Good afternoon from CPAC, here in Washington D.C. The weather is chilly but the atmosphere is energizing inside the Omni Shoreham Hotel and Convention Center in Woodley Park. The morning speaker list included conservative luminaries George Will and Phyllis Schlafly as well as conservative representatives J.D. Hayworth of Arizona and Tom Tancredo of Colorado, and Senator John Cornyn of Texas. Rounding off the list was leader of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, Chris Simcox.
Pulitzer Prize winning columnist George Will spent the duration of his speech discussing topics dear to every conservative: freedom and liberty. Much of his time dwelt on the subject of limited government, where he said that "the Constitution guarantees us the pursuit of happiness while the government tries to guarantee happiness." While I may not agree with his take on the NSA surveillance issue, much of his discussion echoed my sentiments, but in his typically flawless rhetoric.
Following Will were several panel discussions on immigration policy sandwiched between House and Senate reports on current policy initiatives. Rep. Tom Tancredo led off with his "no holds barred" style by attacking weak policies while putting forth common-sense solutions to a problem that threatens our national security through the establishment of a new front in the global War on Terror.
Immediately following the Congressman were two panels of which I was only able to catch the earlier. This panel included Rep. J.D. Hayworth, Chris Simcox, Pedro Celis (head of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly) and Angela Maria Kelley. The first two members of this distinguished panel were for what Rep. Hayworth called the "Enforcement First" approach. This involves the immediate inforcement of current law towards immigration, followed by an in-depth look into common-sense reform policies. The latter two varied, but ultimately favored a more lax approach to dealing with the influx and population of illegal immigrants in the United States. As can be expected, the panel members were highly respectful of the others' views, even when in disagreement.
The final panel, I unfortunately was unable to attend, but am told by Drake student Danielle Sturgis that Phyllis Schlafly was "excellent". As for Senator Cornyn, he echoed what Rep. Tancredo had mentioned earlier, that the legislature is starting to take a more hands-on approach to immigration reform.
Stay tuned for further updates as the conference progresses ... it is sure to get more exciting as the weekend rolls on.