Skip to comments.Front-Line Report from C-PAC by LS
Posted on 03/03/2007 12:41:25 PM PST by LS
Well, back from my brief visit to C-PAC with a few observations. (I promised some here I would report, so here 'tis.)
1) On Thurs., Fr. John Putka of the University of Dayton (as he always does) arranged for an extended meeting between UD students and guests and a Supreme Court justice, in this case, Justice Clarence Thomas. Two years ago we got to pose for pics afterwards, but this year Father had approximately 50 people, so we didn't get to do the photo session. Justice Thomas reiterated his complete adherence to the Constitution, even when it means he doesn't approve of the outcome (i.e., letting Californians "smoke dope" in his words). He also said that he asked himself during Bush v. Gore in 2000, "Am I just as satisfied with this ruling if it put Gore in office?" and concluded, "yes."
I did sense a kind of helplessness at really being able to change anything, whether it was the climate of the confirmation hearings (only gotten worse since his confirmation) or the partisanship (here, I differ: I WANT more partisanship). He reaffirmed that younger and younger people are getting on the Court because of a lack of a record. He noted on several occasions that the media, especially when "covering" USSC decisions, has almost never actually READ the decisions.
I took Thurs. afternoon off and went to the museums with my son.
Friday we arrived early and I immediately ran into the Newtster, whom I knew indirectly through the co-author on his Civil War books (Bill Forstchen, who uses my "Patriot's History" in his U.S. history classes). We exchanged pleasantries.
I searched in vain for a FreeRepublic booth, when two years ago, both the D.C. chapter and the national chapter had booths.
MY OPINION: It seemed like, in general, much of the "playfulness" and biting sarcasm was missing from C-PAC of 2005. I didn't see as many clever posters, gimmicks, etc. Perhaps this reflected the loss of the House and Senate, and a more serious view that we can't allow the whackos to stay in power.
"Radio row" also seemed much-downsized this time around.
Unlike 2005---for obvious reasons---there was much more of a primary atmosphere afoot. LOTS OF YOUNG PEOPLE AND STUDENTS---more, it seemed, than in 2005---and all of them supporting one candidate or the other. By far, the best organized with the "youts" was Mitt Romney. Guliani and McCain had zero "yout" presence; Brownback some.
We were scheduled for a meeting with Brownback, but he was delayed at Capitol Hill, and I had a meeting of my own to go to, so I didn't hear him. The few comments I got from students who were there was hardly "knock you over" enthusiasm. "Generic" was the word most used---but I didn't talk to a large number who were there. I did see excerpts of another speech of his to the general body later, and was underwhelmed.
Was in the Ex. Hall when Guiliani spoke, so I watched it by TV. (Disclosure: among those I thought could win, going in, Rudy was my favorite.) I was disappointed in his speech. He invoked Reagan too handily, and his biggest potential issue---being able to win the War on Terror---he troubled me with a line about "stopping them and engaging them," meaning the enemy. I don't want to engaged them, except at long range with large caliber weapons!!!! He made excellent points about his handling crime, welfare, and taxes, as well as overall administration of NY while mayor, but I disagree with him that the U.S. is a nation founded on some generic idea of freedom: it is a nation founded on the Judeo-Christian concepts of freedom and VIRTUE, with one being impossible without the other. In short, Rudy fell several notches in my eyes with his speech.
After meeting with my editor, we settled into the massive line for the afternoon sessions.
I won't cover the "war" panel, as most of the comments were predictable, if accurage. Next, Romney was up.
I confess to knowing little about Romney, but like Ann Coulter, I am impressed by Republicans who can win in blue states. 1) He is photogenic and speaks very well, far better than Rudy, who is "conversational," but sometimes not inspiring. Regardless of one's positions, you cannot overlook the teleginics of modern politics. Romney will get some votes where an older/fatter or balder McCain/Rudy would not.
2) He laid out his successes, which were considerable, in Mass. He also laid out his strong credentials on pro-life and pro-marriage.
What I really liked in his language---on ANY of these issues---was his expressed willingness and history to not only do battle with the libs in the legislature, but to actually VETO and take to court their bills. Last week, there were two columns on Rudy that said basically conservatives like him because they sense he will DEFEAT, not work with, the enemy. I got that sense from Mitt, too.
I thought as strong as his overall talk was, he, like Rudy, was surprisingly weak on the WoT. Face it: I wanted tough talk and red meat, and didn't get it. In fact, I thought Mitt kinda of bungled has last few lines that should have been the clincher. Still, he came up several notches in my book and I will keep an eye on him. (If the media is so focused on his Mormonism, it is only because he must present a real challenge).
Closing act (for me, at least): Coulter. She had a relatively short section of prepared comments, and while each one was a beautiful zinger, it certainly wasn't a well-polished or delivered talk. During the Q&A some nimrod from "The Nation" or some such leftie rag asked her if she believed in family values so much, why did she break three engagements. She really stumbled on that, first saying it wasn't his business, then kind of fumbling around. To the obvious answer was, "Precisely BECAUSE I support family values, and take marriage to be forever, I would rather break up with someone before the marriage vows than become a serial divorcee like Liz Taylor." But then, I wasn't on stage. The crowd booed when the little wimp left.
Coulter was then asked who she supported for pres., and she said that there was a big pond and a little pond, and we had to be realistic, that the people in the little pond (Hunter, Tancredo, Brownback) just didn't have a chance, so our real choices were between McCain, Rudy, Romney, and perhaps Newt if he runs. She said of the four, she supported Romney, and gave several reasons why. She reiterated the POSITIVES about Rudy, but also said that the list of negatives was very long.
Someone asked about why it was hard to get blacks in the GOP and she said it was a mystery, but "our blacks" are smart and qualified, and except for Donna Brazile, "their blacks" are brain dead (or words to that effect). She said she couldn't understand why gays were all for the GOP too: we believe in putting people in jail . . . .
It took a minute for that one to sink in.
Final thoughts: it was fun, and expensive, and next year, if I don't have a book to sell, I'll probably skip it. The massive lines and smaller rooms meant you couldn't keep a schedule, even for the speakers, and that a person who wanted to arrive for one panel, then leave for another, had no chance. You stayed where you were.
On issues of immigration/borders, I got a sense that it was a strong/important issue, but not overwhelming. I also got the sense that the audience never really heard what they hoped to hear from anyone that I covered.
Thanks for your commentary.
I am disappointed that Free Republic wasn't represented..but, I guess it is partly my fault..I didn't go a make a booth, did I??
It doesn't sound like you got there early enough yesterday to see Duncan Hunter.
I saw the speeches of Rudy and Mitt LIVE on c-span..but they didn't show Hunter's live.
They repeated it last night..and I watched it then.
Unfortunately, it was SO early, there were hardly any in the audience..and in one crowd shot, the one guy sitting where the camera pointed was EATING...LOL
I thought Duncan Hunter gave the kind of speech that I liked...he spelled out the problems as a POTUS he would have to deal with..and his ideas of how he would deal with them.
It wasn't a rah-rah speech...but it made me feel that he has a clue.
Also unfortunately, as you pointed out...Ann Coulter ignored him along with some of the other candidates.
I am glad you also pointed out the expense...several other freepers and I have been bemoaning not going this year..and thinking of going next....I am not so sure after reading your post.
Seeing most of it on C-span was pretty good...and FREE (except for my DirecTV bill..lol).
Thanks again on your observations.
Thanks for the report.
Of the big three, it looks like Romney will end up being the man for conservatives (of the big three, that is). With Rudy as the RINO, and, I predict, McCain will be dead in the water 6 months from now.
Great report! Many thanks!
As it stands now... I see only two favorable picks. Duncan Hunter seems the best all around... and if he falls early... I'd go with Romney. With McCain, Giuliani or Brownback... we end up with illegal-amnesty and the promise of a continued, illegal invasion.
Good posting, I am also kind of disheartened with the current political environment. IMHO, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was the beginning of the 2006 downfall. The defeat of the 2006 elections was a wake-up call, one that I fear the GOP establishment hasn't fully heard. Bush has dropped the ball on border security, and the Dubai Port debacle compromised the GOP advantage on national security. Also, read my tagline closely.
In order to win in 2008, the conservative grass roots will have to take some risks with regard to choosing political candidates, particularly Presidential candidates.
This of course holds true for all races and ethnic groups.
My nephew lives in DC we can all stay at his place.. LOL!
Glad you got to cover it. Thanks for sharing.
LOL! Fire the editor.
I agree. Thanks for the report. Some might call it ---> Reaganesque. I've seen him twice now and I felt it. And, he can beat her.
Moi be da editor. Was writing in haste.
Like most people from New Jersey, I like Rudy because I saw what a difference he made to NYC first hand. However, his popularity was waning sharply in the days before 9/11 and for good reason as he seemed to have overplayed his hand.
I'm glad to hear that Mitt Romney was better than expected.
So far, all I know is I don't want McCain winning!
BTW, heard on FOX that Fred Thompson is considering a run. That would be interesting, as he is pretty much right on "God, gays, guns, and abortion," and while not "telegenic," he is an actor who is known and who has stage presence. I don't know Thompson's positions on the border, and a few conservatives were miffed that he didn't do a better job of the Clinton hearings.
Did you get a chance to hear or speak to Duncan Hunter?
I will say this: it is obvious why people like Hunter and Newt aren't taken seriously yet. Neither had a "presence" at all on the floor. You couldn't walk anywhere without tripping over a student for Romney or Brownback. (Guiliani, who only added this talk quite late, is perhaps to be excused--but he's also the front-runner). Hunter should have had student groups, had the place wall-papered with his name. But there was nothing. Even Tancredo had more "presence" than he did.
You see Gov Gilmore this afternoon? I thought he was quite good. He claims to be a real lifelong conservative, unlike the other "front runners." I was impressed. I think he is my first choice now. ;)
I am disappointed FR had no booth. That exhibit hall was not very good. I hope they don't have CPAC at the Shoreham next year. It is just not big enough. Not to mention the main ballroom was so hot at times. The exhibit halls at the Reagan Center were much nicer. If 6000 people are going to show up next year I really think they need to have this in the DC convention center. Just my 2 cents.
Didn't see Gilmore---cant see everyone. He had more of a presence than Hunter, however (more students, placards, etc).
Interesting too, though not surprising, I don't think there is a single McCain supporter here. If there are any I guess they need to keep quiet about it. I have not seen ONE sticker or banner for McCain. A local conservative radio guy last night was excoriating McCain for turning down the invitation to speak. I have to wonder where McCain got the support he did from this recent SC straw poll.
The Reagan Center meeting rooms were indeed too small. I think the registration numbers for the Shoreham last year were smaller though. If this is the "biggest CPAC ever" thenit is good there is so much interest but they need a bigger venue where everyone can fit, IMHO.
Are you still here btw? I am going to try to see Gingrich's speech on a monitor in the hall since I dont think I can get in. Not sure I want to since it was sweltering in there before. I hope to go to this reception with David Horowitz and Rick Santorum later.
I think I'll send him another $50.
Call it an investment in our future.
Nice job Larry. One of these years I'll get to C-PAC.
I only got to see a small portion of Romney, Huckabee and Rudy.
However, one person everybody keeps ignoring is Duncan Hunter who placed SECOND in the CPAC straw poll and 3rd in the SC straw poll. How Coulter can say he doesn't "have a chance" is disappointing to me.
I heard via FR that Hunter's speech was received very well. Hunter is my House rep, and his fight for the "fence", as well as his support for the Border agents, has gained him a lot of exposure in the border states. Sadly, he was on at 8:30 am which translates to 5:30 am here in CA - and by the time I found out when he was speaking - it was over. I was bummed. I wanted to see the public's reaction to Hunter's speech.
I too was disappointed in Rudy's speech. While I believe he has strong law and order genes, that's not all there is to being President. It's much more difficult than being mayor of a city. Still .. if he does end up being the nominee - I will vote for him - because to stay home and allow Hillary to get back into the WH is just unthinkable to me.
I don't know much of anything about Romney .. but his ability to get elected in a blue state is something to think about .. but does it signal that he will trend left if given the choice ..?? I've seen that happen to Arnold and I don't like it one bit. As for his being a Mormon ..?? I'm not sure how I feel about that.
As for McCain .. I would be very unhappy if I was forced to vote for him in order to keep Hillary out of the WH.
LOL...I am SURE he would LOVE us!!
We are all so quiet and polite.
No. I don't think so. Why? Because he already trended to the right while governor. Everyone seems to think this conversion of his is a day old and all talk, but he actually took action while governor that trended to the right for quite some time.
Not only did he balance the budget while never raising taxes, but he took the pro-life position on every abortion-related issue he faced while governor:
-He vetoed an emergency contraception bill and offered a compelling case for life in the process.
-He fought efforts to advance embryonic stem cell research in Massachusetts, despite overwhelming opposition.
-He pledged to veto any effort to expand access to RU-486, the abortion pill.
-He has faced constant ridicule from pro-abortion organizations for refusing to give in to their demands.
-He actively promoted abstinence education programs in Massachusetts schools. The abstinence movement and the pro-life movement work hand-in-hand to reduce the number of teen pregnancies and to promote true sexual health to Americas youth. http://www.americansformitt.com/prolife_perspective.html
Great report, Larry. Thanks.
BTW, heard on FOX that Fred Thompson is considering a run.
Do you see only Rudy as being able to fit that bill so far? Rudy/Romney then? Or Rudy/Hunter?
If it has to be Rudy, then it would be nice to have a good conservative in the VP spot who can win in 2016.
No, I had to come home today and read the entire page proof volume of "America's Victories" before Monday so we can get the paperback edition out on time.
I wrote in Tony Snow as my first choice for president in the straw poll. I wonder if anyone else did. I could envision him as president when he spoke Thursday.
Well, I had assumed that Romney was close to Rudy in terms of being a RINO, but he came off as far, far more conservative. Like I said, it was a conservative convention and they were all trying to hit the right notes. So we'll see how these things play out over time.
One more thing: I didn't hear Tancredo's talk, either, and would be interested in the impressions of people who heard BOTH Hunter and Tancredo---they have, apparently, the same themes.
If it is Rudy or Romney, a powerful conservative such as Newt/Hunter/Tancredo/Thompson would be, I think, a prerequisite to solidifying the red-meat vote.
Straw poll results
Well .. I'm not a fan of Tancredo .. although his in-your-face attitude did manage to get a lot more attention re the immigration fiasco.
Tancredo's issue is immigration .. while I believe Hunter has more of a handle on other issues as well .. but that's because he's my rep and I have heard him speak many times about a lot of issues.
Rangers lead the way!!!
I would follow Duncan Hunter into battle.