CPAC Should Be About Policies, Not Personalities

Tuesday, 11 Mar 2014 12:47 PM

By Allen West

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The Conservative Political Action Conference was held this past week at the Gaylord Resort at the National Harbor. It is without a doubt the largest gathering of conservatives and a showcase event.
 
What I always enjoy are seeing all the young people there who are truly operating “behind enemy lines” on college campuses promoting conservative principles and values in a very non-receptive environment.
 
CPAC brings forth a heavy lineup of influential conservative and Republican political figures — yes, the two are mutually exclusive. This year was no different, and already there are those speaking about future 2016 presidential possible candidates. But that should not be the focus for conservatives at this time.
 
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in his speech stated, “You don’t get to govern unless you win.” The question is, how do conservatives win? The upcoming 2014 midterm election cycle is critical for the future of the American Republic. It is vital that the legislative agenda for the final two years of the Obama era be a conservative one, not the continuation of the progressive socialist agenda of destruction.
 
Therefore, the media should have been precision-focused during the conference on presenting conservative policy solutions, not personalities. And the policy solutions should have been focused on providing alternatives to the insidious rhetoric emanating from the Obama administration.
 
We should have heard more about breaking down the empty words about income inequality, shared prosperity, and other poll-tested themes. A good subject for the greater stage would have been a contrasting view on the minimum wage and a conservative vision for promoting growth, opportunity, and prosperity for Americans, especially middle-income families.
 
And by the way, can we please stop saying middle class? America does not have a class or caste system, there are separate income levels that can be traversed, upward and downward. The beauty of America is that regardless of where you are born, the opportunity for success exists — you just have to pursue your happiness — not depend on government largesse to guarantee it.
 
One of the hot topics right now centers on school choice — as a matter of fact, President Obama was in Florida last Friday talking about education, naturally with black children standing by as his props. Why was there no speaker on the grand CPAC stage addressing his hypocrisy in canceling the D.C. school voucher program in April 2009 for deserving minority children — while sending his children to exclusive Sidwell Friends?
 
Where was the speaker who addressed Obama unleashing the “first black attorney general” against the state of Louisiana school choice program? Conservatives should have hammered Obama and his loyal acolyte, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, for his attack on the Success Academy Charter School in Harlem. Don’t liberals want educational opportunities for minority children? Or do they prefer being the lapdogs of the teachers’ unions?
 
Education leads to opportunity — which leads to success. And good quality education is not Common Core.
 
At a time when we want to demonstrate policy inclusiveness of conservatism — not just “outreach” to all communities, CPAC should have featured some stellar minority candidates running for and holding offices at the state level.
 
If we are to gain the confidence and trust of the minority electorate, we must give them brilliant examples of those who embrace conservatism and are politically successful. I can think of two examples in Oklahoma: Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon and Cranston, Rhode Island, Mayor Allan Fung, who is running for Governor of Rhode Island.
 
That is how you spread conservatism farther and wider.
 
Lastly, at a time when foreign policy and national security have taken a critical center-stage position, CPAC was somewhat lacking, especially considering it was Ronald Reagan who coined the phrase “peace through strength.”
 
Consider the fact that it was on a Monday when U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced the decimation of our U.S. military capability and capacity, and by week’s end Russian President Vladimir Putin had invaded and taken over the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine.
 
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton gave a stirring speech on the topic of foreign policy. However, what is our conservative vision for a strong national defense? What contrasting message should have been sent to delineate us from the progressive socialists who would expand the welfare nanny state and dependency society over providing for the common defense?
 
The first thing “lovers of liberty” recognize is that it must be defended.
 
CPAC is a phenomenal event and commands national attention. It provides a concentrated opportunity to present a vision for restoring this Constitutional Republic that is consistent with its founding principles and values. It provides the stage by which we create the separation between the failures of liberal progressive socialism and the dawn of a new American dream.
 
President Obama stated he wanted to fundamentally transform America. It is incumbent upon conservatives to take every opportunity to clearly express the dangers of that premise.
 
And in addressing the dangers of the liberal progressive perspective, we must also clearly demonstrate the power of our solutions.
 
Allen West was born and raised in Atlanta, Ga., in the same neighborhood where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once preached. He is the third of four generations of military servicemen in his family. West served as a U.S. representative for Florida’s 22nd District. He is a Fox News contributor and a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research. He also regularly writes for numerous media outlets. For more of Allen West's reports, Go Here Now.
 
 
 

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