CPAC 2013: Hearing from some of the possible next GOP standard bearers

We’re approaching the midpoint of CPAC 2013, and we’ve heard from about half of the people expected to be contenders in 2016 (at least, those who are on the agenda — and no, Donald Trump isn’t one of the people I have in mind). We can begin to see the ground these potential candidates are beginning to stake out.

The first of these possible candidates was Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. Rubio covered the waterfront of long-held conservative beliefs, on  both fiscal and social issues. “Our challenge,” he said, “is to create an agenda applying our principles.” The broad outlines of such an agenda from him mostly included conventionally conservative stuff. If there is one theme he wants to own, I’d say it is American exceptionalism.

He cited a different book: “The China Dream,” recently written by a Chinese army colonel. The gist, Rubio said, is that “China’s goals should be to surpass the United States as the world’s preeminent military and economic power,” and that the 21st century should pit China and America in “a race to see who should become the champion country to lead world progress.”

It was in that context that Rubio responded to criticism that the GOP was not promoting any new ideas (as opposed to those new-thinking Democrats who are still pursuing long-time goals such as universal publicly funded health care and gun control) by citing the hope America offers to the rest of the world, such as his parents who immigrated from Cuba.

“We don’t need a new idea,” he said. “There is an idea. It’s called America, and it still works. You want proof that it still works, look around the world today. Who are they copying? Not the former Soviet Union. Not Russia. They’re not even copying China. They’re copying us. They may claim to hate us, but they sure would like to be us.”

***

Immediately following Rubio was Sen. Rand Paul, the Kentuckian and son of former congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul. He took the stage to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and wearing a sports coat, tie and blue jeans. He was dressed like some college professors I had, and he launched into a constitutional semi-lecture that began with a discussion of his now-famous, 13-hour filibuster on the Senate floor about the Obama administration’s drone policies.

“We need to jealously guard all our liberties,” he said, before turning his message to one of those voter groups Republicans know they have to be more successful with.

“The Facebook generation can detect falseness and hypocrisy a mile away. I know, I have kids,” he said. “They are the core, though, of the leave-me-alone coalition. They doubt Social Security will be there for them. They worry about jobs and rent and student loans. They want leaders who won’t feed them a lot of crap or sell them short.

“Ask the Facebook generation whether we should put a kid in jail for the nonviolent crime of drug use, and you’ll hear a resounding ‘no.’ Ask the Facebook generation if they want to bail out too-big-to-fail banks with their tax dollars, and you’ll hear a ‘hell no.’ There is nothing constitutional about bailing out Wall Street. Likewise, there is nothing ‘progressive’ about loans to billionaires to build solar panels.”

As you might have expected, Paul is going to try to pull the GOP in a more libertarian direction. “The GOP of old has grown stale and moss-covered,” he summed it up. His speech didn’t receive as much consistent applause as Rubio’s did, but he had the audience in his hand by the end. Could the same thing happen in the 2016 primary?

***

Friday brought Rep. Paul Ryan to the conference, and the 2012 vice presidential candidate received a very warm welcome. As you might expect, the House Budget Committee chairman focused a lot on budget matters, but he wanted to talk not just about the numbers but the reasons balancing the budget is important.

“A debt crisis would be more than an economic event,” Ryan argued. “It would be a moral failure. By cheapening our currency, government would cheat us of our just rewards.”Even now we are hurting American working families. By living beyond our means, the government is sending us a message. It is saying, if you plan ahead, if you make sacrifices for your kids, if you saved, you’re a sucker. It is brazenly stealing from our children and from young adults, and it has to stop.”

He argued for restoring government to a more appropriate size, one that allows it to do certain things well while leaving other things to the people.

“We need to make room for community, for that vast middle ground between the government and the people,” he said. “They don’t find common ground through grim isolation or government fiat,” but through the connections they make themselves.

***

Later Friday and Saturday, we’ll hear from Rick Santorum (hey, he finished second last year, which was yet another year the GOP nomination went to the “next guy in line”), Bobby Jindal, Jeb Bush and Scott Walker. I’ll post thoughts about their speeches afterward.

– By Kyle Wingfield

357 comments Add your comment

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

March 15th, 2013
1:08 pm

He cited a different book: “The China Dream,” recently written by a Chinese army colonel. The gist, Rubio said, is that “China’s goals should be to surpass the United States as the world’s preeminent military and economic power,” and that the 21st century should pit China and America in “a race to see who should become the champion country to lead world progress.”

Plays right into the xenophobia on the right.

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

March 15th, 2013
1:12 pm

Still curious who has or will win the

Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award

As part of their acceptance do they hold up a trophy and say

” From my cold dead hands !!!! ”

That would be priceless.

@@

March 15th, 2013
1:24 pm

I remain a Ryan fan. If a Romney/Ryan couldn’t pull it off, how about a Ryan/Paul or Ryan/Rubio? Both nice combos.

breckenridge

March 15th, 2013
1:26 pm

Rubio = not in 2016, not in 2020, not ever. Evangelicals need not apply

Deep Cover

March 15th, 2013
1:26 pm

I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out what billionaires got a loan to build solar panels. Seems like Rand Paul is stretching the truth quite a bit.

Centrist

March 15th, 2013
1:29 pm

In my more centrist mind, Rubio and Jeb Bush are the early favorites.

Ryan and Paul are too far from the reality of mainstream voters. Santorum is old news and hasn’t had a job in years. Christy was not invited, but has shown himself to be too parochial with wanting storm Sandy aid even when it had all sorts of liberal items attached, then went along with NJ Medicaid expansion. His gun control ideas will hurt him, too – doubt he has much of a shot at the nomination. Jindal? Don’t think he is ready for prime time. Walker is not seasoned enough, either.

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

March 15th, 2013
1:30 pm

I remain a Ryan fan. If a Romney/Ryan couldn’t pull it off, how about a Ryan/Paul or Ryan/Rubio? Both nice combos.

As a Democrat I like either one of those too.

They would lose.

Deep Cover

March 15th, 2013
1:30 pm

There are 392 billionaires in the United States. I can’t find ONE that got a loan to build solar panels. I can, however, find at LEAST 20 who received US subsidies for their oil drilling assets.

Deep Cover

March 15th, 2013
1:33 pm

Seriously, someone needs to ask Rand Paul who was the billionaire that got a loan to build solar panels…otherwise he needs to STFU. He is starting to become just another lying politician.

sailfish

March 15th, 2013
1:35 pm

Ryan is a three time loser, his ticket lost, wisconsin went for obama and so did his district. Yes, please put together a rubio/ryan ticket, there has to be some substance or rather where is the beef? As far as china is concerned they are licking our butts with their modernization and rebuilding, that’s a fact jack.

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 15th, 2013
1:40 pm

Because Rubio read a book by a Chinese colonel we have to have an arms race with China?

Can we grow up yet?

Jefferson

March 15th, 2013
1:40 pm

Kyle you should run, you are as full as the rest of that crowd. I may even vote for you.

sailfish

March 15th, 2013
1:42 pm

Should have been kicking our butts…feel sorry for kyle, that whole cpac thing seems like a major snooze zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

@@

March 15th, 2013
1:44 pm

Cheesy:

Not to offend you, but I don’t find you near as entertaining as you find yourself.

You have a tendency to loiter AND litter.

I am SO not interested in your response to my 1:24.

JDW

March 15th, 2013
1:44 pm

“We don’t need a new idea,” he said. “There is an idea. It’s called America, and it still works. You want proof that it still works, look around the world today. Who are they copying? Not the former Soviet Union. Not Russia. They’re not even copying China. They’re copying us. They may claim to hate us, but they sure would like to be us.””

If you want to find a statement that gives you an indication of Rubio’s future potential for the White House…this one works and he won’t be calling 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue home anytime soon.

He evidently has not traveled much, the rest of the world is not copying us. They have taken a few select economic principles and applied them in their own ways. They try to promote a society less grounded in linage than achievements but on issues like health care, guns, CEO pay, taxes, education, social safety nets, retirement benefits and a host of others they are most definitely not “copying us”.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

March 15th, 2013
1:45 pm

Oh, the low morals herd doesn’t like our candidates. I think I’ll well up a tear and cry. We must find a candidate that they like! Er, I mean love. Oh wait, we tried that already.

Never mind.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

March 15th, 2013
1:47 pm

It is saying, if you plan ahead, if you make sacrifices for your kids, if you saved, you’re a sucker. It is brazenly stealing from our children and from young adults, and it has to stop.”

Yep and what has it gained us? Absolutely nothing. Nothing.

Nothing.

Unless of course you think 7 trillion more in debt is something.

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

March 15th, 2013
1:47 pm

Oh, the low morals herd doesn’t like our candidates. I think I’ll well up a tear and cry. We must find a candidate that they like! Er, I mean love. Oh wait, we tried that already.

And this is why you lose.

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

March 15th, 2013
1:48 pm

Cheesy Grits himself is at the podium.

Yee Haw

Politico

March 15th, 2013
1:50 pm

“You have a tendency to loiter AND litter.”

Guess you are two peas in a pod, huh?

@@

March 15th, 2013
1:51 pm

“They don’t find common ground through grim isolation or government fiat,” but through the connections they make themselves.”

Now ^^^ that, right ^^^ there would hold no appeal for our liberals. HECK! I don’t think they could survive without their benevolent and omniscient LEADERS. Without them, they’d be lost.

schnirt

HRpufnstuf

March 15th, 2013
1:53 pm

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Just what the Republicans are doing. Same old rich white man’s club, now handcuffed to extreme tea partiers. If they stay on this course–and they probably will–they will win less and less elections. People are fed up with their temper tantrums and childish behavior.

@@

March 15th, 2013
1:55 pm

Politico:

Guess you are two peas in a pod, huh?

That 1:51 was my last post for awhile…..so no…..Cheesy and I don’t occupy the same pod. His is here….mine is elsewhere.

Enjoy yourself.

splavistic

March 15th, 2013
1:56 pm

Key phrase, Kyle. “…GOP was not promoting any new ideas…”. That is because you have the same message that a clear majority of America rejected in the past two elections (that’s eight years, Kyle). How many black/Hispanic/Asian faces at CPAC this year, hmmm? You don’t reeeallly want to include everybody in this great melting pot. So, you lose the next foreseeable elections. Simple.

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

March 15th, 2013
1:57 pm

Well said pufnstuf

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

March 15th, 2013
1:58 pm

How many black/Hispanic/Asian faces at CPAC this year, hmmm?

I doubt very many

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

March 15th, 2013
2:00 pm

If they stay on this course–and they probably will–they will win less and less elections.
———

Just for the record, Republicans won more elections for federal office last time than did Democrats.

JDW

March 15th, 2013
2:01 pm

““A debt crisis would be more than an economic event,” Ryan argued. “It would be a moral failure. By cheapening our currency, government would cheat us of our just rewards.””

Course the only issue with this bit of fluff is that the only debt crisis we face are the ones created by the Republicans in the House…as for the cheating bit…refer to those creating the crisis.

Come folks wake up and smell the coffee, the world is lining up to hedge their assets in US dollars. Since 2008 the dollar is up 15% vs the Euro and flat against the Yen. Our annual deficit is declining and our total public debt to GDP is still far less than it was at the end of WWII and the next 70 years worked out just fine. Nothing but a bunch of fear mongering here.

JamVet

March 15th, 2013
2:04 pm

Kyle,

Wake up.

The problem with your imploding GOP is not the consultants. It is not the evil liberal media that is out to get you. (Though your cult of victimhood is part of it.) It is not that you have to do a better job of getting your message out there. It is not that you are not conservative enough. (Whatever the hell that even means to you wordsmiths anymore.)

Your message stinks on ice. Ask mainstream America.

This past November massacre makes three out of the last four elections where you have gotten bludgeoned. And even the party operatives are now scared as hell that this will be the tea soaked trend going forward.

And there can be no denying that the trend and demographics look absolutely terrible for the Segregation Party – you are white, aging and dying off.

And all of the silly phrases, slogans and bumpers stickers by Rubio and others and all of these empty repackaging attempts, in lieu of substantive changes and moving back to some at least observable distance from the reasoned and reasonable center are not going to change that.

Somebody the other day said it perfectly. You are like fitness trainers at a start up gym, who trying to get new customers, tell them that they are fat, lazy, stupid and useless.

Most of your rabid rabble here have no intention of changing a darn thing or even admitting that they have any significant problems, and to them I say, good for you! Stay the course!

Good luck with that strategery and keep up the good work!

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

March 15th, 2013
2:05 pm

Republicans are about ideas, not melanin content. Republicans pick their party based on its American ideals. The Democrat party picks their aggrieved voter groups and stirs up their fear, hatred, greed, and envy.

breckenridge

March 15th, 2013
2:09 pm

“Oh, the low morals herd doesn’t like our candidates. I think I’ll well up a tear and cry. We must find a candidate that they like! Er, I mean love. Oh wait, we tried that already.”

You are confusing morals with religion again. Evangelicalism, as practiced by the right, has nothing to do with morality. It’s about a bunch of uneducated low wage earners living in the south trying to tell all Americans they should subscribe to their childish beliefs.

“Only born again Christians can go to heaven.” ROFLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dusty

March 15th, 2013
2:09 pm

OH my, I’m supposed to worry about who is going to run in the next big election.

We will be so flat broke by then it won’t matter if the Chinese colonet decides to run.

The Democratic Demise has us doomed and drowning. 16.5 $$$ TRILLION IN DEBT & GROWING!

The Chinese colonel won’t have to run. He’ll own us!

Politico

March 15th, 2013
2:10 pm

“The Democrat party picks their aggrieved voter groups and stirs up their fear, hatred, greed, and envy.”

Sort of like Romney’s 47% comment that he himself, Kyle and numerous Republicans have said did nothing but do what?

You are a funny little dude. Not as funny as the little blog deputy, but a hoot for sure

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

March 15th, 2013
2:10 pm

The only debt crisis we face are the ones created by the Republicans in the House
———-

And yet it was Democrats who ran the House at the dawn of Obozo’s trillion dollar deficit era.

Politico

March 15th, 2013
2:12 pm

Barry

And don’t forget the Southern Strategy that 2 of the last 3 RNC chairmen apologized for and said was used as a devise measure to stoke fears in southern whites for over 40 yrs……..

Yeah that fear mongering is just a one way street…… if you are a little tike with blinders on that is

splavistic

March 15th, 2013
2:15 pm

Lil’ Barry – Your Obamaphone. It was started by your hero, Bush. Read a book.

Politico

March 15th, 2013
2:16 pm

Barry

But as usual, don’t let facts get in the way of any of your typical blathering and drooling diatribes

Keep your bib on and don’t fall off that stool

Dusty

March 15th, 2013
2:19 pm

Breckenridge hasn’t been in a church in so long he actually thinks he knows something about it. Kinda pathetic when he’s welcomed there any time but never goes..

Quit hanging out in casinos and trying to preach. Gamblers always think they’ve got the best hand. That’s why they are usually broke and trying to act successful. Just like Dems like to act. Broke & boasting!

splavistic

March 15th, 2013
2:19 pm

And, speaking to national debt. Look at the countries with very little debt. None of which you would want to live in. Civilized, democratic countries rack up debt. So, debt is good. Just ask Keynes.

splavistic

March 15th, 2013
2:25 pm

US debt is huge, but as a % of GDP, we’re in 31st place. As related to per capita we’re in 18th place. So, stop yer yappin’ about the ‘crushing’ debt. It’s fictional. Just like the money everybody prints.

Dusty

March 15th, 2013
2:26 pm

Democrats can’t face the truth. DEMOCRATS own the White House. DEMOCRATS own the Senate. DEMOCRATS have increased the national debt to 16.5 $$$ trillion in just four years.

DEMOCRATS want to tell us how smart they are. Sorry , folks, but I was taught not to tell lies. I just can’t say that Democrats are smart. Nope!

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

March 15th, 2013
2:26 pm

I sure hope that was a one off from the exiled blog psychopath.

Jefferson

March 15th, 2013
2:27 pm

Full of compassion for the poor, are you sure you were not in the conclave this week ?

Jefferson

March 15th, 2013
2:27 pm

dusty you are full too, but what you may ask.

Politico

March 15th, 2013
2:30 pm

“Breckenridge hasn’t been in a church in so long he actually thinks he knows something about it. Kinda pathetic when he’s welcomed there any time but never goes..”

Good many in church every time the doors are open don’t know anything about it either, but they have the motions down .
So what is your point?

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

March 15th, 2013
2:30 pm

If a lib ever went to church it would be to their great surprise that 1) not everybody is wearing bib overalls, 2) that they aren’t sitting around plotting their next bombing attempt.

If a Conservative ever went to a PETA gathering (one of the liberal religious denominations) it would be to their great surprise that 1) they slaughter unwanted animals, 2) that they are all sitting around plotting their next bombing attempt.

Dusty

March 15th, 2013
2:31 pm

POOR SPLAVISTIC

He thinks it is great to be broke!

Why? Because the government will support you with everything but breathing. Wow!

He’s been reading the Bernanke Fairy tales again. Poor baby!

We aint broke! No sir. The Dems told him so.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

March 15th, 2013
2:33 pm

US debt is huge, but as a % of GDP, we’re in 31st place.

Yeah and the other 30 rely on our power to keep them from becoming Nazi plebicites. And sit around running their mouths about US power.

What a dweeb.

Dusty

March 15th, 2013
2:46 pm

Jefferson,

Churches are full of compassion for the poor. Many church members are poor themselves. But they do everything they can to reach the poor. That is because we are all children of God. Each indivbidual is responsible for their own outreach. It is an individual drive done in love.

Governement cannot replace personal compassion. You may try to turn it over to an impersonal entity but it does not work well. That we have seen as dependency on government replaces individual responsibility.

We must strive for individual responsibility or fail. That is the foundation of our country. Independence!

So I do not like those things which destroy our independence. You probably do not know what I am even talking about. Dependence seems demanded by Democrats.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

March 15th, 2013
2:47 pm

President Barack Obama is preparing to tell all federal agencies for the first time that they should consider the impact on global warming before approving major projects, from pipelines to highways.

The result could be significant delays for natural gas- export facilities, ports for coal sales to Asia, and even new forest roads, industry lobbyists warn.

Yep and cost an arm and a leg for compliance.