February 10, 2012
Written by Juliana Simone
Washington, D.C. – The Marshall Ballroom at CPAC 2012 is similar to a strip of beach with the tide flowing in and out at different peak hours. It ebbs and flows with the crowd according to whomoever is taking or leaving the stage. When a big draw comes on, attendees, press and campaign staff come crushing in to pack every imaginable corner of open space. After they leave, whole aisles of CPAC supporters stand up to walk out in single file and the droves who were standing in the back cram through the exit doors to leave first. The best thing about the duller moments in the CPAC agenda is the wi-fi suddenly flies at MACH speed rather than dragging in lag if not dropping the connection all together from the maximum capacity of users plugging their laptops into every imaginable outlet.
Though all of the Presidential candidates have had this effect the last couple of days, the two winners, if you will, were definitely Rick Santorum who preceeded Mitt Romney, and then the former MA Governor himself who came on a short time after the former Senator. I will give Romney the win in terms of the media, who seemed to only have been here to see him, as they swarmed in like bees to double the amount of press in the media balcony and spill over onto the staircase filling each step and hanging against balcony rails. Since many of them were Main Stream Media reporters, they natually looked pained to have received this assignment, wrote few notes, and made it clear they were unimpressed with his speech at the conclusion.
I write all this to preface the impact Romney had on the room when his speech came up on the schedule. For those who find him wooden or flat his magnetism was felt even if you prefer another candidate to Mitt. Even if its more physical than intellectual it is charisma nevertheless. A keen businessman who does not apologize for his success, he recognized this was the room beyond most others where he had to emphasize the word conservative and make it clear he is indeed conservative despite what his detractors say. He made his case.
Amusing CPAC with his opening words, “Obama really is a good community organizer – and I want to thank him for this – but, I don’t think this is the community he hoped to organize” he declared with amusement. Laughter.
“This country we love is in jeopardy” he said changing tones. For two or three years we’ve suffered (under a) weak leader with bankrupt idealogy. “This is the last gasp of liberalism’s great failure. It’s not enough to show how they failed but to show how we will lead. Conservatives all agree departing from these founding principles would depart from our purpose. We’re not just proud to cling to our religion and guns but to our constitution,” the candidate affirmed.
Government doesn’t exist just for the people but its been made a success by the people. Politicians have fallen under the spell of Washington. They begin to see government as the solution to every problem. Government knows better. Government can do better. Barack Obama is the poster child for the arrogance of government. Cheers. Romney pointed out this can be a nation of and by Washington or of and by a free people.
The former Governor told on-lookers my path to conservatism came from my family and my life’s work. He talked about his grandparents coming to America from England for a chance at religious liberty, how his father couldn’t finish college but worked hard in a car company (Chairman and CEO of AMC) to later become the Governor of Michigan, and how he met his wife Ann and had five fine sons. “these conservative constants have shaped my life.”
In talking about his career as a businessman he noted, “in business if you’re not a fiscal conservative you’re bankrupt. Applause. He said he became successful as a businessman by eliminating waste, balancing budgets, by starting new businesses, and turning away broken ones. “I’m not ashamed to say I was successful doing it,” he beamed to more applause.
Talking about his years as Governor of Massachusetts, he noted how he took office with the state in a three billion dollar deficit, had a 85% democrat majority in his legislature, cut taxes nineteen times, balanced the budget all four years he was Governor, made 800 vetoes, cut entire programs, and put two billion dollars in a rainy day fund before leaving office. “I served in government but I didn’t inhale,” he laughed. “I want to get my hands on Washington, D.C.”
Continuing his review of office in Massachusetts, once nicknamed “Taxachusetts” he said on his watch we prevented MA from becoming the Las Vegas of the marriage act. Romney says he believes marriage is defined by a relationship between a man and a woman.
“I was a severely conservative Republican Governor. I was on those front lines and expect to be again.” There are two choices for America. Candidates with two different backgrounds.
Leadership is sharing credit when things are good and taking responsibility when they’re not. Romney was proud to tell the audience he is the only candidate who hasn’t served a day in Washington. “To get America back on track we need bold and sweeping reform. We borrow forty cents of every dollar we spend. It’s reckless, immoral, irresponsible, and it will end under my Presidency.” He said before he agreed to spend any money he would first ask, can we afford it, and then can we really risk borrowing money from China to pay for it?