WASHINGTON, DC, March 8, 2014 – This year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC, contained many great speeches by many presidential contenders. CPAC always gets the top tier leaders of today and tomorrow.
What is not known is how much attention is paid to those seeking lower offices, including many neophytes in their very first big races. The second day of CPAC saw various ethnic groups hold gatherings that brought in the best and brightest people of all racial and ethnic groups. These people are conservatives, which automatically unites them on philosophy.
The Latino National Republican Coalition is led by Manuel “Manny” Rosales of Texas. Mr. Rosales is a proud Latino and a proud conservative Republican. Plenty of politicians visited his hospitality suite. These rising stars deserve a second look.
The keynote speaker was Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes. Reyes is part Irish, Latino, Hawaiian, and several other ethnicities. He is the quintessential melting pot, but one area where he is not muddled is his ideology. He is a real conservative, and the mostly white voters of Utah do not seem to care about his race. He gets the job done.
Charles Lawler is a black Republican seeking to become the Governor of Maryland. Lawler is a former marine who went on to become a county party chair. He is also a successful businessman who knows what it takes to build something out of nothing.
Do not be fooled by the roman numerals. Dr. Charles Try Thomas III is no elitist. This black Republican is a former LSU football star who is now running for congress in his home state to win the seat once held by current Governor Bobby Jindal. Thomas faces a crowded primary but has plenty of promise.
After the Latino National Republican Coalition held their event, the Yitzchok Tendler’s group the Young Jewish Conservatives held a Friday night Sabbath dinner. While most Jews in America are secular liberals, the YJC crowd featured many Orthodox Jews who tend to lean more conservative politically.
A pair of congressmen offered heartfelt remarks. Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert brought amusing bonhomie before turning serious about the threats America and Israel face today. Arizona Congressman Trent Franks spoke very seriously and earnestly, sticking also to the international scene
2012 presidential candidate Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania was at CPAC promoting his heartfelt movie about religious values. The Catholic Santorum fit in perfectly with the religious Jewish crowd. He spoke from the heart about why faith matters, especially in these tough times.
Colonel Allen West did what he does everywhere he goes. Conservative crowds love this military hero, and his heroism is matched only by his humility. When a lengthy introduction was prepared, Colonel West said, “David, they heard all that already.”
The room laughed, and Colonel West spoke about military threats and his religious faith.
Radio host Michael Medved explained to those in the room the rituals involved with eating a Jewish meal so that everybody would feel comfortable.. Non-Jewish attendees included people from Christians United For Israel and others.
Despite the dinner lasting well over four hours, people stayed over an hour after it ended just to spend time and get to know each other.
As if this were not enough, Radio Row was alive with hosts from every corner of the nation and many parts of the world. Gary Emineth 1100 AM Fargo, North Dakota, Steve Kelley 710 AM Denver, Colorado, Steve Hook 1450 AM Somerset, New Jersey, and Dan “Ox” Ochsner 1450 AM St. Cloud, Minnesota were among those interviewing everybody from the top presidential candidates to ordinary everyday attendees.
There were also films, with the most notable one being Avi Goldwasser’s “J-Street Challenge.” J-Street is a leftist group that seeks to undermine Israel from within under the slogan “Pro-Israel, pro-peace.” Valerie Greenfeld belongs to Americans for peace and tolerance, but her liberal-sounding group name is politically conservative and pro-Israel. She was there to counter the J-Street threat to the Jewish community and Israel. One Ron Paul supporter tried to hijack the event, but he was dismissed as somebody straying off topic.
Everybody was on their best behavior. CPAC has not turned into a fratricidal bloodbath as in past years. Even the Ron Paul supporters were for the most part behaved.
When Kentucky Senator Rand Paul spoke, the room was flooded. When he left, many of his supporters showed they were not interested in other speakers. Yet they were mostly peaceful (outside that one militant), unlike the screaming and shouting in years past.
Perhaps the movement is trying to mature to improve its advocacy.
The left can preach about diversity, but where they fail is diversity of thought. What makes CPAC a success is that common ideas could be discussed in a civilized manner of people of all stripes.
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