Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) presented the keynote address at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Feb. 18 and focused on the onset of “a new dawn in America.”
The CPC annual summit assembles the nation’s conservative activists and politicos. The Republican freshman congressman delivered a rousing speech to several standing ovations, hitting on hot-button social issues, health care reform, the budget crisis and the definition of “true” conservatism.
He began by thanking conservatives and Tea Party members who, he said, “endured the relentless and hostile attacks from the liberal left,” including being labeled racists.
“Perhaps they should see who’s standing here as your keynote speaker,” he told the crowd apparently referring to his visible ethnic heritage, prompting thunderous applause.
The retired Army colonel commended Republicans for remaining steadfast to their conservative values.
“Do you believe that America can survive as a bureaucratic nanny state?” he asked the audience.
“No!” they replied.
“And you are absolutely correct,” West answered.
Vowing to help shave $100 billion out of the federal budget, he said, “We cannot continue on with the policies of behavior modification through excessive taxation and over-burdensome regulation and that’s why we are going to be cutting from the .”
“We cannot continue on in America where we are making more and more people wedded to government either by assistance check or employment check. Where we are creating more victims and making people more dependent upon government. That has to end,” he said.
Now is the time, he added, to eliminate “redundant, failed” governmental programs and agencies and reduce federal spending by 18-20 percent. Yet, later on in his speech, he proposed larger tax cuts for corporations and the elimination of capital gains and dividends taxes.
West singled out portions of the health care reform act he favored, which included polices to ensure patients keep coverage despite pre-existing conditions, but decried other regulations in the bill.
“It’s the other 2,490 pages with 11 new taxes, 159 new government agencies and bureaucracy and 16,000 new IRS agents that the United States of America does not want,” he said, to another standing ovation.
The freshman blasted President Obama’s plan to invest in innovation, saying such actions should originate in the private sector, which he calls the country’s best engine for “long-term sustainable growth.”
While discussing heated social issues that have polarized the nation, West reaffirmed his strong conservative principles.
“We must respect and honor the unborn,” he said, noting later that he does not believe “having a baby is punishment.” He said the country must revere the traditional marriage structure “to promote the promulgation of our society because we cannot allow the destruction of the American family.”
While he noted that the nation should celebrate diversity, he added “we should never allow multiculturalism to grow on steroids and define itself as making American culture subservient because yes, there is a definitive American culture.”
Later, he urged Americans to reclaim their Judeo-Christian faith heritage because “our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.”
“We are standing on the verge of the dawn of a new America if we adhere to those fundamental conservative principals and those constitutional ideals,” he said.