The “Conservative Political Action Conference,” CPAC 2020, is over – but what a year! This year represented a genuine “gathering of eagles,” sounding notes of can-do, freedom, strength, and inveterate optimism at a truly consequential time in American history. Overarching topic: “America versus Socialism.” That says it all, doesn’t it?
What could be more relevant, frightening, motivating and compelling – than defending America’s liberties against the rising onslaught of socialism, aptly represented by the modern Democratic party? CPAC helped focus the Nation on the stark choice – between liberty and socialism. AMAC was there.
This CPAC conference – which featured President Trump at his most candid, direct, and comedic, also included Vice President Pence and an array of top national leaders, thinkers, and doers. These four days in Washington – guided by American Conservative Union Chair Matt Schlapp – included gripping speeches, plenary sessions, breakouts, and interviews across virtually every aspect of social, political, and economic relevance in 2020. Some generations live in “step up or lose it” times; ours is one.
Among stand-outs – beyond the President and Vice President – were appearances and persuasive arguments for unbending moral, cultural, political, international, and domestic leadership by distinguished scholars, managers, and proven leaders – all of whom clearly love America.
On the agenda were leading conservative members of Congress from Mark Meadows (NC-11), Jim Jordan (OH-4) to Doug Collins (GA-9) and Dan Crenshaw, Senators Mike Lee (UT), Marsha Blackburn (TN), Joni Ernst (IA) and Ted Cruz (TX) to Congressmen Steve Scalise (LA-1), John Ratliff (TX-4), and Louie Gohmert (TX-1). The list was a virtual “who’s who” of those with demonstrated political courage.
They spoke on matters from accountability and integrity to moral fiber, rule of law, adoption and preserving America’s cultural strengths; from free speech, free exercise of religion, entrepreneurship, individualism, women in leadership, realignment of minorities to defending security and core liberties.
Ambassador and former Governor Nicky Haley addressed cutting-edge issues, even as solemnity punctuated other moments, time allowed for recalling our Nation’s proud history, the sacrifice of combat veterans, sanctity of the National Anthem, and power of personal prayer and quiet reflection.
The annual dinner honoring Ronald Reagan was embroidered by interviews – before and after – for television and radio on the nature of his convictions, foresight, and leadership. National voices of reason and depth, from outspoken African American voices “Diamond and Silk” to conservative think tanks, cabinet secretaries to law enforcement, strategists and historians to tacticians were heard.
Gratifyingly for AMAC members, the majority of this national “gathering of eagles” was dedicated to core principles in which most believe, commitment to faith and family, free speech on campuses, honoring and caring for veterans, assuring integrity of our borders, fidelity to American history – no rewrites, and defending judicial restraint, limited government and opposition to socialism.
Perhaps what matters most is that AMAC leaders in attendance accomplished four missions – each worth reporting back to AMAC membership. First, they took the measure of those commissioned to defend our values in the government.
Clear as a bell – AMAC representatives saw enthusiasm from those in the Administration for preserving individual liberty, moral compass, and rule of law, reducing regulations, lowering taxes, assuring national security, social security, and effective operation of our democratic institutions. Every speaker spoke to these ideas in some way. Limited government, not more of it – animates this Administration’s thinking.
Second, AMAC representatives – in person and without hesitation – shared ideas. They reinforced the broader “Heartland” commitment to preserving America’s best traditions, restoring the Framer’s intent on constitutional issues, and assuring conservative older Americans are heard – not sidelined. AMAC membership empowers problem-solving to protect older Americans. This conference saw that.
The balance between assuring federal solvency and honoring historic pledges to America’s seniors and veterans was articulated. From guaranteeing affordable health care and social security to protecting public health, safety, and national security, AMAC spoke up – and was heard.
The dialogue was joined with top leaders – and solutions championed – from next steps on sanctuary cities and border security to economic growth, increased fiscal responsibility, preservation of earned benefits, and effectively protecting America to efficiently extinguishing the Chinese-origin “novel” coronavirus.
Third, perhaps as important as understanding the Administration’s unblinking commitment to timeless values and participation in problem-solving, AMAC was in full force communicating AMAC values to a national audience, reinforcing size, sincerity, and seriousness of values embraced by AMAC members.
All told, national media flooded the CPAC venue. AMAC used this event to reinforce longstanding relationships while forging new ones aimed at shaping the national dialogue. AMAC representatives conducted on the order of two dozen interviews, from Fox and One America television and radio to rolling regional interviews with leading lights, Secure Freedom Radio to regional conservative talk.
Net-net, AMAC’s leadership, continues to be pathbreaking, helping older Americans effectively navigate expected and unexpected turns, helping shape the Nation’s future, preserving conservative values, and celebrating this exceptional Nation. AMAC continues to help inform the national dialogue, anticipating and wrestling emerging and enduring problems. Nowhere was that more obvious than at CPAC, where the takeaway for AMAC members is that America’s future remains bright – so long as are in the fight.