Conservatives Gather in Washington, DC
2006 Conservative Political Action Conference, February 9-11, 2006  ...More >
In his speech early Saturday morning, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), chairman of the conservative House Republican Study Committee, recalled his appearance at CPAC two years earlier when he compared Republicans to a ship that has drifted off course.  Pointing to continuing growth in the size of government, Pence said it is now clear Republicans are not only off course but "going the wrong way."  (Below) National Rifle Association Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre honored Pence; Pence's wife Karen is at his side.  (related)
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CPAC 2006
Congressman Mike Pence

Excerpt from Rep. Mike Pence's remarks (as delivered):

...Two years ago, when I presented the keynote speech here at CPAC 2004, I likened the Republican movement to a tall ship -- a ship that had drifted off-course from essential conservative principles.

I said we'd lost our way.  I believed we could get back on course -- that we would get back on course.  We could make the corrections if we only kept our eye on True North -- the core principles of limited government and traditional moral values.

I believed then that we were off course not because we'd abandoned these principles or forgotten the shining city on the hill, but simple bacuse we had made honest, but flawed calculations about how to get there.

I no longer believe that.

It's one thing to drift off course...

It's quite another thing to continue on that course when half the crew and the passengers are pointing out that nothing looks familiar...not to mention tens of millions of Americans lining the shoreline yelling, "You're going the wrong way!"

In a word, we're not longer adrift.  We might've been when we started but now "off course" is the accepted course.

The evidence is overwhelming.  While President Bush has called for increases in non-defense spending for example of 4 percent each year of the last five years, Congress has delivered budgets that have spent more than twice that amount, appropriating $380 billion more than what the President requested in that time period.

Whether it's called "compassionate conservatism" or "big government republicanism," after years of record increases in federal spending, more government is now the accepted philosophy of government in the Republican Party in Washington, DC.

We are in danger of becomeing the party of Big Government.  For the sake of our party, for the sake of the nation we must say here and now, to all who would lead us in this new century, "the era of big Republican government is over!"  [applause]
Copyright © 2006  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action