The CPAC crowds may scream when their rock stars make surprise visits, and cheer for a great, perhaps even Reaganesque, keynote address. But they won't swoon and they won't lose their heads. Though both hope and change are critical to the conservative agenda, foggy rhetoric and a promise of salvation will be rejected if offered. There's too much at stake. Marco Rubio gets it:
That's exactly right. It's the definition of a grassroots movement. And that's why "the tea party" as such is not co-optable.
"The tea party is about the anger over Washington's excesses that began under a Republican administration and Congress. Republicans have been guilty of expanding government," Mr. Rubio told The Washington Times in an interview. "But in the last 12 months, government has expanded at an even more alarming pace."
"And that expansion is what propels the massive pushback, which has become known as the tea party movement," said Mr. Rubio. [. . .]" 'Tea party' is basically a catchall phrase for what's going on in America," Mr. Rubio said. "The tea party is not some formal organization, although some have tried to organize it."
You'll find the full text of Rubio's keynote speech here. A few highlights:
They think that we need a guardian class in American government to protect us from ourselves. They think that the free-enterprise system is unfair, that a few people make a lot of money, and the rest of us get left behind. They believe that the only way business can make its money is by exploiting its workers and its customers. And they think that America's enemies exist because of something America did to earn their enmity.
Now, the problem is that in 2008 leaders with this worldview won elections. And now they know that the American people will never support their vision of America. So, instead, over the last 12 months they have used a severe economic downturn, a severe recession as an excuse to implement the statist policies that they have longed for all this time. In essence, they are using this downturn as cover not to fix America, but to try to change America to fundamentally redefine the role of government in our lives and the role of America in the world. [. . .]
From tea parties to the election in Massachusetts, we are witnessing the single greatest political pushback in American history. Now, the political class tries to make sense of all of this, but they can't, because never has the political class or the mainstream media that covers them been more out of touch with the American people than they are today. You see, 2010 is not just a choice between Republicans and Democrats. It's not just a choice between liberals and conservatives. 2010 is a referendum on the very identity of our nation. [. . .]And the reason is simple because people get it, because they understand that if we get this wrong, there may be no turning back for America. That's why the second thing leaders want -- the second thing that people want are leaders that will come here to Washington, D.C. and stand up to this big government agenda, not be co-opted by it. [. . .]
The final verdict on our generation will be written by Americans who haven't even been born yet. Let us make sure they write that we made the right choice, that in the early years of this century, faced with troubling and uncertain times, there were those who believed that the great American story had run its course. But we did not agree. Fear did not lead us to abandon our liberty. Uncertainty did not lead us to abandon the entrepreneurial spirit. We fought for and held on to those things that made us exceptional. And because we did, there was still one place in the world where the individual was more important than the state. Because we did, there was still at least one place in the world where who you come from does not determine where you get to go.
If you can spare 26 minutes, watch the entire speech. It may inspire real hope for change. But electing Rubio to the US Senate won't be enough. Our current elected representatives need to get it, too. Rep. John Boehner, in his speech to CPAC yesterday, talks the talk:
Ladies and gentlemen, if you help elect a Republican Congress this November, and I'm fortunate enough to be elected Speaker of the House, I pledge to you right here and now: we're going to run the House differently.Sounds lovely. But we've heard much of that before. This time they'd better be serious. Too many Americans are paying attention now.
And I don't just mean differently than the way Democrats are running it now. I mean differently than it's been run in the past under Democrats OR Republicans. . . .
If I'm the Speaker next year, we're going to get the reform movement started again.
One of my first orders of business will be to post every bill online for at least three days before a vote.
We will require our committees to quickly post all bills and votes online, and will outlaw "phantom amendments."
We will put cameras in the Rules Committee hearing room so Americans can see how decisions are made about what bills come to a vote.
We'll ban the practice of "airdropping" earmarks into bills at the last possible minute to dodge public scrutiny.
We'll outlaw "monuments to me," where legislators use your tax money to build projects named after themselves.
Visit some of these CPAC bloggers:
McCain and Other
Little Miss Attila
Cross-posted in the Green Room.
Linked at Michelle Malkin (buzzworthy)
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