Former Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), in an early morning speech at CPAC’s opening day festivities, delivered a fairly safe address, one that outlined his definition of conservatism.
The speech touched on the usual flash points: the conservative belief in limited government, charitable giving, problems with Obamacare, and a distrust of Washington, D.C., which West called “60 miles surrounded by reality."
He also discussed the importance of a strong national defense. “Real security comes from the marine corps and not the peace corps,” he declared.
These are standard bromides, offered up with strong rhetorical flair. They didn’t touch at all on his one term in Congress. Unencumbered by the restraints of public office, West could, ostensibly, have spoken more freely about that period of his life.
But he did touch on what it's like being a black conservative, which provided the speech’s most memorable line.
“There is nothing on this green earth that a liberal fears more than a black American who wants a better life and a smaller government,” West said.
Below, a liveblog of the latest updates from CPAC: