First, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) focused heavily on lambasting President Obama and for his economic and military policies. At the 4:07:13 mark of this C-SPAN video, Bachmann criticized President Obama's alleged fixation on "political correctness" and "social experimentation" (which may have been coded terms for the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell).
"As dire as this president has made our economy, I'm here to tell you that I am probably even more concerned about the vulnerability of the United States when it comes to America's national security and our vulnerability, because today President Obama is taking leverage away from our military through a never before seen reduction of forces during wartime while they elevate political correctness and social experimentation over readiness."Bachmann also used the Deuteronomy 28:13 term "head and not the tail" at the 4:09:06 mark in a comment about her military policy if elected president. Rachel Tabachnick at Talk to Action speculates that Bachmann may have used this term as a dog whistle for Christian dominionist listeners.
"You may recall that one of the people in the president's administration said that in Libya, the president was leading from behind. Do you remember that? I want you to know as president, I will lead from the front. We will be the head, not the tail."I could also discuss her antipathy toward the Environmental Protection Agency, which she called the "job killing agency of America" at 4:06:58, and who will have its "lights go out" if she becomes president...but we need to keep moving.
Citizens United president David Bossie lambasted President Obama's so-called "socialist" economic policies. At the 34:00 mark of another C-SPAN video, Bossie looked askance at contemporary European governments.
"President Obama is trying to institute a European, socialist style of government upon Americans ... Obama himself has said, and I quote, in America there is a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world. Well, America fought two world wars and a cold war to save Europe from tyranny. President Obama is flat wrong. I say it is Europe that has failed to see the leading role of the United States. I believe that America is an exceptional nation. President Obama doesn't. We do not have to copy the failed socialist policies that have come out of these many European capitals to know that. The fact is, America is a center-right nation."
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich criticized the judiciary in his speech, joking about eliminating the 9th Circuit. At the 58:15 mark, he listed four executive orders that he would sign if elected president, which would have serious impacts on reproductive rights in the U.S. and abroad.
"The first executive order I will sign eliminates all of the White House czars as of that moment. [Applause] See now, I knew you'd get it. The second executive order reinstates Ronald Reagan's Mexico City policy that no U.S. taxpayer pays for abortions overseas. The third executive order reinstates President George W. Bush's conscience provision which says that no person, no doctor, no nurse, no pharmacist, no hospital can be forced to perform any medical procedure against their religious beliefs. And the forth executive order I will sign says quite simply that as of that day the United States accepts and recognizes the capital of countries as defined by their government, and we will move the U.S. embassy to the capital as defined by that government. The only country that affects is Israel, because the U.S. state department has consistently refused to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which I believe is an insult to a country that is a democracy."Michael Williams, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, depicted environmental concerns and economic recovery as competing aims. At the 1:32:34 mark, he claimed that the U.S. is in the midst of competing visions.
"But we are in this room saying we are now in a colossal conflict of competing visions. A vision of those who want the government to do for each and everybody all things, and those of us [unclear] who know that with private initiative and personal responsibility, American can be as great as she's ever been. We see it in so many different ways. We see it in an energy policy that says that an agency ought to be worried about greenhouse gases as opposed to creating jobs. We see it in a U.S. Fish and Wildlife agency that says that it's going to be concerned more about a little three-inch sand dune lizard than tens of thousands of oil field jobs in west Texas, and hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude."Finally, I would be remiss if I neglected Reggie Brown, a President Obama impersonator who performed a comedy routine for the conference. According to Yahoo News, Brown was pulled from the stage after making jokes about prominent Republicans. A C-SPAN video of his comedy performance corroborates the story; the sound goes out on Brown's microphone at the 18:12 mark, and a moderator says something inaudible to him at the 18:27 mark, after which Brown immediately leaves the stage.
For more information on the Republican Leadership Conference, visit www[dot]rlc2011[dot]com. To watch excerpts of the event on C-SPAN, click here, here, and here. For additional news and commentary, visit the following links.
NPR: Conservatives Gather for GOP Leadership Conference
CBS: Ron Paul Wins Republican Leadership Conference Straw Poll: John Huntsman Second
CNN: GOP Tensions on Display at Republican Leadership Conference
CNN: Bachmann: Schools Should Teach Intelligent Design
Slate: Crazy Popular, or Just Crazy?
Huffington Post: Reggie Brown, Obama Impersonator, Yanked After Mocking Obama, GOP Candidates