Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) delivered the following remarks today the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference.
How’s everybody doing today? You enjoying CPAC? Hasn’t it been a great day and a half so far? I am so glad to be able to be with you here today.
I want to thank Ed Feulner for that gracious introduction. Ed has been an institution in and of himself for nearly 40 years. From his work today at the Heritage Foundation to his vision to create the Republican Study Committee, without Ed’s work, the conservative movement would not be where we are today.
As Ed said my name is Tom Price and I have the honor to serve as the Chairman of the Republican Study Committee. A group Ed founded in 1973. How many of you know about the RSC? I encourage each of you to go online and join our team at the Republican Study Committee. I like to describe the RSC as the good guys in Washington – the true conservatives in the House of Representatives. The place where conservative solutions are produced and where battles are waged with the liberal majority in charge.
And battle we have, this year. Wasn’t this past year remarkable? Being at CPAC today you can feel an energy in the air that I don’t remember one year ago. There’s a sense that the ground is moving… that something historic is underway.
To me, this has been one of the most important years in modern political history.
It began with a new President, the media was fawning, liberals were emboldened.
Many happily declared that conservatism was dead.
Yet over the last year conservatives in Washington and across this land have joined together to beat back a liberal agenda, fighting every day, tooth and nail. We have seen the spawning of a political movement – in the tea parties – that has changed the face of America politics. We even elected a Republican in Massachusetts.
We are on the precipice of an historic political revolution. I stand here today, wholly confident that next year we will be at CPAC celebrating a conservative Republican majority in the House and the removal of Nancy Pelosi from power.
What we have been reminded of over the last year is that when we apply principle to all our actions, we will always have the American people on our side.
You see, our enduring principles, the eternal fire of our conservative ideals cannot be extinguished. But we have to be honest…our light had dimmed, the influence of conservative thought had waned, as principle was abandoned…even by some in our own party.
But the fires of the conservative movement are burning brightly once again. Passionate conservatism has raged across this nation. Patriotic Americans have stood up at town halls and at tea parties, engaged in both protests and in prayer to say we must take our country back. Take it back from a vile liberal agenda that is threatening everything we hold dear as Americans.
It took an out of touch liberal elite in the White House to provide us the spark that reignited our spirit, but it was the fuel inside each and every one of you that has allowed it to remain ablaze.
For this, I want to thank all of you. I thank you for the inspiration you have provided those of us fighting in Washington.
We are fighting because our nation has slipped into the hands of a party whose liberal vision is incompatible with the America that most of us know and love.
But with your help, we will take our country back.
Now, this is going to take a lot of work, but the danger of inaction is too great. Too much is at stake. Too great a price will be paid by our children and grandchildren if we do not seize this moment and change the course of America’s future.
I am so confident, however, that a new direction is possible – because I see a political revolution that is already in motion. The engagement and political activism that took place in 2009 was incredibly heartening. All year long, Americans stood up, voicing their concerns in a manner that would surely make our Founding Fathers proud.
Democrats – on the other hand – don’t appreciate the fact that Americans are standing up – against their agenda. During the August town halls when Americans united and said that they reject a government takeover of health care, the White House responded that this anger was – quote – manufactured. Nancy Pelosi went so far as to write an op-ed saying that we are un-American…Remember that?
Well, I say to the Speaker, don’t you fly over the country in your luxury jet and lecture us on what it means to be an American. Don’t you tell us about America.
America is a place where, when the government doesn’t listen to the people, the people stand up and shout louder – and take their country back.
America is a place founded in protest to oppressive government and on the principle of the consent of the governed.
We are a nation rooted in the awesome power and limitless potential of free people.
A place where dreams can be conceived, worked for, and then realized.
A place where we respect the values of life, family, and religion.
One that cherishes individual liberty and responsibility.
One that embraces charity and equal opportunity, but rejects equal outcomes.
America is a place of hard working people, all looking to do right for their families and communities.
America is too dynamic…too grand… and, yes, too independent a community to be organized by any one man.
Especially the one in the White House right now. Now, I hold no personal grudge against the President. He’s a remarkably talented politician, his story sells many newspapers worldwide, and his ascent is a wonderful inspiration for many in America.
But his agenda is driving this nation off a cliff.
While he says he will not rest until jobs are being created, he spent last night at a fundraiser in Las Vegas. This President has proven that talk is cheap.
But, we’ve seen what the President’s vision of job creation looks like. We’re one year into the stimulus package now. A trillion dollars stolen from future generations so that we can weatherize homes, buy road signs, and resurface tennis courts in Montana.
At this point, the question must be asked, how’s it working, Mr. President? Unemployment is near ten percent, we continue to lose jobs every month. Is this the immediate job creation you had in mind? Still happy with your decision to put Joe Biden in charge of a trillion dollars?
The reality is this administration is a lost cause when it comes to job creation. They have no appreciation for the economic principles that have made us the greatest nation in the history of the world. They reject free-markets because they don’t understand them. They rely on government because it is all they know.
This is an administration made up almost entirely of academics, lawyers, bureaucrats, and career politicians. They cannot create private sector jobs because virtually none of them has ever run a business – never created a private sector job – never signed the front side of paycheck.
Yet, so much of what scares us about those in charge is not the uncertainty of now. Americans will persevere. We are resilient. We will overcome and prosper again – in spite of the incompetence of this administration and this Congress.
What scares us is the lasting transformational damage these idolizers of bureaucracy have in store for America.
They seek a statist nation, leaving future generations indebted to and dependent upon government to achieve opportunity. There is no limit to the scale and scope of what they want Washington to control – private sector salaries, hiring CEO’s, investment choices, medical decisions, and where and when we may exercise our constitutional rights….
The President’s agenda is one that will destroy the principles we hold dear – and it must be stopped.
As you know, their charge against Republicans is that we are the party of NO. It is a little silly – we have put forth positive, principled solutions for all of the challenges we face – but still, this charge of saying no doesn’t really bother me… I actually vote NO a lot.
In fact, I’m proud to vote NO against this oppression and this reckless destruction.
When a bill steps all over our constitution, we don’t just say NO, we scream it.
When Democrats borrow a trillion dollars for a pork filled stimulus, we stand up and shout NO.
When Democrats pass a National Energy Tax that will cost American families thousands of dollars, we yell NO.
When a bill takes power away from individuals and hands control to Washington, we scream NO.
When they want to raise our taxes, increase our debt, take over our health care, what do we shout?
We shout NO, because we know there is a better way. Because America needs real solutions. Because we cannot borrow and spend our way to prosperity, nor appease our way to security. No, instead we must provide true, principled, positive solutions.
Now is our time to lead. We must engage and we must turn the anger we feel now into a passion to provide answers for a nation screaming out for principle. Our nation needs leadership now more than at any moment in our lifetime.
It will be this passion for solutions that restores the influence of conservatism in American politics.
It will be this positive vision that will allow us to move our nation in the right direction.
But taking back our nation will not be easy – despite recent successes. It will require a willingness to work, a willingness to fight, and an appreciation that this is an historic moment in time. One that if we let pass – just might bring to bear Ronald Reagan’s warning that one day we would look back and talk about an America when men were once free.
So in the months that follow, I implore you to embrace your conservatism, wear your principles on your sleeve. This is not about party or politics; it is about saving our nation for our children and grandchildren. Liberals and the media will surely try to castigate and marginalize us, but to that we must say I am a conservative and proud of it – because American solutions are conservative solutions.
We must be united in our beliefs and goals, not divided by our allegiance to a particular politician or faction of the conservative movement. We all stand together for limited government, personal responsibility, opportunity, freedom, and liberty. Wherever conservatism is on the march, we must eagerly join in – and wherever conservatism is under attack, we must push back together – as one movement!
This is about a nation built on certain ideals that are now under fire. It’s about a nation made possible by the blood and sacrifice of patriots who fought for what they knew to be right – and this nation now needs new patriots, not those who take up arms, but who take to the radio and the internet and town halls and protests – to fight for a return of common sense, a return of foundational principles, a return of the unmatched prosperity that only our system of representative democracy and free-market capitalism allows to flourish.
We have many battles ahead of us, but I am supremely confident in the power of our ideas – and your great work – to move this nation forward.
As Samuel Adams once said – it doesn’t take a majority to prevail – but an irate and tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.
I’m honored to stand with you and set those brushfires of freedom!