Twenty-five percent of the 2,930 attendants at the convention cast their vote for the junior Senator from Kentucky. Marco Rubio took a close second at 23 percent, far ahead of former Sen. Rick Santorum at 8 percent.
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) concludes each year with its ever-popular and influential straw poll. This year, the survey was co-sponsored by the Washington Times and was conducted by Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates.
Sen. Rand Paul is the son of Ron Paul, the three-time presidential candidate and retired Congressman. The elder Paul had previously won the CPAC poll in 2010 and 2011, before losing to Mitt Romney last year in the midst of their primary contest with Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich.
If you have been keeping an eye on the news lately, you’ll know that Young Americans for Liberty is having one of our most amazing years at CPAC yet!
CPAC 2013, the largest annual conservative conference in the country, began the weekend with a media firestormthat was centered on the grassroots youth support for the libertarian-leaning Senator Rand Paul.
Senator Paul, who gained international media attention for his historic 13-hour filibuster last week, was greeted by a large crowd of students and new fans during his CPAC speech Thursday. He emphasized the importance of being consistent advocates of freedom, and claimed the GOP has “grown stale and moss-covered” and needs to embrace liberty in both the economic and personal sphere.
Watch Senator Paul’s speech at CPAC!
Prior to Senator Paul’s speech, dozens of students wandered throughout the convention center handing out “Stand with Rand” t-shirt, stickers, and signs to fellow supporters. 1,000 shirts were given away in about four hours, and worn in the support of the Senator during his speech. Many attendees also stood throughout the course of the speech in reference to his filibuster.
Some of the nation's most prominent social conservatives are sending a message to their economic brethren by dropping out of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in response to the decision to include GOProud, a gay conservative group, as a participating organization.
You demonized Ron Paul's straw poll win at CPAC, and I am A-Okay with that because I support free speech, unlike you. While your motive was probably more political than anything (Because Dr. Paul is an actual conservative on fiscal issues, foreign policy, and civil liberties; a principled position that is a direct threat to your pragmatic, spineless neoconservative ideology that you so vehemently defend), you also sought to discredit the youth movement. And I have a huge problem with that.
Let me ask you this, Bill:
Who are the biggest advocates of Social Security and Medicare?
Who passed the biggest Medicare expansion since it was created?
Who is fighting tooth and nail to pass socialized medicine, affectionately named America's Affodable Health Choices Act of 2009?
Who steered us into the two most disastrous wars since Vietnam?
Sixty-Four contestants 'Belly'd up to Big Government' and took part in YAL's CPAC Sumo Wrestling Tournament on Friday, February 19th at the Marriott Wardman Hotel in Washington, D.C. It was an incredibly fun and popular event and literally hundreds of people participated in open wrestling throughout the weekend against "Big Government", portrayed by 'Big Sis' Janet Napolitano.
The event was covered by many major media outlets, and even made it live on Fox News:
Here's footage of the Championship Match between Ralph (in Red) and our Tournament Champ Mitch (sporting Blue)! Congratulations to all who participated!
David Harsanyi has recently published a piece for Reason.com that is hard to ignore in light of Ron Paul's recent straw poll victory at CPAC. Is Paul the future of the conservative movement? Harsanyi doesn't think so:
Let's, for a moment, forget Paul (and how I wish this could be a permanent condition, considering the congressman is neither a serious politician nor—and I can't stress this enough—a serious thinker).
He claims that Ron Paul is not a "serious politician," whatever that means. Who ARE the serious politicians? Mitt Romney? Sarah Palin? What exactly makes them serious? Their chance of winning, their ideas?
Harsanyi then claims that he is not a "serious thinker." However, regardless of whether or not Paul has the "serious thinker" capabilities of von Mises or others like him, Paul holds to many of the same conclusions of these thinkers. One need not be Mises, only intelligent enough to pick Mises over... let's say... Keynes or Samuelson. I personally cannot find fault with Paul for not being an eminent scholar. He is, however, an M.D., which is an accomplishment compared to at least one Reason staffer. If someone were to bankroll him in his youth he may have turned out to be something surely more important...like an opinion columnist, for instance.
I have been to two CPACs, in 2008 and 2010. In 2008, the Ron Paul supporters were a few isolated crazy people and Paul came in fourth in the presidential straw poll, with 12% of the vote. In 2010 -- well, you already know.
The shift in power toward Ron Paul and the Campaign for Liberty is so astounding that I probably would not fully believe it had I not been present at CPAC this year myself -- which is not to say that C4L is anywhere close to its goal of reclaiming the Republican Party. We should remember that 69% of straw poll voters voted for someone other than Ron Paul. Dick Cheney got a standing ovation, to chants of "Run, Dick, Run!" (meaning "run for president," not "you better run, you bastard" as per my chant.) And Marco Rubio got similar applause when he giggled over the thought of waterboarding terrorists.
Nevertheless, revolutions don't occur by sheer majority force alone. They occur when a determined minority is well organized enough to actually realize its ideals. It is often cited that before the American revolution, one third of people were patriots, one third were loyalists, and one third were indifferent. By this standard, the libertarians are well on their way to reclaiming the GOP. When I was passing out flyers for C4L, more than a few people responded, "I already have five of those! You people are everywhere!" This is true testament to C4L's excellent organizational capacity.
Politico.com has jumped right on the marginalization bandwagon when it comes to Ron Paul winning the CPAC 2010 Straw Poll. Their poll today is asking who should have won the CPAC Straw Poll- a puzzling move, considering how active Dr. Paul's supporters are online.
It seems to me that Dr. Paul's win has not sat well with old media, and neoconservatives- they've dusted off and put back in use their old media guide to attacking Ron Paul.
I propose we let our voice be heard in the Politico poll. Who's with me?