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GOP stars on parade at CPAC carnival

"GOP stars on parade at CPAC carnival" Continued...

Not coincidentally, some of Christie’s major rivals for the Republican nomination currently do their lawmaking in Washington.

Ryan, a Republican leader in the House, aimed his arrows at Obama and the Democrats, saying that a majority party “doesn’t burn heretics, it wins converts.” He cited the predicted job losses due to Obamacare and mocked some Democrats’ depiction of that as a “new freedom … the freedom not to work.”

“The left is making a big mistake here,” Ryan continued. “What they are offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul. The American people want more than that. People don’t just want a life of comfort. They want a life of dignity. They want a life of self-determination.”

Cruz blamed the Republican losses in 2008 and 2012 on the fact that “we stood for nothing, and we got walloped.” Then he cited the 2010 Tea Party-backed Republican victory, which he called an “historic tidal wave” of an election.

“You win elections by standing on principles and inspiring people,” Cruz said. “If you want to lose an election, stand for nothing.”

Other possible presidential contenders took their turns at charming the CPAC crowd, including Sen. Marco Rubio. The Republican from Florida emphasized foreign policy more than his potential 2016 rivals. He said Americans cannot ignore the nation’s global importance.

“American must be involved in leading the world, but not in dictating it,” Rubio said. “If you think high taxes and regulations are bad for our economy, so is global instability and the spread of totalitarianism.”

Presidential long shots also tried to jostle their way to the head of the pack through their CPAC rhetoric. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said Obama has assaulted the nation’s religious liberties and tried to redefine the American dream “so that success is defined by government assistance. That’s not an American dream. That’s an American nightmare. The American dream is not about government programs.”

One conservative rising star has yet to make his appearance on the stage, but that did not stop his image from appearing in several prominent places. Supporters of a “draft Ben Carson” movement devised creative ways to get their man noticed, including sponsoring the room keys at the hotel where CPAC is taking place. The face of Carson, a Maryland surgeon, did not just show up on hotel keys. His backers also sponsored a video promoting Carson that runs on repeat on some of the CPAC shuttle busses. Carson, who became an internet sensation after taking apart Obama’s policies in front of the president last year at the annual prayer breakfast, is scheduled to speak on Saturday, CPAC's final day.

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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