90 Miles From Tyranny : 17 Takeaways From America’s Biggest Conservative Conference

Monday, March 4, 2019

17 Takeaways From America’s Biggest Conservative Conference

The Daily Signal was at all three days of the Conservative Political Action Conference, the largest annual national gathering of conservative activists, in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside Washington, and we’ve rounded up some of the highlights of our coverage.

1. Vice President Mike Pence Speaks Out Against the ‘Culture of Death’

“Life is winning in America. For all the progress we’re making, tragically, at the very moment more Americans are embracing the right to life, leading members of the Democratic Party are embracing a radical agenda of abortion on demand,” Pence said Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Pence called President Donald Trump the “most pro-life president in history,” noting that Trump revoked U.S. tax dollars from funding abortions abroad and signed legislation allowing states to defund Planned Parenthood.

“Democrats are standing for late-term abortion, infanticide, and a culture of death,” Pence said. “I promise you, this president, this party, and this movement will always stand for the unborn and stand for the inalienable right to life.”

Pence also said the people of Venezuela are embracing freedom against the embattled socialist regime of dictator Nicolas Maduro.

“Freedom is more generous, more helpful, and more humane than any other social or economic model ever attempted because it is the only philosophy that respects the dignity and worth of every single life and sees every man, woman, and child as made in the image of God,” Pence said.

2. Lindsey Graham Praises Trump for Kavanaugh Nomination

“I want to thank the president for nominating Brett,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said at CPAC. “He did something not everyone does. He had somebody’s back when it really mattered. There were a bunch of people saying we need to move on, and the president said, ‘No, thank you.’ That’s truly called draining the swamp.”

Graham asked the CPAC audience to imagine what would have happened if Democrats had been able to block Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Qualified prospective nominees would be reluctant to step forward if the tactics employed against Kavanaugh had prevailed, he said.

3. Parkland Student: ‘Government Failed at All Levels’

Kyle Kashuv, now director of high school outreach for Turning Point USA, a nonprofit youth organization, was a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a gunman opened fire Feb. 14, 2018, killing 14 students and three staff members. Seventeen others were wounded.

“What happened at Parkland wasn’t a gun issue,” Kashuv said during a session on gun control at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Kashuv, 17, pointed to statistics that show crime rates have declined as gun ownership has gone up.

He also expressed frustration that law enforcement officials received multiple reports about earlier behavior by the young man responsible for the shooting, but did nothing.

“Government failed at all levels,” Kashuv said. “Every single level of government knew this could happen. I’m targeting individuals who allowed this to happen. A gun is an inanimate object without someone pulling the trigger.”

4. Cabinet Secretaries Call for Senate to Confirm More Nominees

“One thing that has slowed us up a little bit is getting the nominations [through the Senate],” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “Our friends on the Democratic side have not been quite as helpful as we’d like for them to be from the standpoint of getting nominations through.”

Perry said seats on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates the energy industry and approved projects, should be filled.

FERC still has a couple of openings [and it] could be really important to get those done,” Perry said. “Billions of dollars in projects are going to get approved at FERC … that will allow our natural resources to be moved all around the world.”

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao stressed that this isn’t the fault of the Senate majority leader—her husband, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

“It’s not the Senate majority leader’s fault. I want to make that very clear. It’s not his fault,” Chao said. “It is the deliberate policy of the Senate minority leader [Chuck Schumer] to slow up the nominations of this administration by invoking cloture at every single step of the nominations process on the floor.”

5. Activist Assaulted at UC Berkeley Describes What Happened

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Signal podcast, Hayden Williams, who was attacked in February when recruiting students for a conservative group at University of California, Berkeley recounted what occurred:
As soon as I pulled out my phone, one of them said, ‘You guys are promoting violence,’ and then out of nowhere my phone gets smacked out of my hand. I go to pick it up off the ground and then the table gets flipped over and I turn around and this guy is just looking at me with flames in his eyes and he starts telling me, ‘Get out of my face, get that camera out of my face,’ and he starts pushing me and punching at me. It was just a really scary situation.

I’ve got most of it on film but he swatted my phone down about three times in total and the third time he got it I think the video stopped for whatever reason and he took my phone from me.

Luckily there was a third-person angle, some student who was walking by and realized what happened, basically, just took it upon himself to record.

So we have this angle, and if you actually look closely at the video, you can see my phone in this guy’s right hand when he punches me and knocks my hat off my head and then it looks like I’m tussling for his sweater or something, but really I’m just trying to retrieve my phone from him. Fortunately, he drops it and it lands between my legs and I go to pick it up and he kind of walks away, but he’s still yelling.

I look down at my phone and I realize that he was coming back and I didn’t know if it was still recording or not, my phone. He just gets in my face and starts yelling and I’m like, ‘Oh, wow, this is a really tense situation.’ And I look down at my phone again after he’s done yelling and right then is when he just throws the hardest punch I’ve ever taken in my life.

The really disturbing part though was the people around us that were egging him on. … Some guy was saying, ‘I’m on your side, you’re winning this fight.’ It was just really demented. I don’t care who you are, what you believe, if I see you in a distressed situation like that and you’re being attacked, I’m going to do everything I can to help you out. I wouldn’t even think about mocking you.

chary Greenberg was arrested and charged Friday for allegedly attacking Williams.

6. Van Jones Defends Working With Conservatives on Criminal Justice Reform

Van Jones, a former Obama administration official and...

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