WASHINGTON, March 15, 2013 — Former senator and new head of the Heritage Foundation Jim DeMint was the keynote speaker last night at CPAC’s opening Presidential Dinner. In his remarks, he charged conservatives with action, saying that conservatives are committed to serve all Americans, whether they vote for us or not.
Specifically, he said that Heritage was committed to spreading conservatism via a permanent, ground up grassroots organization called Heritage Action. According to DeMint, who at the time had organized the Senate Conservatives fund, the 2010 election was not carried by Republicans but by conservatives in the grassroots Tea Party movement. Democrats, he said, copied that grassroots strategy in 2012 but the Republican Party did not.
He also said that Heritage would seek to engage all demographic groups – they already produce a newsletter in Spanish – and that they would seek to personalize the success stories of conservative policies. Detroit was singled out as the poster child for the failure of liberal policies.
He charged conservatives to engage people where they live, and outlined four policy areas where conservatives can engage now.
First, he said that conservatives cannot give up on Obamacare. It is going to bankrupt the nation. Just the day before, on Wednesday, Sen. Ted Cruz got a vote on his amendment to defund Obamacare. All the senate Republicans voted with him. This was an example of what DeMint said he heard from people as he toured the country: People are willing to follow if there is solid, principled leadership.
Second, he said that we must fix the immigration system. It is broken and amnesty is not the answer. There were an estimated 3 million illegals in the country when the first amnesty was given in 1986; today there are 12 million. Amnesty encourages law-breaking and many immigrants, he said, come here because of our adherence to the rule of law.
Third, he said we need to balance the budget within ten years without raising taxes. The president’s plan never balances the budget and that is simply not acceptable. Finally, he said that conservatives must stand for core conservative principles. In this context he spoke about the institution of marriage. He said that the government has no business redefining an institution that has existed for thousands of years and forms the basis of a stable society.
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