Conservatives: Freedom, Not Big Government Is Key >
36th Annual Conservative Political Action Conference, February 26-28, 2009

February 27, 2009--Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) declared "the conservative movement is alive and well."  "We must stage a comeback," McConnell said.  He contrasted the political landscape when he was first elected to the Senate in 1984 to now in 2009, and warned, "We're fast becoming a regional party instead of a national one, and there's a name for a regional party; it's called a minority party."  "The strategy has to improve," McConnell said. 
"First and foremost we need to search out those who have left our party, wherever they are, and give them a good reason to take a second look," he said.  Additionally McConnell said, "We need to be concerned that the very wealthy and the very poor, the most and least educated and a majority of minority voters have stopped paying attention to us."

McConnell questioned the Obama's plans to close Guantánamo.  "Where exactly do you expect to send these guys?" he asked, prompting some members of the audience to shout out suggestions such as Chicago or Alcatraz.

Transcribed excerpts:

"Over the past few months we've seen a big government mentality creep back into fashion on Capitol Hill.  It seems that failed big government solutions of the Carter era are back, making a comeback.  And I assure you Republicans are going to do everything we can to make sure that the failed policies of the past stay where they belong."

"At a time when Americans are tightening their belts, Democrats in Washington are letting theirs out a notch or two, and they're not pushing back from the table yet.  When it comes to fiscal responsibility, Democrats are clearly telling Americans to do as they say, not as they do."

McConnell also spoke against other examples of a "government-first approach" notably the Fairness Doctrine ("the We Can't Compete with Conservative Talk Radio Act of 2009") and Employee Free Choice Act ("a union power grab").  "Pushing back these efforts to basically Europeanize America will not be easy," McConnell said.

Copyright © 2009  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action