Right Side News entered CPAC 2012 with a big question mark : Which candidate will leave this on the upswing and what will be the driving force?•Although Romney won the straw vote, Santorum’s presence was substantially more widespread and charged-up and I could sense Santorum was on the move. We sensed resurgence behind Rick Santorum who communicated conservative values.

Jeni Upchurch reports her observatations below:  

CPAC Conference 2012 Brings America’s Political Crossroads into Sharp Relief with a rallying cry, “Game On!”  

The ten thousand-plus attendees of CPAC’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. renewed the dedication of many and provided the party’s presidential primary candidates, as well as top political thinkers in the mainstream conservative movement, a platform from which to speak to the nation on the cross roads of our country’s path forward.   

The tenants of such a path include:  A strong defense, a balanced federal budget, job creation, limited government, a strict interpretation of the U.S.  Constitution and resurrecting the importance of family and the institutions that inform our nation’s character.

The Tea Party espoused less spending, to the roar of the attendees.   Grover Norquist, founder and president of ”Americans for Tax Reform”, forecast a win for the Republican party in 2012 providing the party remained focused on bringing about a closer adherence to the nation’s constitution.  While Ron Paul was not a speaker, his national movement to return to a conservative exercise of government based on the constitution permeated almost every speech.

Personal liberties and freedoms were central to the political debate along with the re-emergence of a movement to pass a balanced budget amendment to the constitution.   A strong defense of the constitution and principles that inform it led Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, in his address to remind us of former President Ronald Reagan’s warning:  “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”

The final speaker, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, had the crowd on its feet throughout most of her speech with a rallying cry to unseat President Obama in November.

As the nation observes the deaths of thousands in middle eastern countries in their attempts to win for themselves the freedom we often take for granted, it has seemingly renewed the determination of the conservative movement to steer the country back to its basic principles and a stricter interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.

The passion of the attendees was described by Senator Jim DeMint as, “the huddle before the 2012 election.”  There was a consensus among the attendees on who the candidate should be.  Governor Mitt Romney won the straw poll, with former Senator Rick Santorum coming in second, Newt Gingrich a distant third, and Ron Paul last.  The crowd was clearly focused on putting forth a candidate who can win in November.  The social values of conservative Republicans occupy a strong motivation to unseat President Obama in the fall.  The faux pas of President Obama in stepping on religious freedoms as he seeks to award free contraceptive prescriptions targeted to the needs of inner city women was a rallying cry for a new direction in the next administration.  The White House, seeking to roll back a decision that was met with loud outcries from the Catholic Church in particular, tweaked the President’s earlier policy, removing the contraception subsidy from needing to be paid by the church directly in its hospitals and clinics, fell on deaf ears.

Senate Minority Speaker, Mitch McConnell,  advocated for a federal pay freeze for the 2.2 million government employees.  He criticized President Obama for adding another 150,000 jobs in the three years he has been in office, while continuing spending on entitlements and bailouts that have not worked.  Like many others who spoke, the Senator called for a free people with free institutions and a limited government.

The nation is edging to an historical crossroads, as it ponders more government entitlements to soften the misery index to an already bankrupt treasury versus halting spending, cutting costs and unnecessary or failed government programs, with minimal intervention by government in citizens’ livesTony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, spoke of the stability provided by strong families  and said it contributed to the strength of character representative of the nation.  Taking away the first amendment rights of Catholics, whose religious beliefs eschew contraception, was here also a rallying cry for the President’s ouster.

The conservative movement is energized as much by the President’s recent policy pronouncements as it is by the tenants of its core beliefs.  The continuous spending of a President whose record has resulted in the nation owing more than its GNP is seen as an affront to conservative principles, and more importantly, a threat to national security.

The opportunity for economic growth, and a President who will provide the managerial leadership and political will to cut government waste is the watchword of the Republican Party, and none but its well-organized conservative base can affect the change of direction the party espouses so crucial to the national interest.

Jeni_UpchurchJeni Upchurch has served as a strategic communications management official at senior levels of the U.S Government. Her last public service post was Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for Public Affairs, when Jack Kemp was Secretary. Prior to that she had a career in journalism, and was a foreign correspodnent for ABC-TV news, based in London, England