights, that means Government can ration our rights, Government can restrict our rights...That's the crowd we've got right now....What we have is a systematic replacement of the rule of law by consent of the governed with the rule of man."
"If you believe Government should be doing more to solve every social problem, you cannot also believe in limited government. Society’s potential problems are unlimited, so a government that would solve problems without limit must necessarily have power without limit to do it."
While most people view his primary focus as economic conservatism, he once again reminds us that economic and social conservatism go hand in hand.
“Here’s what I’m trying to say – economic conservatism and social conservatism come from the same moral root. You can’t give up one to defend the other, and they must never be separated. There are some who believe that our problems have overrun our principles and that we need something else... But without the American idea, there is no future for freedom.”
On speaking of what to expect from the Conservative House members in 2011 leading into the 2012 election year, he said,
"We owe you the choice, do you want that opportunity society, that limited government with the safety net, based upon the founding principles of economic liberty and individual freedom? Or do you want the cradle to grave European style social welfare state? ... We owe you, we owe each other... to make sure that in 2012 America makes it's choice about what kind of future it wants to be."
If you have some free time this weekend, run over to http://video.cpac.org/ to catch up on the state of the American Conservative movement.