I couldn’t get away to CPAC this year, but Steve is there and we are looking forward to his reports. In the meantime, from afar, here are a few observations.
The Occupiers made good on their threat to invade CPAC today. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any burly union members with them, and the invasion didn’t go well. Even CBS didn’t seem impressed:
In an overflow room next door to the main ballroom broadcasting Romney’s speech, about two dozen protestors stood in front of the monitors attempting to block the view, according to two conference attendees in the room. …
“They weren’t tall enough to block the screen, but it was still annoying,” [Kevin] Spiley said.
Heh. Here they are:
The Occupiers were badly outnumbered, and don’t seem to have fared well in the verbal exchanges:
The crowd started to yell at the protestors, who covered their mouths with tape and wore shirts that read, “If money is speech, poverty is silence.” Bowe said people started to shout the protestors down by saying, “‘You smell, get a job’ — you know, the usual stuff.”
Now, if the “usual stuff” for you consisted of “you smell” and “get a job,” wouldn’t you begin to suspect that you are on the wrong track?
By that time, the “Occupy” protestors had torn the tape off their mouths and loudly chanted, “We are the 99 percent.” The group of protesters were college students from different parts of the nation who said Romney’s policies would only benefit the nation’s elites.
“Romney says ‘I’m not concerned about the very poor,’ and I’m here to say he should care, I’m one of them,” said Joe Gallant, a recent graduate of George Mason University. “I’m working two jobs and still can’t make it.”
That sums up the perspective of the Democratic Party: who are the “very poor?” Recent college graduates who haven’t yet begun to make a lot of money. The Occupiers’ departure was unceremonious:
As the protesters were escorted out, conference participants shouted back, “We pay your rent,” and moved into the hotel lobby and perimeter hotel bars chanting, “Get a job.”
I’m sorry I missed it. I would have enjoyed the opportunity to tell some Occupiers what I think of them. Steve is attending CPAC, and I believe will be speaking tomorrow. Perhaps he was able to get some video; we will see.
On a more sober note, Mitt Romney addressed the group today. How did he do? You can read his speech here. It was a conservative stemwinder, with more emphasis on the social issues than I would prefer; perhaps that relates to the fact that Rick Santorum is the Romney-alternative-of-the-moment. Here, Romney talked about his record as Governor of Massachusetts, which I have argued is generally underestimated:
As governor of Massachusetts, I had the unique experience of defending our conservative principles in the most liberal state in our union.
When I took office, I was facing a $3 billion budget deficit and an economy in a tailspin.
Even with a legislature that was 85% Democrat, I cut taxes 19 times and balanced the budget all four years. I cast over 800 vetoes and cut entire programs. I erased a $3 billion budget shortfall and left office with a $2 billion rainy day fund. If there was a program, an agency, or a department that needed cutting, we cut it. In fact, a commentator once said that I didn’t just go after the sacred cows, I went after the whole herd. And I can’t wait to get my hands on Washington.
During my tenure, our conservative values also came under attack. Less than a year after I took office, the state’s supreme court inexplicably found a right to same-sex marriage in our constitution. I pushed for a stay of the decision, fought for a marriage amendment to our constitution, and successfully prohibited out-of-state couples from coming to our state to get married and then go home. On my watch, we fought hard and prevented Massachusetts from becoming the Las Vegas of gay marriage. …
During my time in office, I stood up to those who wanted to call into question the very definition of life. I vetoed a bill that would have opened the door to cloning and embryo farming. I vetoed a bill that would have allowed young girls to gain access to abortion-inducing drugs. I fought for abstinence education in our public schools. And I defended the Catholic Church’s right to serve their community in ways that were consistent with their conscience through adoption programs that placed children in a home with a mom and a dad.
I was a conservative governor. I fought against long odds in a deep blue state. I understand the battles that we, as conservatives, must fight because I have been on the front lines.
Romney focused on the debt, as every Republican should do every time he steps in front of a crowd:
To get America back on track and get Americans back to work, we need bold and sweeping reforms. These are not managerial issues of changing this department or that agency. To change Washington, we must change the relationship between government and citizen. These are moral choices that will define us for generations to come.
Today we borrow almost forty cents of every dollar we spend. That is unconscionable. It’s unsustainable. It’s reckless. It’s immoral. And, if I am President, it will end.
I will approach every spending decision by asking a few important questions: Can we afford it? And, if not, is it worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?
As President, I will not just slow the growth of government, I will cut it. I will not just freeze government’s share of the total economy, I will reduce it. And, without raising taxes or sacrificing America’s military superiority, I will finally balance the budget.
And that will start with the easiest cut of all – I will eliminate Obamacare.
I will dramatically reduce the size of the federal workforce. And, for the first time ever, we will tie the compensation and benefits of federal workers to those in the private sector. The principle here is simple: public servants should not get a better deal than the citizens they serve.
It was a solid message, as it has been throughout the campaign. But these days, it seems that for conservatives, it is the messenger that counts more than the message.