WASHINGTON, March 16, 2013 — From the moment the words left his lips, the thunderous ovation from the crowd told the story. CPAC 2013 had its most heartfelt moment, while reminding people what could have been.
Former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney had people on the verge of tears near the end of his remarks when he said “I am sorry that I will not be your president – but I will be your co-worker and I will stand shoulder to shoulder with you.”
As people streamed out of the main theatre, many lamented that the far better man lost the 2012 election. The contrast was still stark. Barack Obama won the White House, yet acts angry and petulant. Mitt Romney lost, and despite feeling tremendous pain, shows the grace and class of the good decent man he is.
Romney cautioned the GOP to learn from its ‒ and his ‒ mistakes. Romney allowed Obama to define him, and it is impossible to win on policy until conservatives stand up for our good moral character.
Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan is still among the best and brightest in the GOP. He knows how to take fiscal issues and frame fixing them as a moral imperative.
“Just look at where we are, and where we’re going. Last quarter, the economy grew by a hair. Unemployment is 7.7 percent. 46 million people are living in poverty today in America. The President says we’re in a recovery. I’d say we’re in critical care. Look at where we’re going! Farther down the road, things will get worse. By the end of 2023, the economy will be at a crawl. We will have added $8 trillion to our debt. That debt will weigh down the country like an anchor.
“That anchor will drag us into the deep waters of rising interest rates and decreased lender confidence. The safety net would unravel. The most vulnerable? They would suffer the most.”
While 2016 is a long way away, Paul Ryan is absolutely top tier presidential timber. CPAC 2013 has been about the future, and Ryan captures that spirit.
Donald Trump gave his familiar speech about how America does not make anything anymore. There was nothing wrong with his speech, but it got lost amidst the more emotional speeches on this day.
Speaking of emotion, the crowd can always count on former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum to deliver. In addition to his CPAC speech, he also hosted a hospitality suite where plenty of true believers listened to him in hopes that he would make a second White House run in 2016.
Yet for sheer moments to last a lifetime, for the second night in a row Colonel Allen West provided the spark.
At a dinner sponsored by Young Jewish Conservatives, notables such as James O’Keefe regaled the large crowd of about 150 Jews. Yet the star of the night was Colonel West. His knowledge of Jewish history is extensive, and he lamented how sad it was that he knew more about Judaism than many Jews do.
He challenged the people in the room to be the next generation of leaders. When Allen West talks about leadership, people listen. He wore a Yarmulkah (Jewish skullcap) throughout the evening, but this was not pandering. He was clearly among friends, and felt comfortable. He knows what it is like to be a minority conservative, and the crowd drew strength from him.
With two out of three days of CPAC in the books, the crescendo will be Reaganpalooza on Saturday night.
For now, the conservative movement should be pleased to see so many past stars treated warmly despite unfortunate election results and so many up and coming conservatives ready to fight back.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian. Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.”
Eric is 100% alcohol, tobacco, drug, and liberalism free. Follow Eric on Twitter @TYGRRRREXPRESS.
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