Thursday, February 18, 2010

CPAC 2010 - There's Energy Here

I'm at CPAC again and I'm stoked. I'm recharged already and it's only been three hours. It's worth the time, the expense, and the bother to get here each year. This is my fourth and I've finally gotten smart about how to operate. Got my bloggers credentials and I'm writing from "Bloggers Row." Got wireless access, a table to work on - they even pass out candy to us. I recognize other bloggers from around the country. I'm loving this.
Marco Rubio is genuine. He's about to become the next senator from Florida and he's a real conservative. Charlie Crist thought he was going to walk into the senate seat the way Martha Coakley thought she was going to walk into her's in Massachusetts, but Marco Rubio got in the way. He was 30 points behind a few months ago. He's 10 points ahead now.

He was introduced by Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who alone has a 100% conservative rating in the US Senate. He said, "I'd rather have 30 senators like Marco Rubio than 60 like Arlen Spector." Here here. Are you listening Olympia Snowe?

Rubio is real. I was seated close to the podium to tell and he never set off my BS alarm. It never even peeped. He’s the genuine article. There was a crack behind his voice when he talked about where he came from that wasn’t staged. I've heard a lot of politicians tell their stories and darned few passed my gut test. "This guy really believes what he’s saying," I was thinking, and the audience picked that up bigtime. He's going to do great things.

"I was raised by [Cuban] exiles," he said, "by people who know what it’s like to lose their country. I’m one generation removed from a very different life. [I live in] a country that recognizes that our rights come from God and not from anybody else. Americans chose a limited government to protect our rights, not grant them."
He said more things than I had time to type (I've got to get faster), and these quotes aren't necessarily in the order he said them, but say they he did. This guy is good and he's only 39.

"[The] 2010 [election] is a referendum on the very identity of our nation. People get it. They understand that if we get this wrong, there may not be any turning back for America. [Our leaders] are asking us to abandon the things that separate us from the rest of the world."

I love this guy.
This is a Tea Party guy I met in the lobby early this morning. He led the September 12th March on Washington last fall. It was only about 7:00 AM and very few people were around, so he posed for me.

I walked around the lounge last night after unpacking in my room, but didn't sit down and order a glass of wine. The trip exhausted me and I decided to go to bed early. Tonight will be different though. I have to speak on The Andrea Shea King radio talk show in Florida at 9:00 PM. Met Andrea last year and she introduced me to Colonel Alan West - a candidate for Congress from Florida and an Iraq veteran. He's speaking later in the conference and I very much recommend you click on this link to one of his speeches. Good people down there in Florida, huh?

Oh my. Dick Cheney just walked to the podium. He wasn't on the program. His daughter, Liz, was speaking and she brought him along. "As 'arm candy' her father said. Then he said, 'I think Barack Obama is going to be a one-term president."

Here here. I believe he's right.

More updates later. Got to go to the bathroom.


Jim said...

Thanks for the CPAC update Tom, I'm very jealous that I'm not there.

I too am impressed with soon to be US Senator Rubio. I reserve final judgement until after I see how he performs in the Washington, but as of right now he seems very 'Presidential' to me.

Anonymous said...

The following is the "script" to Rubio's speech from the Cristo website:

Good morning. Thank you for that warm welcome and the opportunity to speak to you about why I’m running for the U.S. Senate. [WAIT FOR APPLAUSE]
Since my campaign began, I’ve had the privilege of becoming the latest cover boy. Ask my lobbyist colleagues — I’m a capitalist (at least when it comes to benefiting financially while claiming to serve the people of Florida. And, capitalizing on that wave, I have successfully painted myself as a political outsider. Our success in convincing voters that I am a new voice in Florida politics is surprising even to me.
I owe most of my recent success from a single photograph. I say, ‘image is everything’ – and luckily, I found a photo with the Governor of Florida greeting the President of the United States. And Presto! Instant candidacy for moi! Sure, my opponent was aware Florida was facing a $6 billion dollar deficit and supported getting Florida our fair share of federal money. And, sure, I admitted I would have accepted the stimulus money too in a recent interview. But that’s the Magic of Marco – I just back-track.
Concerned about out of control spending in Washington? Me too! Pay no attention to the fact that I sent my opponent, Gov. Crist, our state budget loaded with hundreds of millions in special interest earmarks – Crist vetoed $459 million of it. I’ve helped support enough earmarks during my time in Tallahassee to make even Shamu’s head swim! I even tried to score some new turf for my flag football league. I even spent over half a million dollars of Republican Party of Florida money just on my 100 ideas book.
We all hate taxes. I hate them even more. Like when I proposed the largest tax increase in Florida history– boy, I hate that. Lucky Grover Norquist doesn’t hold it against me that I raised taxes when I was in local government too.
I enjoyed speaking to some of you prior to my remarks. Besides the issues I just touched on, I heard directly about your concerns relating to illegal immigration and cap and trade. I want to touch on both topics now.
When it comes to immigration, I am all about talking tough– my approach stems from the fact that it is easier to discuss the issue than to fix it. I had a bear of a time back in 2007 with this issue. Six Republican members introduced legislation that would have cracked down on illegal immigration in our state. Frankly, I had no appetite to deal with this, so I never called one bill up for consideration. Pay no attention that my more lenient views on immigration were well documented by many at the time. I supported legislation that would have given illegals in-state tuition discounts instead of out of state costs.

I now say cap and trade is wrong, but I supported a carbon tax. May sound strange (does to me too), and I know that shakes many of you to the core, but it’s true. Before I became a candidate for U.S. Senate I supported giving Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection agency a mandate to go out and develop a cap and trade program including a carbon tax. This position was to get ahead of what would be coming down from Washington. Clearly I read the political tides wrong, but I cannot stand by my comments from March 2008 or all of you will see right through me, I mean, that’s a lifetime ago in politics. Moving on …

[see PT. 2]

Anonymous said...


More than anything else, my political rise provided me with the ability to influence public policy and see firsthand why Americans are tired of insider deal making and self-interest influence. We must put an end to this type of influence in today’s politics. There is no one who understands this more than I – a lobbyist while serving Floridians in the House.
I am not na├»ve when it comes to dealing with this kind of corruption in the political system. I have learned these lessons from firsthand experience. You see, when I was Speaker of the House, I tried to influence the political process by inserting language into three pieces of legislation to help a campaign contributor and close political ally be able to secure business with the Florida Turnpike. I’m sure many in this room during a recent trip to Florida became familiar with the Florida Turnpike. I slipped this language in to the different bills with the hope it would not cause a concern..
I’m thrilled many of you don’t know me or what I’ve done during my 8 years in Tallahassee. My record is irrelevant in this campaign. My previous statements and actions serve no purpose in this campaign. The fact that I’m a lobbyist and lobbied during my time in the Florida House has no place in this campaign. Many sundry things about me are out there but they have no place in this campaign. As I’ve said before, everything is done in the context of the moments in which you’re living. So, anyone who brings up the fact that I have a record or even refers to me as Speaker must be running the most negative campaign in the history of modern politics, and, because of such, I refuse to talk about my past. I’m like the Great and Powerful Oz – pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! All you need to know is that I’m an outsider, I mean Conservative Outsider! [APPLAUSE]. (Oops, I almost forgot that one). I’m the new guy. I just hope this best kept secret remains just that. Despite my experiences and time in Tallahassee, I thank you for your support.

Anonymous said...

"I love this guy."

I'm sure you do, he looks like a real cutie-pie. (It seems that all the Rights recent hero's are chosen because they are this guy, Brown, Palin)

Do you envision Rubio in tight leather? Do you think you could get aroused by the guy?!?

I picture Tom at this event squeeling like a teeny bopper at a Jonas Brothers show. Perhaps throwing his underwear onstage like he was at a Tom Jones show!

Tom McLaughlin said...

The Anonymous Wuss is back. What are you doing here anyway? Does the Democrat Party pay you to write comments like this?

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! Rubio!!West!!! You HAVE to be pumped!!! Did you attend Pamela Gellars event???? WOW.....Look forward to stories! Laurie from Bartlett

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't take the Democrats money. I'm not a fan of theirs.

Candle in the Wind said...

New blogger here. Great commentary while at CPAC. Keep it coming! I watched ALL DAY yesterday from the comfort of home and was blown away by the energy and inspiring speeches.

Lucky You !