The conference was founded in 1973 by the American Conservative Union and Young Americans for Freedom. The majority of attendees are young people under the age of 30, appropriately the theme in 2013 is “America’s Future: The Next Generation of Conservatives.”
Aside from a few derisive comments, there was no mention of climate change, clean energy or the environment.
Those who did mention climate change did so with the intent of undermining the green agenda. Speaking at CPAC on Friday March 15, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) tried to disprove climate change by noting that President Obama wore a jacket during his chilly inauguration in January!
“He [Obama] talked about global warming at his inauguration, I found it ironic that the President was wearing a trench coat it was so cold but he’s talking about global warming,” Rep. Scalise said.
Conservatives continue to believe that the federal government is overreaching when it tries to move forward on environmental protections and climate change. When Conservatives are not ignoring renewable energy, they are dismissing it. Sen. Rand Paul went so far as to call the solar power industry “wasteful.”
Given the fact that in the 2012 elections conservatives failed to win the Presidency and lost ground in both the House and the Senate, it would stand to reason that some changes may be in the offing for the GOP. However, right from the beginning of the conference change was rebuffed.
The first speaker at CPAC was the Virginia Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, he avoided any hint of change and instead preached the old line about American exceptionalism, Marco Rubio added to the no-change agenda saying, “we don’t need new ideas.” These sentiments were also echoed by Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Allen West, former U.S. Representative and 22-year Army veteran, stressed that conservatives must not change their message to fit the times. He went on to dismiss the need for change as “malarkey.”
Their 2012 election defeat clearly indicates that Republicans need to change if it wants to have national majority support. But if you listen to conservatives assembled at CPAC you would never know they have a problem. It seems that denial is not reserved for their stance on climate change. Speaker after speaker banged the same old drum.
Even Mitt Romney seemed to acknowledge the need for the GOP to change, “It is up to us to make sure that we learn from my mistakes, and from our mistakes, so that we can win the victories those people and this nation depend upon,” Although Romney was well received, his message fell on deaf ears.
Conservatives cannot seem to comprehend that American attitudes on issues like climate change are changing. The most recent surveys indicate that a growing number of Americans (including Republicans) are accepting the veracity of climate change. Nonetheless, these Luddites laugh at clean energy, deride the science of climate change and scoff at the idea that we need to do more to protect the environment.
CPAC once again illustrates that the one thing conservatives can’t do, is the one thing they need to do – change.
© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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