Conservatives Plot Comeback With Renewed Energy

It's a three-day conservative bliss-fest packed with celebrities, political power players and nerve-hitting speeches. And with a new momentum to revitalize the Republican Party, attendees at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference are more energetic than they've been in years about taking back control of Congress.

"We're coming back," former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said as he participated in a bowling event Thursday evening in Washington, D.C.

VIDEO: Republicans gaining momentum in Washington
null

Uplifted by recent Democratic resignations, Scott Brown's surprise Senate victory in Massachusetts and Tea Party populism, conservatives believe their 2010 election prospects look promising.

"CPAC is conservatives' annual family reunion and this year the family is in high spirits," ABC News' political analyst George Will said.

CPAC has always drawn conservative bigwigs and is the biggest gathering of its kind, but the 37th annual gathering this year boasts record numbers, with 10,000 expected to attend, including many college students.

"I must say, nothing gives me more hope for the future of the nation than looking around at night seeing all the young right-wingers meeting, mingling and dating," said conservative commentator Ann Coulter, who headlined the event last year.

Despite the renewed energy, it is not yet clear if there is a unified agenda. The 37th annual convention is charting new waters, hoping to capture the sentiment of new movements, such as the Tea Party, while also bringing to the forefront seasoned Republican politicians.

The conference exhibited a wide variety of speakers, including those who defend Bush-era policies, such as Romney and such Tea Party supporters as Senate hopeful Marco Rubio of Florida. But then there were also others, like Brown, who achieved victory by appealing to independent voters. With many voices at the conference calling for a return to core conservative principles, at issue is whether the Republican Party can capture the support of the independents who, many analysts say, will be key in the upcoming mid-term elections.

The one main difference at this year's convention was the presence of a young, energized crowd ready to get into the game. Conference organizers went out of their way to target younger members, with a "Reaganpalooza" at a Capitol Hill bar and "XPAC," for "X-treme politically active conservatives."

"It's bigger, it's younger and it's positive, and those are the three changes that I see. It's not old and angry; it's young, excited and looking forward," Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who spoke at the conference today, said on "Top Line."

The energy has been undeniably staunchly anti-Obama, but less pro-Republican.

"If government spending were an Olympic sport, he [Obama] would be a repeat gold medalist," Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said today as he kicked off day two of the conference.

Former vice president Dick Cheney had a prediction of his own Thursday.

"I think 2010 will be a phenomenal year for the conservative cause, and I think Barack Obama is a one-term president," said Cheney, who made a surprise appearance to rally the crowd.

Romney jokingly said, "The gold medal won last night by American Lindsey Vonn has been stripped. It has been determined that President Obama has been going downhill faster than she has."

Actor and conservative radio host Stephen Baldwin is one of the people leading the youth charge.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...