CPAC Chicago, Part 4: Joe Walsh, Randy Hultgren, Straw Poll Results

Finally, in part four we’ll hear from two solid Illinois Congressmen, the 8th District’s Joe Walsh and Randy Hultgren of the 14th. We’ll also hear the, perhaps not startling results of the straw poll, the most important question from which was who Romney should pick for his vice presidential candidate (hint, the top picks weren’t any of his one-time rivals for the nomination).

Congressman Joe Walsh

Rep. Joe Walsh gins up the crowd

Joe Walsh of the Illinois 8th District is the one Congressman that the left wants to eliminate more than any other Republican Congressman. This is because Joe has carved out from among his fellows an outsized voice for conservatism. He appears regularly on TV and radio to tout the conservative message. But he’s become a major target of Democrat redistricting and now faces a tough challenge to be reelected in his newly reconfigured 8th District. Me, I think he can easily beat the know-nothing candidate the Democrats have put up against him, but Joe is taking nothing for granted.

One thing is sure, though, Joe Walsh knows how to get a conservative audience in motion.

Now, in the past, Joe was known to give some stemwinder speeches. But of late he has honed his message to a high energy, impassioned, and shorter, address. This CPAC speech was no different. It was to the point and full of passion.

Joe started with “a question” and ended with “a homework assignment.”

“What are you prepared to do to save this country for your kids and your grandkids?”

“We’re in trouble right now,” Walsh insisted. We have “a government that interferes with everything we do,” he said, and “we’re losing freedoms everyday.”

But Walsh was not prepared to just blame the Democrats. He had some blame to spread on Republicans, too. While many Democrats are a lost cause, too many Republicans, Walsh said, “have lost their way.”

But, “if you think this is just an election, we’ve already lost,” he warned. “This is the next stop in our mission to save our country.”

For his “homework assignment,” Walsh wanted each CPAC participant to go home and write a letter apologizing to their grandkids — or those children yet to be born — for having left them a country that future generations had to struggle to continue. He wanted today’s generation to apologize for the mess we are leaving. He noted that soon it might be that a son or grandson will make $200,000 a year salary only to find that half of it is taken by government.

On the other hand, Walsh hoped that the letter would be greeted with humor at some point in the future. “Let’s hope that the letter will make them smile because MAYBE we can stop this,” he said.

Walsh concluded by urging everyone to get out and vote for conservative values before it is too late, before that letter is taken in the worst light in the not too distant future.

Congressman Randy Hultgren

Randy Hultgren is another Illinois Republican Congressman, this time from the 14th district. He’s a solid Republican vote and a workman-like politician. His short speech at CPAC was well crafted and filled with hope.

Hultgren, though, was chagrined by being from a state that is the punch line to every bad joke. “Welcome to the People’s republic of Illinois,” he said annoyed.

It was bad enough being from a state where liberals ruled by the idea that all one need do to fix everything is raise taxes. But “worse, we are surrounded by states that promote market-based solutions and our businesses are fleeing Illinois.”

Worse yet, these failed policy ideas have been taken by the President from Illinois to the White House, Hultgren said.

We need to fight this administration, get Obama out of office and replace him with Romney, Hultgren assured us. “The key to happiness is earned success, he said, not the “learned helplessness” taught by liberals.

“My high point as a freshman congressman was the day we got to vote to fire Nancy Pelosi,” Hultgren beamed. But he thinks that this won;t be the last liberal turned from power. “A vast majority of Americans agree with us,” he told us. “Now is our time to fight for liberty and freedom,” he concluded.

Kansas Representative Tim Huelskamp

Rep. Huelskamp also came to our media room for some Q&A. John Ruberry of Marathonpundit got this video.

Straw Poll Results

There were several questions on the straw poll and few of them offered any surprises on the final tally. Almost not one agreed that President Obama was doing a good job and even fewer agreed that the Democrats in congress were doing a good job. Not surprising for a conservative audience.

Closer was the split over whether or not the GOP was doing a good job. I cannot tell you with precision what the result was, but it was something like 40 some percent thought the GOP was doing a good job.

But the real question, the one everyone was interested in, was who should be picked by Romney as his VP?

The final breakdown on VP picks was as follows

    Marco Rubio = 30%

  • Chris Christie = 14%
  • Paul Ryan = 9%
  • Rand Paul = 8%
  • Bobby Jindal = 7%
  • Rick Santorum = 5%
  • Herman Cain = 3%
  • Mitch Daniels = 3%
  • Michele Bachmann = 2%
  • Allen West = 2%
  • Rob Portman = 2%
  • John Kasich = 2%
  • Scott Walker = 2%
  • Other (received less than 2%)= 12%

It was a very good event. I hope we see more Midwest CPACs in the future.

CPAC Chicago Coverage

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CPAC Chicago, Part 3: Bobby Jindal, Peter Roskam, Michele Bachman