CPAC 2017: 'We The People: Reclaiming America's Promise'

Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union which hosts the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, joined Glenn on radio today to talk about CPAC 2017, the difference between nationalism and conservatism, and the mind-boggling shift with liberals newfound love for the Constitution and federalism.

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

GLENN: I am honored to bring on the chairman of CPAC. Matt Schlapp. Matt is a guy who I think I told you a year or two ago, I had a kind of falling out with CPAC because it'll they were welcoming in a lot of people that were not necessarily good for the Constitution and didn't really like to have voices that pointed out that progressives can be Republicans as well.

Matt took over, I don't know, a couple of years ago and has really done a great job with CPAC. He invited me to speak last year. And they invited me to speak again this year. This year, I can't make it because of a prior commitment. We're on our way to Bangkok, the night that CPAC starts. Otherwise, I would be there. Because this is a really important CPAC.

The conservative movement has to really come together and decide who they are, what are the principles. What are our founding principles? And do they still mean anything?

Ted Cruz is going to be there. Sheriff David Clarke is going to be there. Matt Bevin. Oh, man. Jim DeMint. Mike Pence. Don't know if President Trump is going to be there yet. Matt Schlapp is joining us now. Hello, Matt, how are you?

MATT: Glenn, great to be with you?

GLENN: Good to be with you. Is President Trump coming?

MATT: You know, I'm hopeful that he'll come, but I can't say that we have confirmation yet.

GLENN: Okay. The theme -- you and I talked about a few weeks ago about the theme. Explain the theme of this year's CPAC.

MATT: We, the people, reclaiming America's promise. We feel like two things, number one, like you throughout the last decade, we've lost so much of what we want America to be and what America is supposed to be. And number two, we think that activists need to be reminded of the principles of our founding. And our executive director Dave Schneider makes every intern memorize the definition of what conservatism is from -- from a wide variety of viewpoints. And that definition, he believes is best said that conservatism is the philosophy that sovereignty resides in the individual.

It's amazing, such a basic term -- or basic concept, how far our government gets from that.

And so I know CPAC is fun. And I know people come to hear from great leaders like yourself, Glenn. And we were so pleased you could be there last year. And, you know, we were disappointed that the scheduling doesn't allow you to be here this year, but we want you to know we want you back. We want you back as often as you can. Because you have an important voice. People want to listen to those voices. But they also need to learn, and they also need to be sometimes reeducated, re-indoctrinated about why we were founded because so many of our institutions and, you know, mainstream leaders don't do that well.

GLENN: So, Matt, there is a -- there is a disturbing trend around the world towards nationalism. Can you explain the difference between nationalism and conservatism?

MATT: Yeah. Yeah. You know, conservative -- one of the things I thought you said great leading up to CPAC last year and in your remarks is, you know, you talked about this idea that there had been a pledge amongst the different Republican candidates. And you'll say it more eloquently than I will, Glenn, but you talked about the fact that we still pledge ourselves to a party, right? We pledge ourselves to our ideals. We make a commitment to our ideals.

And I think conservatism obviously is something innate in the human being. And so if sovereignty resides in the individual, I think it's important for people to understand who gave us that sovereignty, and that's our creator, obviously.

And so when people get pumped up on Americanism or nationalism -- I'm okay with those terms, as long as it means sovereignty and the understanding that we did come together to create a government and allow the government to have authority over us in certain areas because we've given it to them. I'm great with that concept of sovereignty.

GLENN: Yeah, if America doesn't mean the place -- you know, being pro-American doesn't mean the place. You know, I love the American flag.

Well, you know, I think it's nice. But I love what the flag stands for. I mean, America is an idea. And it's the idea that we should be holding high, not the things that represent the idea, but the actual idea.

MATT: Yeah, I completely agree with that. And, look, and I think we are trying to reacquaint ourselves politically with what these terms mean. Because I feel like there are so many Americans that feel abandoned. And that can lead to good things and bad things.

When you feel abandoned, it can have you reevaluate what you think and strengthen you and those things that are important. And it can also lead you to bad places. And, you know, our country is searching. And I'm confident that we're going to end up in the right place.

GLENN: So the Obamacare repeal. The -- I had a senator write me yesterday and say -- and he sent me a Politico article, and he said, "My gosh, this is frightening." And it was how the G.O.P. is turning on itself. And starting to eat its -- you know, eat its own. But there are real issues that are at stake here. You know, what -- are we playing -- are we playing games?

For instance, the G.O.P. that is turning against, you know, building the wall saying, "Look, we'll build the wall, but you got to pay for it first." How do you see this coming together, Matt?

MATT: Well, the legislative. Standing for borders, standing for Obamacare repeal, standing for free market health care in a rhetorical sense is the easy part, Glenn. You know that, right?

GLENN: Yeah.

MATT: The hard part is: How do you bring this together practically?

GLENN: And doing it constitutionally.

MATT: Right. Right. Whatever that means anymore.

GLENN: Right.

MATT: When the Constitution can mean almost anything. You know, it's almost like a throwaway line, when people say "constitutionally." But I know you don't mean that. But, I mean, in our society today, it's like we literally have to go back and read it to people and say, "And here's what those words mean." Right?

As you did last year in your speech at CPAC which was great. Because we have to make the old fresh again by reminding folks that all of these controversies actually surround the concepts that we're the reason that we disagreed to a Constitution. And so when you look at the practical nature of all of the things Donald Trump and the Republican candidates who ran for president and all those senators and congressmen ran on, now they're demonstrating, yes, we know as conservatives that they were right in what they said in eliminating -- in repealing Obamacare. Cutting taxes and getting rid of the regulatory state and appointing constitutionalists to the bench. But now we have to be practical and actually do it in a way that works.

We're not good at that, Glenn. So I don't want to be -- tell you that I think we have it licked and it's going to be easy. I think it's going to be really tough. And you get down to the point where, do you get 100 percent of what you want? Do you get 91 percent of what you want? Does the practical get you too far away from the principles that you are trying to uphold?

GLENN: Talking to Matt Schlapp. He's the head of CPAC. Which CPAC happens -- it's starting next Thursday, right?

MATT: Yeah, it's actually a week from today. Which, for those of us organizing, it is always a little scary, as you can imagine.

A week from today, Wednesday -- next Wednesday, we start with our boot camp, which is training for our activists. We always have about over 1,000 activists that come together on the first day of CPAC, that just simply learn to be better activists.

But you're right, the main program starts a week from tomorrow, the 23rd, and runs through Saturday, the 25th.

GLENN: Okay. So, Matt, have you noticed -- I've really tried to take a page from Milton Friedman who did this so well, where he would sit down and talk to anyone. I mean, he was a regular guest on The Phil Donahue Show for a while.

MATT: He was.

GLENN: And he could talk to anybody. And he was just this reasonable guy who stood by what he believed. I think there's a real opportunity now for conservatives to take this approach and ratchet things down because I'm shocked at the number of people on the left that are suddenly finding federalism as a really good idea.

(laughter)

MATT: You're right because they're seeing so much failure around them. Epic failure. And even they might be saying, "Hey, you know, maybe -- you know, most mayors in this country are Democrats now." You know, that's a real shift over the last 20 years. So maybe they like the idea that some of these mayors get to make some of these decisions.

Now, maybe that's not the way you or I or your listeners would view federalism. But anything we can do to get power and influence and money out of DC is a good thing. That being said, there's a lot of bad things that happen at state capitols.

GLENN: Yeah. What I'm looking at is this weird opportunity that I've never seen coming, where we have a lot in common with some not necessarily leftists, but Democrats, to where -- and, again, not the party. But people in the middle of the country are starting to say, look, I don't want to be afraid of the president. Right. Right. We should rebalance back to the Constitution.

MATT: That's right. Yeah, and separation of powers is the first doctrine, which talks more about the federal government.

GLENN: Right.

MATT: But also the concept of the Tenth Amendment, where so many of these authorities don't even belong here. How did they even get here? How did they get to DC? They don't belong here. And one of the things we're working on at ACU, is we love our conference, CPAC, but we're operational 365 days a year, and we have this great project called the Family Prosperity Index, which is run out of our C3. It's completely nonpartisan. And we're looking at the health of families in all 50 states. We rank all 50 states on the health of families.

And you know what we do, Glenn? We don't moralize or try to implement sermons into the public policy? We simply look at all the government data that comes out -- by the way, the government tracks us, as you know, in every conceivable way.

And we take in all that data and put it into an index so we can actually tell states, you know, if they're doing a good job with their families or not doing a good job with their families when it comes to public policy. And we've actually went to Rhode Island and talked to liberals who showed up. And they were shocked to know in Rhode Island, they spend about the most on their safety net programs, and the health of their families is about at the bottom of the pack. And even they were like, "Well, this is not what we want. We don't want unhealthy families in Rhode Island."

GLENN: Uh-huh.

MATT: So you're right. There's a huge opportunity to kind of break down these barriers.

GLENN: Matt Schlapp. CPAC, which begins next week, February 22nd through the 25th in Washington, DC.

MATT: That's right.

GLENN: You can get tickets at CPAC.org. I urge you to go. They have a great lineup this year. And I so appreciate, Matt, the invitation to join next year. If you have the dates, I'll put it on my calendar for next year.

MATT: Really -- we really want you there. We're sorry you can't be there this year, but you're a busy guy. We're all busy. You can't be at something every year. But we want you back next year.

GLENN: You got it.

MATT: We appreciate your voice. It's an important voice for the movement.

GLENN: Thank you very much, Matt. I appreciate it.

MATT: Thank you, Glenn.

GLENN: Grab your tickets at CPAC.org. And we'll be telling you beginning next week why we're going to Bangkok. But I'm going to Bangkok and the whole show is going. And we have something pretty aggressive that we want to announce. And we would ask for your help with. And we'll tell you more about that beginning next week. And then we leave for Bangkok -- is it Thursday we leave? I think we leave for Bangkok Thursday and we arrive maybe Tuesday. I mean, it's --

STU: It's actually --

GLENN: I've never gone to the other side of the earth.

STU: Yeah, that's really far. Really far.

JEFFY: Really far.

GLENN: Yeah, it's a long -- satellite is a lot easier.

STU: I was looking at one of the flights. I sorted for shortest time on Orbitz just to see what it was. It was 14 hours to Tokyo, then another seven hours to Bangkok.

PAT: That's only 21 hours.

STU: That's long.

PAT: It's not even a full day when you think about it.

GLENN: Right! Oh -- oh, cry me a river. You don't want to sit in the chair and watch TV for 21 hours. Actually, no, I don't.

PAT: No. But...

GLENN: No, I don't.

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.


It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.