The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) 2013 kicked off this morning with the opening speech by Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union. Previewing the speakers, educational experiences, and excitement to come in the next three days, he acknowledged the conference’s focus on young people and encouraged young leaders “on the front lines” to continue fighting for American constitutional principles.
The first speaker, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli of Virginia is currently running for Governor. The first to challenge the constitutionality of Obamacare, Cuccinelli is also involved with suing the EPA for onerous regulations. Cuccinelli offered a “five-point plan” for his agenda if elected, urging conservatives to hold elected officials accountable for their campaign promises.
Next, former representative Allen West stressed the importance of serving charities, churches, and hospitals with love, and not blindly writing checks. Citing the fact that conservatives give more money and time than liberals (though liberals are wealthier on average), he urged conservatives to continue serving in their communities. In a resounding voice, he remarked,
“I’m sick and tired of hearing that it is our moral duty to serve the state, because conservatives believe it is our moral duty to serve our fellow man.”
West motivated attendees to get involved rather than sitting on the sidelines. Consistently quoting from Scripture during his speech, he stressed “deeds, not words – action, not empty refrains.”
Concluding the opening speaker set, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) chose to focus on the impending debt crisis. President Barack Obama claimed during the election, “[Republicans] want us to go back to the same old policies that got us into this mess in the first place.” Toomey argues this is completely incorrect, but that, as conservatives,
“We never had an alternative compelling narrative to explain that.”
Toomey pointed out some of the most notable sources of government waste and redundancy. We spent $4.5 billion on “improper food stamp payments” and billions on subsidies to inefficient energy sources. We have 160 housing assistance programs, and 15 “financial-literacy programs.” Is the federal government really the organization we want teaching “financial literacy?” We have gone on a “spending binge … and what has it gotten us? The weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression.”
Toomey says there is hope, and our economy can grow. Our main challenge? “To rein in a government that has exploded out of control.”