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Two large American flags flank the main stage. Another, larger one hangs over the stage like a primary-colored sun, or a guillotine. Conservatives have absolute certainty that they own the flag; that it represents them, and they it. After some housekeeping, a lengthy prayer for the nation and against its enemies, meaning American non-conservatives, the liberals and abortion-wanters and people against prayer in schools: In Jesus's name, Amen.

A speaker mentions the expected turnout of 10,000 people; due to the pre-9 AM hour, the seats are half filled and a generous count in the room would put it at a fifth of that. He welcomes the "over 250 students who came on busses from Ohio and Michigan." (Reagan is a key element of the speech, prominently spoken of as a founder and guiding light of the conference.) He speaks from a teleprompter, and outlines all the things that represent the American way; to applause, he says the Republican Party must be a conservative party with no compromise.

After the anthem (a good, honest rendition with no unnecessary flourish), Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Ken Cuccinelli gets the first enthusiastic applause of the morning. He gives a workmanlike speech, but has a bit of a difficult time of it, at first stumbling repeatedly on the lines. His largest applause line is for his actions against the Affordable Care Act; his fight against human trafficking is greeted with absolute silence. He gets going when we get to his own election platform, which revolves in largest part around tax and business needs.

Allen West is, as usual, more animated about things. He informs us that there is "nothing liberals fear more than a black american who wants a better life." Most of his speech is, in fact, about liberals, and his description of them sounds absolutely horrifying. California is singled out as a hellhole, a place Americans are fleeing from to join up with redder states. Then he chastises liberals for being "divisive." By the time he ends his speech, my head hurts. Note to self: bring more coffee, next time.

The odd thing about it is that all things good, like charity and feeding people, are considered conservative. All bad things, like giving people welfare, are considered liberal. Already I have noticed this in all speakers: much of what is said that is positive and noble and charitable could just as easily come from a liberal, a socialist or an unabashed leftist, individual phrases word-for-word. Then come the negative parts, vowing those things to be obviously conservative and outrage that the liberals would be against those things.

7:01 AM PT: As Sen. Pat Toomey is introduced, the introducer mentions Toomey's presence on the Super Committee, which she then notes is responsible for the despised sequester. This whipsaw reference is somehow apparently intended as a compliment, though I have no earthly idea why.

Ah. Toomey says that government spending "has grown by 100% in the last 12 years." He's dismissive of the sequester, and says "cutting spending should be easy." He also says Keynes "died a long time ago, I wish we could let the man rest in piece." Don't feel bad, Keynes; you should hear what much of the country thinks about Darwin.


Originally posted to Hunter on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 06:57 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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