When it opens next week, this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference aims to inspire conservatives with a theme drawn from the words of President Ronald Reagan: “Our Time Is Now.”
“With everything that is going on in the world, our focus as a country is really on all the wrong things,” Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, organizer of CPAC, said in an interview on “The Glenn Beck Program.”
“But I continue to be hopeful,” Schlapp said. “And that’s why we have this Ronald Reagan quote as our theme for our CPAC conference.”
Running from March 2 through 5 just outside Washington, D.C., CPAC offers conservatives across the country an opportunity to gather with fellow activists and leaders for four days of speeches, panels, exhibits, and other activities.
This year’s theme quotes Reagan’s address to the conference on March 20, 1981, his second month in office, when he told the audience: “Our time is now. Our moment has arrived.” The nation’s 40th president added:
We stand together shoulder to shoulder in the thickest of the fight. If we carry the day and turn the tide, we can hope that as long as men speak of freedom and those who have protected it, they will remember us, and they will say, “Here were the brave and here their place of honor.”
The American Conservative Union, in a statement to Breitbart News, said the use of Reagan’s words builds on last year’s CPAC theme, “Conservative Action Starts Here.” The point is “urging the people we trained and activated at CPAC to help restore the ideas and ideals of our nation’s founding.”
Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, a former Republican senator from South Carolina, struck a similar note in his 2014 address at CPAC:
The only way for us to change our government is for we the people to remember that the solutions to America’s problems will not come from Washington, but from the little platoons all around us that must be freed from the one-size-fits-all federal government straightjacket.
Americans will unite around core ideas of our founding and our success. You know them: the ideas of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional values, a strong national defense. These are the conservative ideas that built a strong America and can once again unite us.
CPAC again seeks to unite conservatives through a one-day “Activism Boot Camp” followed by three days of programming designed to bring together elected and other leaders with grassroots activists, including college students.
Among scheduled speakers are Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio; author Gordon Chang; actress Stacey Dash; and television and radio personalities Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.
The conference again will take place at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at Maryland’s National Harbor.