Mitt Romney’s Remarks to CPAC 2010 – As Prepared for Delivery:
Thank you to Jay and to Scott for those generous introductions. Both these men have made real contributions to our nation. It’s good to be back at CPAC. I can’t think of an audience I’d rather be addressing today.
I spent the weekend in Vancouver. As always, the Olympic Games were inspiring. But in case you didn’t hear the late-breaking news, the gold medal in the downhill was taken away from American Lindsey Vonn. It was determined that President Obama is going downhill faster than she is.
I’m not telling you something you don’t know when I say that our conservative movement took a real hit in the 2008 elections. The victors were not exactly gracious in their big win: Media legs were tingling. Time Magazine’s cover pictured the Republican elephant and declared it an endangered species. The new president himself promised change of biblical proportion. And given his filibuster-proof Senate and lopsided House, he had everything he needed to deliver it.
They won, we lost. But you know, you learn a lot about people when you see how they react to losing. We didn’t serve up excuses or blame our fellow citizens. Instead, we listened to the American people, we sharpened our thinking and our arguments, we spoke with greater persuasiveness, we took our message to more journals and airwaves, and in the American tradition, some even brought attention to our cause with rallies and Tea parties.
I know that most of you have watched intently as the conservative comeback began in Virginia and exploded onto the scene in New Jersey. But as a Massachusetts man, who, like my fellow Bay-staters, has over the years, been understandably regarded somewhat suspiciously in gatherings like this, let me take just a moment to exalt in a Scott Brown victory!
For that victory that stopped Obama–care and turned back the Reid-Pelosi liberal tide, we have something to that you’d never think you’d hear at CPAC, “Thank you Massachusetts!”
2009 was the President’s turn to suffer losses, and not just at the ballot box, but also in bill after bill in Congress, and most importantly, in his failure to reignite the economy. In how he has responded to these defeats, too, we have learned a great about him and about his team.
He began by claiming that he had not failed at all. Remember the B+ grade he gave himself for his first year? Tell that to the 4 million Americans who lost their jobs last year, and to the millions more who stopped looking. Explain that to the world’s financial markets who gaped at trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see. Square that with the absence of any meaningful sanctions against Iran even as it funds terror and races to become a nuclear nation. President Obama’s self-proclaimed B+ will go down in history as the biggest exaggeration since Al Gore’s invention of the internet!
Unable to convince us that his failure was a success, he turned to the second dodge of losing teams: try to pin the blame on someone else. Did you see his State of the Union address? First, he took on the one group in the room that was restrained from responding—the Supreme Court. The President found it inexplicable that the first amendment right of free speech should be guaranteed not just to labor union corporations and media corporations, but equally to all corporations, big and small. When it was all over, I think most Americans felt as I did: his noisy critique and bombast did not register as clear and convincingly as Justice Alito’s silent lips forming these words: “Not true!”
Next he blamed the Republicans in the room, condescending to lecture them on the workings of the budget process, a process many of them had in fact mastered while he was still at Harvard Law School. He blamed Republicans for the gridlock that has blocked his favorite legislation; but he knows as well as we do that he did not need one single solitary Republican vote in either house to pass his legislation. It was Democrats who blocked him, Democrats who said “no” to his liberal agenda after they had been home to their districts and heard from the American people. As Everett Dirksen used to say, “When they felt the heat, they saw the light.” God bless every American who said no!