California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore received an enthusiastic reception at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday, as they pledged they would help to “take our state back” from liberalism and the grips of rampant overspending.
Both are running in tough primary races for the Republican nomination against self-funded candidates who have attempted to use their money and connections to the Republican establishment to create an aura of inevitability.
Poizner is running in the Republican primary against Meg Whitman, the former eBay executive, who has already spent more than $100 million of her personal fortune to win the governor’s race.
DeVore is contesting a primary with Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett-Packard chief executive and 2008 adviser to Sen. John McCain’s failed presidential campaign. Both Whitman and Fiorina are self-avowed “moderates.”
Poizner told the CPAC audience he planned not merely to cut taxes by 10 percent across the board, but pledged as governor to enact controversial reforms aimed at “curbing the power of state employer unions.” He also pledged to “stop illegal immigration once and for all” by “turning the magnets off” that attract illegals, and to secure California’s border with Mexico.
“If I have to send the National Guard to the border, I will,” he said to thunderous applause.
DeVore took aim directly at Sen. Barbara Boxer, the current incumbent he hopes to oppose in November.
“In California, we are the laboratory of every horrific, governmental lab experiment in America,” he said. ”Sometimes we have good things in California: Proposition 13 and Ronald Reagan. Sometimes we give the nation Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer.”
DeVore towers at well over 6-foot-4 and has a commanding presence. After 24 years of U.S. Army Reserve service, he retired from the Army National Guard as a lieutenant colonel. He has worked in the Reagan administration Pentagon, and for former California Rep. Chris Cox. He also spent 13 years in the aerospace industry before getting elected to the state assembly in 2004.
“Because California has the fourth-highest unemployment rate in the nation, I believe that Barbara Boxer will pay the penalty at the polls this November. So please don’t give up on California!”
Islam Is the Enemy, Former Soldier Says
American experts on Islam and activists from Europe who have felt the sting of Islamist pressure warned about the threat to America from political Islam at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., on Friday. But bringing down the house was a barn-burner of a speech from Florida Republican congressional candidate Allen West, a retired lieutenant colonel with 22 years of active-duty service in the U.S. Army who pulled no punches on how America should fight the war against our enemies.
“There is no war on terror,” West told a packed ballroom at CPAC. “A nation doesn’t go to war on a tactic. A nation goes to war against an ideology.”
West won notoriety in Iraq for harshly interrogating a jihadist prisoner in a ticking time bomb situation. He has also served in Afghanistan, and is now running a second time against liberal Democrat Ron Klein in Florida’s 22nd District, after narrowly losing in 2008.
“We are at war with a totalitarian, theocratic, political ideology and it is called Islam,” West said to thunderous applause. “This is not about Muslims. Because just the same as in Nazi Germany, not every German was a Nazi. Just the same as when I was in Iraqi in 2003, not every Iraqi was a Baathist. What I’m talking about an ideology that has existed since the seventh century…. This is just another chapter in the long book they are writing to conquer each and every one of us. Just as our forefathers stood together to turn their enemies back, we must stand to turn these enemies back.”
West compared the letters that Osama bin Laden and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrote to the American people inviting them to embrace Islam to the letters the Muslim Prophet Mohammad wrote to the leaders of the Christian and Persian empires of his day.
“[Mohammad] said, ‘You have three choices: or you convert, or you subjugate, or we’re coming to get you,’ Well guess what,” West said. “We are already in a declared war. And if we don’t have the type of leadership that can understand that, that can understand this enemy, this adversary, then we are on the road to perdition.”
Also addressing the CPAC audience was former Austrian diplomat Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, and Danish activist Anders Grauers, who both warned of the inroads political Islam has made in Europe and warned that America was next.
“Criticism of religion is now considered racism” in Europe, Sabaditsch-Wolff said. “The political left calls me a hate preacher…. Immigration is not the problem. Cultural differences are not the problem. Islam is the problem,” she said.
Grauers called the successful efforts by Muslim activists to win concessions in schools, public swimming pools, and elsewhere in Europe to “separate but equal” facilities for Muslims “the salami approach.”
In Danish cities, Christians are now ordered to remove Christmas decorations to “avoid offending Muslims,” he said. “Ninety-nine percent of the poultry now slaughtered in Denmark is hallal,” prepared according to Islamic dietary laws.
West drove that message home for an American audience.
“We’re already in a declared war,” he said. “Sharia law is incompatible with who we are in Western civilization, and definitely what we stand for in the United States of America. It is not about freedom, it is not about protecting human rights or women’s rights. It’s about what Islam says. The word means submission. And I don’t know about you all here. I’m not living as a dhimmi. I’m not living as subject to any other ideology but that which is written in the Constitution of these great United States of America.”
West argued that America has to “regain the initiative” and urged American leaders to reject the political correctness that prohibits them from recognizing enemies in our midst.
If we continue on in this politically correct, multicultural approach that is on steroids, we are paralyzing ourselves,” he said. “We see what has happened in Sudan. We see what has happened in Austria. We see what has happened to Geert Wilders in the Netherlands. We see what is happening in Denmark. Trend analysis is what we call it. For you all in the media: stop calling it ‘profiling.’ It’s about identifying the enemy and going after him.”
West blasted U.S. Army Gen. Casey for his response to the Fort Hood massacre, saying he was more worried that diversity would become a casualty than the deaths of the 13 servicemen killed by Maj. Nidal Hassan, “We’ve got a problem with the leadership of these United States of America,” West said.
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