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Reflections on CPAC

February 12, 2011

Today is the third and final day of the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the largest annual gathering of conservatives and libertarians in the nation. After three days of staffing a well-visited booth, meeting with dedicated activists, and listening to dynamic speakers, I’m looking forward to some rest and relaxation, but also to what the future holds for the conservative movement.

This year’s CPAC had the highest number of attendees (11,000) in the history of the conference. CPAC speakers ranged from Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the House Budget Committee Chair, to Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana, a potential presidential candidate who gave, in my view, an outstanding keynote address, which you can read here. Also, CPAC 2011 featured a number of new participating organizations that focus on both activism and policy related to social, economic, and political issues at the federal, state, and local levels.

While attending CPAC, I had the opportunity to participate in a number of discussions about important tax and fiscal policy issues facing the United States. NTUF hosted a discussion about entitlement reform that featured experts such as Rep. Devin Nunes, Maya MacGuineas, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Steven Moore, and Dan Mitchell. The bottom line of their presentation was that we need to start tackling the problem of runaway entitlement spending before it’s too late.

But budget reform should not be restricted to social programs. CPAC also featured a panel on how the nation can reduce defense spending to a more manageable level without jeopardizing readiness. As a former military aide to a fiscally conservative Member of Congress, I was pleased to hear all of the views presented and the many ideas for maintaining an affordable defense posture. The passion the attendees displayed at the panels, and in conversations with me at the NTU table, was striking.  It bodes well for conservatives if these activists carry their views home and remain outspoken and active in the political process.

For the last several weeks, there has been a lot of talk in the media about differences in the conservative movement over certain policies and suggestions that these differences spell certain doom the conservative movement.  After three days of observing conservatives of all stripes from across the country, I can unequivocally say that reports of destructive differences among conservatives are greatly exaggerated. In fact, I would argue that the conservative movement has never been stronger and ready to bring real solutions to the many serious problems facing the nation.


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Submitted by RockyMtn at: August 10, 2011
Health Care is Crippling this Country!! If Medicare was even close to being Self Sustaining it would wipe out the deficit. Two things that should occur as a start is that 1) There should be a MAJOR EFFORT made to root out fraud; 2) As sad as it may be if the tax rate was raised by 50%, a burden of only .72% it would equal almost half of the requested deficit reduction! Past that the TOTAL Health Care system is out of control. A third thing would be to revise the patent laws so that the US doesn't subsidized the rest of the worlds Drug costs. Health Care is a complictaed issue but Typical Family Doctors are not the ones to blame!

Submitted by Eric at: February 12, 2011
We will never trust our so-called elected representatives until they vote to eliminate their own entitlements. When they propose to accept minimum-wage salaries without health care benefits or pensions; when they refuse corporate contributions to their campaigns; when they vote to rescind subsidies to billion-dollar industries; when they give back the funds that their families and corporate sponsors have received -- then I'll believe them. Until that happens, I won't believe that any conservative can call him/herself conservative.

Submitted by GeronL at: February 12, 2011
Conservatives, Liberaltarians and GOProud crazies.