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CPAC Straw Poll Winner Rand Paul Battles The Bush Machine—Goldwater Style

WASHINGTON, February 28, 2015—As the winner of the past three Conservative Political Action Committee’s (CPAC) Straw Polls, Senator Rand Paul excels at generating meaningful political and economic discussions among college students and young professionals. The same generation that is known for speaking in bewildering acronyms continues to gather in force to ask and to answer difficult questions that are essential to the life and liberty of all Americans. Their answers will ultimately determine the future of the nation.

The Senator’s most recent economic stand will endear him to anyone who has ever interfaced with the Internal Revenue Service. He promised to introduce the largest tax cut in American history. In his speech to attendees of CPAC, he mentioned that he is poised to propose a tax plan “that would get the IRS out of our lives.” He indicated his intention to cut taxes “for everyone from the richest to the poorest.”

“It’s time for a new way predicated on opportunity and freedom!” said Paul to a wildly supportive crowd. The Senator attacked America’s indiscriminate foreign aid policies, especially the large sums of money sent without the permission of taxpayers to countries that consider The United States an enemy. “Not one penny more to these haters of America!” said Paul.

His speech had the tenor of a well-run, focused campaign and was eerily similar to comments made by Senator Barry Goldwater exactly 50 years ago on the campaign trail leading up to his landmark GOP presidential nomination. “You cannot stop a man who has vowed to bury you by handing him a shovel,” said Goldwater, “By feeding and clothing his friends, while denying your friends the means to help protect you!” Goldwater believed that removing foreign aid would ultimately prevent wars.

Several members of the Young Jewish Conservatives attending CPAC this year specifically mentioned the foreign aid issue as a driving force behind their support for Rand Paul for president. Paul’s straight talk appeals to countless concerned Americans who are fed up with politics as usual, feel betrayed by the Party Machine, and fear that the United States is on an irreversible course similar to that of the Titanic—or Greece.

Two weeks prior to CPAC, the Students for Liberty (SFL) held its national conference in Washington, D.C. More than 1,700 students from across the world attended. The group was largely inspired by the ideas presented to them by Senator Paul’s father, Congressman Ron Paul. Now it is the fastest-growing political group on college campuses globally, and is surpassing both the College Democrats and College Republicans groups on American campuses.

Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) is another group inspired by the Paul family’s articulation of limited government principles. Many YAL members were active in the GOP for years before they understood the liberty message, realized how well it resonates, and committed to passionately fight to preserve it. The large presence of both SFL and YAL at CPAC is telling, and has seemingly eliminated the establishment hostilities doled out to them by fellow attendees when they were the minority at previous conferences. The young libertarians gladly swap testimonies of political enlightenment with a fervor nostalgic of a tent revival meeting. They are also getting elected to offices across the land, a clear sign that they are not going away anytime soon.

Freedom is popular, it seems, and the Bill of Rights is back en vogue with a new generation of American rebels. This energy threatens to change the go-along-to-get-along, aging Republican establishment, which is why the party profiteers are so quick to strike back at the resurgence of old school conservatism.

The same Rockefeller Republicans who sandbagged Goldwater after he won the GOP nomination from the floor are currently working financial and legal channels on behalf of Jeb Bush. The 2016 Republican nomination is seemingly fixed for the top fundraiser and his delegate-donors, a complete violation of the nominating process. Sources say Jeb Bush bussed hundreds of people to CPAC from their Washington offices just to fill seats during his speech and to presumably raise his standing in the straw poll. This effort did not succeed in preventing him from being handily booed every time his name was mentioned, including while he addressed the attendees who remained after a protest/walkout. His temporary seat-filling strategy was met with disdain by attendees who saved and spent their own money to attend the duration of the event and cast their ballots.

One of Paul’s leading critics is fellow Senator and former GOP nominee John McCain, a man who praises Goldwater with his lips while shunning everything he stood for by his actions.  Just two years ago, the 80-year-old McCain called Senators Paul and Cruz, as well as Congressman Justin Amash, “wacko birds.” He called their supporters, the Under 40 crowd that supports Paul’s limited government principles, “impressionable libertarian kids.”

Yet, the vibrant, liberty-leaning younger crowd that has wrestled its way into the GOP is the only fresh blood coursing through the Party’s very old veins. Perhaps the current Republican Party leadership is not the right body from which to expect kind words of “big tent” gratitude. The crowds who now stand with Rand don’t seem to care. Their vision is clear, and they know they will eventually outlive the generation that got the country into this mess in the first place. They seem to be ready to get to work.

VIDEO: Former NSA Director Heckled for Calling Himself a “Libertarian”

Gen. Michael Hayden, former Director of the National Security Agency, was called out on Friday by audience members, after he called himself a “libertarian” at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Hayden attended the conference for a debate with Judge Andrew Napolitano, the Senior Judicial Analyst for Fox News. Hayden’s comments followed comments by Napolitano saying that the audience should be “outraged” by the NSA’s massive surveillance program.

In reply, Hayden said, “If NSA were even capable of doing what the judge has just outlined for you, we wouldn’t be having a debate here today. There would be nothing to argue about.

Hayden continued, “Let’s talk about reality. Let’s talk about factsThe judge is an unrelenting libertarian.”

Hayden’s comment about Napolitano was met with applause and cheers from the crowd.

So am I,” Hayden said. “I’m an unrelenting libertarian who’s also responsible for four decades of his life for another important part of that document, the part that says ‘provide for the common defense.’”

The tone of the audience quickly changed, following Hayden’s second comment, and members booed, and shouted out,”No, you’re not!

Time To Add Color To The GOP

In most younger social circles, calling yourself a “Republican” is social suicide. To many it is paramount to being a member of the racist, old white man’s party that also believes that God created Man one day with the snap of a finger.

When I attended my first Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C. last year, I remember walking into the enormous ballroom where Rick Santorum was yapping about God and seeing a sea of white and grey in the audience. Out of over 600 audience members, I only noticed two black attendees and a small handful of Hispanics. I grew up in lily-white New Hampshire and this was way whiter.

I had the opportunity to meet the two African American attendees later that day. They were twin sisters named Nicole and Kristine Douglin from Connecticut. We quickly hit it off and spent the afternoon together.

Walking around CPAC with Nicole and Kristine was an unforgettable experience. It was impossible for us to go anywhere in the convention center without being stopped by members of the press. You know, to display the GOP’s representation of “people of color!” (“See, black people like us, too!”)

Now, understand, I have an ego like everyone else and I like press coverage whenever I can get it. But while hanging with Nichole and Kristine, I was overlooked by everyone holding a camera or microphone – indeed, I was completely invisible to the conservative press who was drooling to chat with my two African American friends.

As a young person, it’s not always easy being labeled a Republican (trust me, I know first-hand) — but it’s even harder to be a black Republican.

“I have faced a lot of criticism,” Nicole told me. “Not only am I Black, but I am also a young woman. Believe me, I get criticism hurled at me from all avenues.”

Regardless, Nicole boldly shows her face at numerous all-white Republican events and even voices her opinions to the press on camera. Indeed, she seeks out the opportunity to express her views.

Nichole told me “Republicans generally treat me with respect and really value my opinion even if they do not agree with me. A lot of Republicans I meet are white males but I would say that in comparison to liberal white males, I really feel like they actually hear me and aren’t constantly dismissing my opinions.”

Nicole argues that most of the criticism towards black conservatives comes from closed-minded liberals. She said, “People like Allen West are often called ‘Uncle Toms’ or the N-word because they are Republicans.”

My experience at CPAC got me thinking about the Republican party’s PR problem, especially with minorities. I gave my friend Adam Haywood, a 20-something African American from Massachusetts, a call  for his input. He’s a Democrat.

He said, “I think  you seem almost like a traitor to your race if you were to vote Republican as a black person.”

I asked Adam if the problem with Republicans was rooted in the party’s policies, or if it was more of an image problem.

He responded, “The Republican Party is seen as out-of-touch. They don’t empathize with the cultures or histories of others but stick to their set ways. The young charismatic candidate generally does much better with the black vote.”

A few more calls to my other black and Hispanic friends confirmed similar impressions of the GOP.

Yes, the GOP has a significant PR crisis on its hands.

Nicole said, “I think there are so few black people in the GOP because they are largely misinformed about what republicans stand for.  It doesn’t matter how high unemployment for young black men is, it doesn’t matter that blacks face severe poverty as a result, it doesn’t matter that democratic policies have destroyed the black family — nothing matters as long as politicians, almost always Democrats, ‘say’ they are trying to help blacks.”

Many Democrats are well aware of this and use it to their advantage. “I think blacks are democrats because they have a sense of entitlement,” Nicole said. “Which I think is paramount to the success of the democrats across the board. I know many black people who maintain the idea that the US government owes us basically because of slavery and past institutionalized racism.”

The idea that government owes blacks entitlements for past wrongdoings is often played upon by Democrats to boost support for their own party. During the 2012 campaign, Joe Biden told a crowd of black voters, “They [Republicans] want to put y’all back in chains!”

Nonsense.

Conservatives want to empower blacks to improve their lives with such programs as school choice, tax breaks for inner-city businesses, and strong anti-crime incentives. So while the Republican Party may offer blacks a brighter future than the Democrat Party, it will never matter if they cannot articulate their message effectively to minorities. For the GOP to survive, they had better start doing so.

Republican candidates have an obligation to aggressively and consistently campaign in the inner cities like Detroit and Oakland, and begin showing how conservative economic principles can raise everyone out of poverty if they are willing to work. More smart, savvy black candidates like Allen West and Ben Carson must be recruited to run for office at all levels, and to help transform the warped view minorities have of conservatism. Today, every poverty-stricken, hopeless, inner-city slum is under Democratic control. It’s easy to highlight how liberalism has utterly destroyed minority communities, but nobody is doing it.

Transforming the Republican party from a nearly all-white party to one that all races want to support is indeed possible. But it will take a new generation of smart, energetic candidates. There has never been a more opportune time for ambitious, conservative minorities to grab power, and to turn their communities around. For the sake of our inner-cities, and for the country, let’s hope these candidates step forward. (Are you reading this, Nichole and Kristine?)

Follow Kristin on Facebook and Twitter.

“Republicans Looking For Their ‘Tear Down This Wall Mr. Putin’ Moment” Ben Swann Talks With RT’s Abby Martin About CPAC

Ben Swann was a guest on Abby Martin’s RT program Breaking the Set, Monday to talk about CPAC. Swann address Sen. Rand Paul’s major straw poll victory and why the senator has a long way to go to win over Libertarians and Republicans. Ben also talks about Sara Palin’s comment that the “Only thing that can stop a bad guy with a nuke is a good guy with a nuke.” Are Palin’s comments disingenuous considering that she has nearly the exact same foreign policy as President Obama.
Check out the video for the full interview.

 

The Battle For The Heart Of The Republican Party: Libertarians and CPAC

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is an annual gathering that has traditionally been overrun by old-school, establishment Republicans.

This year, however, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul was king of the mega conference. Paul’s powerful speech marked a shift in the Republican party away from aging values to the libertarian-friendly ideas of individualism, privacy, and freedom.

Paul began his CPAC speech with, “Imagine the time when the White House is occupied by a friend of liberty. You might think I’m talking about electing republicans… I’m not. I’m talking about electing lovers of liberty.” The Kentucky Senator hinted at the fact that party labels do not matter — rather, what is important is actions and sticking to constitutional principles.

Addressing the young people in the crowd, Paul said, “Will you, new generation of liberty-lovers, stand and be heard?”

Paul also made a point to specifically stress privacy in his speech.”If you own a cell phone, you are under surveillance,” he said. “I believe that what you do on your cell phone is none of [the NSA’s] damn business.”

Paul was smart to avoid social Republican talking points and religion altogether in his speech. He understands that in order for the Republican Party to return to the powerhouse it once was, it must win the support of the growing, outspoken Libertarian population.

The support for Rand Paul at CPAC was incredible. “Stand With Rand” signs were ubiquitous throughout the conference. Not surprisingly, Paul won the CPAC straw poll by a large margin. Ted Cruz, another libertarian favorite, came in second.

Of course, however, not everyone at CPAC was a Rand Paul fan. Rick Santorum’s religiously-based speech, a stark contrast to Paul’s, was a hit with some CPAC attendees. Still, many young libertarians thought Santorum came across as sanctimonious and abrasive. Yes, we all know you hate abortion and gay marriage, Rick. This message won’t grow the GOP tent. The usually loud and energized libertarians in the crowd merely applauded politely after Santorum’s speech.

The conservative conference, quite frankly, had an overall odd energy this year due to conflicting camps present: the old school Reagan republicans, the establishment GOP folks, and the young libertarians.

The bigger issue at hand is that the Republican Party often comes off as exclusive and judgmental. For the Party to become dominant and take back the White House, it must attract and embrace independents and non-traditional conservatives (primarily libertarians, who continue to make up an increasing percentage of the electorate). This means not over-emphasizing morality and religion into the base of the platform, and being more accepting of diverse social opinions.

The Republican Party is supposed to represent small government and individualism. Politicians like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz exemplify these values. For the Republican Party to flourish, it must stop listening to the Karl Roves and the Mitt Romneys, and recognize the intense energy generated by the likes of libertarian-leaning republicans . Such politicians won’t make Karl Rove happy or rich, but they can help make the GOP victorious once again.

Follow Kristin on Facebook and Twitter.

Rand Paul: Mr. President, We Will Not Let You Shred Our Constitution

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This afternoon, Rand Paul addressed an excited crowd at CPAC.

He began, “Imagine the time when the White House is occupied by a friend of liberty. You might think I’m talking about electing republicans… I’m not. I’m talking about electing lovers of liberty.”

The Kentucky Senator hinted at the fact that party labels do not matter — rather, what is important is actions and sticking to constitutional principles.

Addressing the young people in the crowd, Paul said, “Will you, new generation of liberty-lovers, stand and be heard?”

Bringing the focus back to general rights, he said, “There is a great battle going on for the heart of America… Progressives believe that a majority may separate you from your rights… Rights are inherent. They are inseparable from a person. All rights come from a creator and no government can take them away from us.”

Paul specifically stressed privacy in his speech.”If you own a cell phone, you are under surveillance,” he said. “I believe that what you do on your cell phone is none of [the NSA’s] damn business.” He then mentioned the fact that he had filed a lawsuit against President Obama for what he thinks is unconstitutional spying.

Paul ended his speech on a strong note. He said, “Mr. President, we will not let you shred our Constitution.”

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Rick Perry: “It’s Time For A Little Rebellion”

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Texas Governor Rick Perry gave a passionate speech to CPAC attendees this morning.

“A little rebellion is a good thing,” he boldly stated. “It’s time for a little rebellion on the battlefront of ideas.” 

Perry said that the future of America lies in the states, which he called “laboratories of innovation.”

He used several examples to show that red states produce prosperity more effectively than blue states ridden with Bloomberg-like nanny state policies.  Texas, Perry’s home state, has presided over the nation’s largest economic boom in a generation while liberal utopias like California and New York continue to decline economically.

Although Perry stressed that overall, America is struggling financially, he asserted that it doesn’t have to be that way.

“We don’t need to accept recent history, we just need to change the presidency,” he said.

Ending on a positive note, the Texas governor said, “The future of America lies in you… and you represent the new hope that America can be great again.”

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