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Conservatives' ‘Creative Tension’ Spurs Debate, Enlivens CPAC 2014

( [email protected] ) Mar 10, 2014 12:08 PM EDT
Conservatives discuss everything from God to gun control, Benghazi to bridges in Jersey at annual conference.
Conservative pundit, television personality and former V.P. candidate Sarah Palin speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord International Hotel on March 8, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

The annual Conservative Political Action Conference ended over the weekend as thousands of conservatives cheered on former Alaskan Governor and Republican vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin, who closed by humorously bashing everything from the Obama administrations struggling Health Care plan to the NSA surveillance scandal. She even made a Dr. Seuss reference, playing off Texas Senator Ted Cruz's famous filibuster from last year.

The three day event held in Washington, was a looking glass into growing political debates regarding many national issues, and allowed conservatives an opportunity to focus on their political agenda. There were clearly many issues for the party to work through.

"CPAC doesn't make any pretension of speaking for the party, but we're seeing these fluid debates and there is no clear consensus," former Republican Tennessee Senator said. "The attitude here is: Let a thousand flowers bloom."

Others, like last elections Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Paul Ryan saw a familial bond among conservatives and seemed to relish the discussions and debates within his ranks. He focused on how the creative tension could move the part forward to the coming election.

"What I see is a vibrant debate," Ryan said. "We're figuring out the best way to apply our principles to the challenges of the day. Sure, we have our disagreements, and yes, it can get a little passionate. I like to think of it as creative tension. For the most part, these disagreements have not been over principles or even policies. They've been over tactics. So I think we should give each other the benefit of the doubt."

A number of issues did come up during the conference, and many notable speakers took the stage. Besides those mentioned already, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul gave a speech where he concentrated on the restrictions of privacy and freedom, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called on the party to champion their good ideas.

"We gotta start talking about what we're for and not what we're against," Christie said. "Our ideas are better than their ideas and that's what we have to stand up for."

Former Presidential hopeful and Republican Georgia Senator Newt Gingrich backed up this sentiment.

We must stop being the opposition movement and we must become the alternative government movement," Gingrich said.

Gingrich also put his tongue in his cheek and defended the President during his speech.

"I believe he can be as ineffective in Key Largo as he was in the White House." Gingrich said, regarding the ongoing stand-off with Russia in the Ukraine

Every year the conference holds a straw poll and for the second year in a row, Rand Paul brought home the victory. He took 31% among voters, followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz with 11%.

"I am grateful to all the attendees who stood with me," Paul said. "The fight for liberty continues."