Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) delivered the keynote address on Saturday night at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference.
Topics discussed in West's speech encompassed a wide range. From the state of nation's economy and federal budget to social issues, the congressman covered a lot of ground. He stressed the importance of adhering to conservative principles while also taking time to criticize Democrats.
"Liberal progressivism evolved after our Constitution," explained West to his audience. "It has repeatedly failed all over the world so why do we think it could be successful here in the United States of America?"
The GOP lawmaker derided "hostile attacks from the liberal left, such as being called racist." He added, "Perhaps they should see who is standing up here as your keynote speaker." Hotline on Call reports:
West said he'd been named Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person In the World" five times, "and he got fired for it," as loud cheers erupted over the liberal MSNBC host's departure last month.
West said conservatives are readying for "a new dawn of America."
The St. Petersburg Times reports:
The South Florida Republican blasted the health care law, said the U.S. has to strengthen its foreign policy and get out of the way of the private sector, accused China of using capitalism "as a weapon against us," and warned about allowing multiculturalism to "grow on steroids" and overshadow "definitive American culture."
West asked members of the conservative crowd if they believe the country "can survive as a bureaucratic nanny state." After some in the audience shouted "no," he added, "The framers of our Constitution, they had one true intent... to put a restraining order on big government."
As for social issues, the Republican congressman clearly defined where he stands. Speaking out against marriage equality, he stressed, "We cannot allow the destruction of the American family." The Hill reports that in addressing abortion rights he said, "I do not believe having a baby is punishment."
According to the National Journal, West said before his speech he planned to "[challenge] conservatives to reaffirm their commitments to the fundamental principles of what we believe."
The freshman congressman, who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives last November with support from the Tea Party movement, took to Twitter earlier this week to announce he had landed the coveted speaking role.
"Congressman West epitomizes the core conservative values CPAC attendees treasure: a basic belief in human freedom, traditional values, and a love of country based on an appreciation of the nation's founding documents," said CPAC organizer David Keene, who stepped down as Chairman of the American Conservative Union earlier this week. "We at CPAC watched with excitement last year as one our own, Congressman West, won one of the most important Congressional races in the country and conveyed his conservative beliefs to Washington. His fulsome efforts on conservative issues important to his constituents and his thoughtful leadership among the newest Members of the U.S. House make him the perfect keynote speaker for this year's conference."
Last month, West was sworn in as the first Republican member of the Congressional Black Caucus in more than a decade. The AP reported at the time:
...West pushed for membership, saying he wants to try to steer the group away from what he calls failed social welfare programs and big-government solutions.
A strident conservative, West is the first Republican to join the caucus since Rep. Gary Franks of Connecticut lost his seat in 1997.
Since breaking onto the political scene, West has been no stranger to stirring controversy. The conservative congressman recently spoke to Florida-based station WPTV about his new life on Capitol Hill.
"For whatever reason, I'm a high profile freshman and the liberal left is absolutely terrified of me," he told the local outlet. "One thing you should never do is let a military man know he gets under your skin, cause I'm gonna exploit that."
Here's a clip of the speech West delivered at CPAC on Saturday:
Here's the statement released by the American Conservative Union Foundation earlier this week announcing that West would deliver this year's CPAC keynote speech:
WASHINGTON D.C. -- The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), a project of the American Conservative Union Foundation (ACUF) and consistently the largest annual gathering of conservatives in the country, announced today that a rising star in a new era of conservatism, Congressman Allen West, will deliver the keynote address at this year's conference.
"Congressman West epitomizes the core conservative values CPAC attendees treasure: a basic belief in human freedom, traditional values, and a love of country based on an appreciation of the nation's founding documents," said ACU Chair David A. Keene. "We at CPAC watched with excitement last year as one our own, Congressman West, won one of the most important Congressional races in the country and conveyed his conservative beliefs to Washington. His fulsome efforts on conservative issues important to his constituents and his thoughtful leadership among the newest Members of the U.S. House make him the perfect keynote speaker for this year's conference."
Congressman West's history with CPAC is legend. After a lifetime of service to his country in the military, he first attended the 2009 CPAC as a concerned citizen. Quickly identified as a powerful conservative mind, he was invited in 2010 to address the conference, delivering a powerful speech that catapulted him as a thoughtful icon of the conservative movement. This year he returns to CPAC to deliver the keynote address and discuss the future of conservatism.
The ACU is the nation's oldest and largest grassroots conservative organization. The American Conservative Union Foundation's annual CPAC meeting is the largest gathering of conservatives annually. Testifying to the exponential growth of the conservative movement, this year's conference is on-track to be the most highly attended in its decades-long history with fifteen percent more attendees than last year and twice as many exhibitors. With forty percent of registrants being first time attendees, this year's CPAC will emphasize the development of a younger generation of conservatives.
For more information, please visit www.conservative.org.