Taylor L. Turner
Last Saturday, March 8th, concluded the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held in Washington D.C. The Conference’s speakers delivered passionate addresses filled with pointed and astute criticisms of the President’s leadership. Kentucky Senator and Straw Poll winner Rand Paul delivered a fiery speech calling for Americans to restore “lovers of liberty” to government offices. Paul expressed his deep concern that the Constitutional rights and liberties of Americans are being jeopardized by the Obama Administration. He criticized the President for his failure in protecting Americans from the “prying eyes of the NSA,” stating that the National Security Agency’s ability to collect the communication records of Americans is a clear violation of the 4th amendment. Paul also asked Conservatives to remember that the 4th Amendment has equal weight to the 2nd Amendment’s right to bear arms. In addition, Paul scorned the President’s repetitive use of executive orders in place of Congress’s legislative authority and expressed the need for Congress to “stop the President from shredding the Constitution.” Paul’s articulate message of libertarian values resonated with the audience, resulting in his second victory of the CPAC Straw Poll with 31% of the votes.
In what has been considered a “comeback,” Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey delivered a well- received speech at the CPAC. Earlier this year, it was discovered that several of Christie’s aides closed down lanes of the George Washington Bridge as a form of political retaliation against a Democratic mayor. The lane closures resulted in a massive traffic jam that prevented emergency and other service vehicles from arriving timely at their destinations. Although currently there is no proof to suggest that Christie himself was involved in the plot, he has suffered political fallout for the incident. However, at CPAC Christie showed that he still could be a possible contender in the 2016 presidential election. In his speech, Christie stated that the Republican Party should start talking about the ideas they support rather than what they oppose. Christie praised the work of Republican governors while criticizing the leadership in Washington D.C, stating, “Republican Governors have done things, not just talked about them.” Christie also called the GOP to stop allowing the media to “define who we are.”
Perhaps the most memorable speech was former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin’s vibrant speech. Palin issued sharp criticisms of the President and the Republican Establishment, while praising the work of Tea Party candidates like Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). She paid tribute to Cruz’s controversial filibuster through her satirist reading of Dr. Seuss’s book Green Eggs and Ham that excoriated the President. Cruz had read the book on the Senate floor during his filibuster. The Governor referenced to President Obama’s health care law in her jibe “I do not like this Uncle Sam; I do not like his healthcare scam.” She concluded her address with a biting response to the United State’s recent response towards the Ukrainian crisis. Palin stated that although the President had “promised to stop the rising of the ocean,” the only object actually rising was the “Russian Empire.”