The Awakening

Reporting from the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington:

The "leader board" after Day 1 of CPAC 2009 on Thursday is populated by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), a young patriot the nation will embrace in years to come, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), who is a riveting speaker, the wry and authoritative John Bolton, and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, an advocate of fair election practices stemming from the fury in Ohio on Election Night 2000, and beyond.

There is a sense of urgency and a tug of destiny among these patriotic conservatives. In these horrific times, optimism is bubbling. The Obama opportunists underestimate these tremors of unrest at their peril.

To open CPAC, American Conservative Union president David Keene noted record attendance, now north of 8,500. The attendees I've met personally are here from Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Utah, to name a few. At the first CPAC in 1973, 125 registrants, mostly from "inside the Beltway", gathered to hear the keynote speaker -- a former Governor named Ronald Reagan.

This week's swarm of enthusiastic attendees is half comprised of engaging, optimistic college students. Very encouraging, to say the least. Today's CPAC also attracts 90 co-sponsoring organizations.

Highlights on Day 1 from the historic Omni Shoreham Hotel:

Paul Ryan, 38, is a gifted and forceful speaker, both eloquent and entertaining. His home run line today was that "without enduring (Conservative) principals, we get change but no direction."

Ryan urged Conservatives not to "erect roadblocks" merely to deter the Obama administration but to "create roadmaps" that can lead our nation away from the Marxist threat we face in 2009.

Learn more about Ryan's vision at AmericanRoadmap.org.

No one was on top of his game more than the former U.S. representative to the United Nations, John Bolton, who used his dry one-liners and searing criticism -- both of Presidents Bush and Obama -- to inspire repeated applause and cheers from audience of more than 8,000 attendees.

"The (global) challenges we face may be more than this (Obama) administration can handle," Bolton said. "But the good news is, if (Conservatives) get our acts together, he is a one-termer!"

Bolton wasn't through. "On foreign policy, I don't think President Obama thinks it's a priority. ... (But) a threat to the safety of any American is a threat to our nation. A President who doesn't understand that has a lot to learn."

Turning to Iran, Bolton acknowledged that there are unfortunate parallels between Bush and Obama on the refusal of the United States to confront Iran's military and nuclear ambitions.

Iran's determination to develop weapons of mass destruction is not motivated "by an abstract interest in astrophysics," he said. Bolton fears future military responses to Iran will be left to Israel because "you can count on (the Obama administration) NOT to use force against Iran."

Ohio's Blackwell appeared on a panel entitled, "Al Franken and ACORN: How Liberals are Destroying the American Election System". If the public tuned into even half of what has been done and is on tap to hijack the integrity of free elections, there would be revolt that would cross party lines.

Putting aside spending he proposes, President B. Hussein Obama is leading "the greatest realignment of political power ... ever witnessed," pointing to liberal agendas on six fronts: "card check" intrusions on union workers; censorship of talk radio and other mediums; blanket amnesty proposals for 12 million+ illegal immigrants; universal same-day voter registration; the packing of federal courts with liberal activist judges at the appellate level; and the hijacking of the U.S. Census.

"Taken collectively, you can begin to see the game plan," Blackwell said. "It is a battle of the nature of the relationship to our government as individuals, and the nature of our culture. This is a battle cry."

Indiana's charismatic Congressman Pence crystallized the undeterred resolve of the thousands who converged on the largest CPAC in history.

"We are on the brink of a great American awakening," Pence said. "And it will be Conservatives who will lead it. Beginning right here (in 2009)."

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