- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 26, 2013

“The nation is looking for a change in leadership. Many Americans wake up every day wondering if we are descending rather than ascending as a nation. And most of our citizens want to rally behind hopeful alternatives to our current path,” American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas tells Inside the Beltway.

In the next 48 hours, Mr. Cardenas and a battalion of those concerned citizens will head to the Conservative Political Action Conference in St. Louis on Saturday, a one-day event featuring 59 speakers and some provocative forums.

“How we are going to go about getting our country back on track? We will tackle tough subjects like immigration reform, Obamacare, the IRS targeting conservatives, Benghazi, what libertarians and conservatives can agree on, and more,” Mr. Cardenas says.

Among those up on the podium: Republican Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Mike Lee of Utah, plus Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas, and Blaine Luetkemeyer, Jason T. Smith and Ann Wagner of Missouri.

Govs. Sam Brownback of Kansas and Rick Perry of Texas will attend, along with Rick Santorum and Oliver North. Also on the agenda: Libertarian Party Chairman Geoffrey Neale, Americans for Tax Reform founder Grover Norquist and Washington Times Editor John Solomon and The Times’ editorial page editor David Keene, the past president of the National Rifle Association. Mr. Keane, incidentally, will offer a Second Amendment update.

At the heart, though, is grass-roots zeal and canny ground planning.

“Activists will leave the St. Charles Convention Center charged up and ready to fight for our values and principles,” an enthusiastic Mr. Cardenas declares. “2014 will be a banner year for conservatives. The American Conservative Union will be traveling the country arming our followers with the conservative tools that will lead them to victory.”

ONLY THREE THINGS?

“There are three things congressional Republicans should do now to win the battle with President Obama over the continuing resolution,” proclaims Steve Forbes. Yes, that Steve Forbes, of Forbes magazine fame.

“What’s good for big business is good for the American people. Demand that the individual mandate be postponed for a year, just as President Obama did — again, illegally — with the business mandate. Why should big business get a stay of execution from this dreadful legislation and not the American people? Make this another non-negotiable demand,” Mr. Forbes says.

Next, he advises GOPers to demand that no money from Medicare be diverted to financing the Affordable Care Act. “Be the champions of protecting the integrity of Medicare. Let’s enjoy the spectacle of Harry Reid and the White House opposing this,” Mr. Forbes says. “This demand will also be popular with defunding-minded Republicans.”

Finally, he tells Republicans “to eat your own cooking” by repealing the exemption for Congress provided in the health care law, an exemption that has irked the public.

“Throw down a non-negotiable demand: Repeal the exemption. If tens of millions of Americans have to eat this awful Obama stew, Capitol Hill should, too,” Mr. Forbes declares, adding, “Come on, Republicans. Get smart — and have fun while you’re at it.”

BUMPER PATROL

“Honk if I’m paying your mortgage.”

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