Betsy McCaughey, the spokeswoman of Defending Your Health Care, preached to an electrified, all standing crowd with her hands raised to heaven as I entered the room. This year CPAC, the annual Conservative Political Action Convention, glowed with the energy she and others brought. Perhaps I'm wrong, but the recent congressional elections seem to have channeled this same urgent vibrancy. I love it. I don't want Obamacare or higher taxes or government regulation or bailouts anymore than the next conservative girl. I love libertarian fiscal responsibility.
I noticed something on Friday, though. Dear Ron Paul, you said three things to the half-empty room in 2008. Save money, stay home, and save babies. This time, from the packed overflow room where college students screamed your name, I only heard save money and stay home. Friday, I didn't worry about it. I mean, we can't talk about same issues all the time. But it did haunt me a bit that the most pro-life candidate from 2008 somehow forgot the theme he advertises on every bio or flier.
As Saturday rolled around and I watched speech after speech and panel after panel, respondents and speakers played one common chord. Through health care, foreign affairs, cultural concerns, and all the spirited Obama bashing, almost every conversation focused on the financial side of these issues. When the Straw Poll came out, 84% of respondents cited government size as their top concern. The Bank of Kev Blogger panel emphasized the Tea Party's fiscal focus as the fundamental force behind conservatism right now. The crowds that screamed their repugnance at Obamacare but left the pro-life talk half-empty seemed to agree.
Yes, by now you know, I'm a whiny social conservative. I do realize that if fiscal and social conservatives don't compromise and pick one candidate, we'll split the ticket and repeat 2008 with a liberal republican. Of course, with all the Bush hatred going around, 2008 was special, but regardless, it can happen again. As the Blogger Panel pointed out, we can’t spend 2012 looking for the Onion’s Zombie Reagan. I screamed and jumped for our new Ronald, Dr. Paul, when he won the CPAC “presidential” straw poll, but the prospective candidates should shiver a bit. None of them had activist approval comparable to a man not even running. So of course I see the danger of disunity, and of course I'm excited that Ron Paul's Revolution really had the Goldwater-esque influence it set out for in 2008.
Give me a chance to whine, though. Pat Boone mentioned another Revolution and a different Tea Party in his Saturday speech. Back then, colonists endured one government infringement after another until something really hit their pocketbooks. If I recall correctly, the Quartering Acts didn't get a third of the reaction the Stamp Acts did. Indeed, author John McConaughy in his book “Who Rules America” claims that the American Revolution revolved around the economic interests of a handful of “Funding Fathers.” I wouldn't go that far, but certainly what first mobilized the early Americans to fight big government grew from financial freedoms. So just as that first movement bred a human rights and liberties Constitution, perhaps this money movement at CPAC may birth bigger things. We might get some great reductions in government from our Tea Parties. But do you remember the one thing that Revolution overlooked? If you said slavery, you got it right. The Founding Fathers cared so much about moving towards their own balanced government that they forgot not to trample the liberties of others. Three-fifths compromise, anyone?
So with that, I turn you once more to the unborn, and our infamous cultural zero-fifths compromise. You know how these crazy abolitionists kept protesting and now for some odd reason we agree with them? Heaven help your descendants if they find you repeated an error of the past, and crushed real babies under our stampede towards our personal liberties. Good luck and God bless, American ReLOVEution. Have at 'em! But don't forget where we can err.