Someone at Fox posted these yesterday, so I’ll pass them along.

And here’s the text.

First off, even absent any other source material, it sounds to me like the place is packed with McCain supporters. But add some of the reports I have heard from last night… Steyn for example…

I’d say McCain definitely papered the house. I arrived at CPAC just before Mitt began to speak and was struck by the number of young student-ish types milling about in McCain T-shirts. While my minder went off to check her coat, I was loafing around the lobby, heard a conversation in Spanish, and noticed it was three of the McCain T-shirted students. Which struck me as odd: you don’t hear a lot of Spanish at CPAC.Almost all of the visible McCainiacs had left the hotel by about 20 minutes after he finished speaking.

… and it seems clear that the reactions of support from the crowd were mostly from people placed there by the McCain campaign to create the appearence that McCain was being well received. Quips Steyn: Think of it as McCain’s second surge. He increased troop strength to the levels he needed, and he got away with it – at least as far as TV coverage was concerned. Things would have gone differently without them. For my own speech, in an unpapered room, the despondency over the way this primary season has gone was palpable.

Yeah, no kidding. OK, that McCain stacked the deck and the fact that he felt he NEEDED to stack the deck… both those facts aside, let’s get into the text, and my comments:

Thank you. Thank you for inviting me. It’s been a little while since I’ve had the honor of addressing you, and I appreciate very much your courtesy to me today. We should do this more often. I hope you will pardon my absence last year, and understand that I intended no personal insult to any of you.

Sure you didn’t. You obviously felt your showing up there wouldn’t help your path to power. How else are we supposed to take it, John?

I was merely pre-occupied with the business of trying to escape the distinction of pre-season frontrunner for the Republican nomination, which, I’m sure some of you observed, I managed to do in fairly short order. But, now, I again have the privilege of that distinction, and this time I would prefer to hold on to it for a while.

Funny thing; That’s a distinction most of the people who were there and are actually conservatives didn’t think you deserve, and likley still don’t.  Better, that’s also why you didn’t show last time.

I know I have a responsibility, if I am, as I hope to be, the Republican nominee for President, to unite the party and prepare for the great contest in November. And I am acutely aware that I cannot succeed in that endeavor, nor can our party prevail over the challenge we will face from either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama, without the support of dedicated conservatives, whose convictions, creativity and energy have been indispensible to the success our party has had over the last quarter century.

Lick, Lick, Lick.

Many of you have disagreed strongly with some positions I have taken in recent years. I understand that. I might not agree with it, but I respect it for the principled position it is.

“Respect” is a funny thing, John. It’s generally not marked by insults and a few rounds of the four letter serenade. It’s a little odd how you mark ‘Respect”.

And it is my sincere hope that even if you believe I have occasionally erred in my reasoning as a fellow conservative, you will still allow that I have, in many ways important to all of us, maintained the record of a conservative. Further, I hope you will grant that I have defended many positions we share just as ardently as I have made my case for positions that have provoked your opposition. If not, thank you for this opportunity to make my case today.

No, John, you see, that’s just it. You’ve been more often wrong… often enough that you ahve not maintained the record of a conservative.  Hence your current tounge action trying to be forgiven.

I am proud to be a conservative, and I make that claim because I share with you that most basic of conservative principles: that liberty is a right conferred by our Creator, not by governments, and that the proper object of justice and the rule of law in our country is not to aggregate power to the state but to protect the liberty and property of its citizens. And like you, I understand, as Edmund Burke observed, that “whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither . . . is safe.”

Now, that is rich. The author of McCain -Feingold, likley the biggest limit on free speech since this country was founded, quoting Burke, and talking about liberty. It’s breathtaking in it’s cheek, I’ll give it that.

While I have long worked to help grow a public majority of support for Republican candidates and principles, I have also always believed, like you, in the wisdom of Ronald Reagan, who warned in an address to this conference in 1975, that “a political party cannot be all things to all people.

Yes, but we’ll give you solid points for your attempts, John. You’ve been leaning left for years, while trying to pass yourself off as a conservative.  If that’s not playing both sides of the street and being all things to all people… or trying to… I don’t know what is.

It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency or simply to swell its numbers.”

Aha. So…. you DO understand our objection to you.

I attended my first CPAC conference as the invited guest of Ronald Reagan, not long after I had returned from overseas, when I heard him deliver his “shining city upon a hill” speech. I was still a naval officer then, but his words inspired and helped form my own political views, just as Ronald Reagan’s defense of America’s cause in Vietnam and his evident concern for American prisoners of war in that conflict inspired and were a great comfort to those of us who, in my friend Jerry Denton’s words, had the honor of serving “our country under difficult circumstances.” I am proud, very proud, to have come to public office as a foot soldier in the Reagan Revolution.

Full marks for cheek, JOhn, but I have to tell you… Given what you’ve done since, that attachment that affectation, is an affront to me, and to anyone who values what Reagan did for this country.

And if a few of my positions have raised your concern that I have forgotten my political heritage…

Actually, most of them have, John. Most of them.

…. I want to assure you that I have not, and I am as proud of that association today as I was then. My record in public office taken as a whole is the record of a mainstream conservative.

No, it decidedly is not. It is the record of someone who attaches himself to conservatives as a matter of expediency, not of principle.

I believe today, as I believed twenty-five years ago, in small government; fiscal discipline; low taxes; a strong defense, judges who enforce, and not make, our laws; the social values that are the true source of our strength; and, generally, the steadfast defense of our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which I have defended my entire career as God-given to the born and unborn.

Those are my beliefs, and you need not examine only my past votes and speeches to assure yourselves that they are my genuine convictions. You can take added confidence from the positions I have defended during this campaign. I campaigned in Iowa in opposition to agriculture subsidies. I campaigned in New Hampshire against big government mandated health care and for a free market solution to the problem of unavailable and unaffordable health care. I campaigned in Michigan for the tax incentives and trade policies that will create new and better jobs in that economically troubled state. I campaigned in Florida against the national catastrophic insurance fund bill that passed the House of Representatives and defended my opposition to the prescription drug benefit bill that saddled Americans with yet another hugely expensive entitlement program.

That’s just it, John… we HAVE looked over your record and found it wanting. Admittedly, you’ve gotten a few things right, but only because of the political pressure being brought by conservative groups… you know… real conservatives, which you are not. Absent such pressure, your wind-finger would have had you supporting the socialist programs you now take credit for opposing.

I have argued to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, to reduce the corporate tax rate and abolish the AMT. I have defended my position on protecting our Second Amendment rights, including my votes against waiting periods, bans on the so-called “assault weapons,” and illegitimate lawsuits targeting gun manufacturers. I have proudly defended my twenty-four year pro-life record. Throughout this campaign, I have defended the President’s brave decision to increase troop levels in Iraq to execute a long overdue counterinsurgency that has spared us the terrible calamity of losing that war. I held these positions because I believed they were in the best interests of my party and country.”

Again, because of huge pressure from conservatives, not because of any bedrock conservative values that you now claim to hold.

Surely, I have held other positions that have not met with widespread agreement from conservatives. I won’t pretend otherwise nor would you permit me to forget it.

You’re damned right, we won’t.

And, stop calling me Shirley.

. On the issue of illegal immigration, a position which provoked the outspoken opposition of many conservatives, I stood my ground aware that my position would imperil my campaign. I respect your opposition for I know that the vast majority of critics to the bill based their opposition in a principled defense of the rule of law. And while I and other Republican supporters of the bill were genuine in our intention to restore control of our borders, we failed, for various and understandable reasons, to convince Americans that we were.  I accept that, and have pledged that it would be among my highest priorities to secure our borders first, and only after we achieved widespread consensus that our borders are secure, would we address other aspects of the problem in a way that defends the rule of law and does not encourage another wave of illegal immigration.

Mostly, you weren’t interested in securing the border… somehting even the people in your home state see quite clearly….  And that issue and your shift of stated position is a prime example of how the only way you go into your ‘strong conservative beliefs’ is when pressured by real conservatives and threatened with a loss of your current position of power.

All I ask of any American, conservative, moderate, independent, or enlightened Democrat, is to judge my record as a whole

We have. Your record stinks, John.. The issue before us now is if someone like you will do less damage than Hillary Clinton or Barrack Obama to the conservative cause and thereby, the country. That question in my view and the view of many, is still and open one.

and accept that I am not in the habit of making promises to my country that I do not intend to keep. I hope I have proven that in my life even to my critics. Then vote for or against me based on that record, my qualifications for the office, and the direction where I plainly state I intend to lead our country. If I am so fortunate as to be the Republican nominee for President, I will offer Americans, in what will be a very challenging and spirited contest, a clearly conservative approach to governing. I will make my case to voters, no matter what state they reside in, in the same way. I will not obscure my positions from voters who I fear might not share them. I will stand on my convictions, my conservative convictions, and trust in the good sense of the voters, and in my confidence that conservative pr inciples still appeal to a majority of Americans, Republicans, Independents and Reagan Democrats.

John, don’t make the mistake of saying that the support of leftists today equals a vote for you from those same liberals in November. The fact remains they support you now because they see you as the easy one to beat in November.

Often elections in this country are fought within the margins of small differences. This one will not be.

Oh, yes, it will.  The domestic policy differences between you and either Democrat… absent serious pressure on you from conservative groups like CPAC, and conservative blogs and talkradio, are small enough not to matter. Your only strongpoint, in the view of most conservatives is the war on terror.

We are arguing about hugely consequential things. Whomever the Democrats nominate, they would govern this country in a way that will, in my opinion, take this country backward to the days when government felt empowered to take from us our freedom to decide for ourselves the course and quality of our lives; to substitute the muddled judgment of large and expanding federal bureaucracies for the common sense and values of the American people; to the timidity and wishful thinking of a time when we averted our eyes from terrible threats to our security that were so plainly gathering strength abroad. It is shameful and dangerous that Senate Democrats are blocking an extension of surveillance powers that enable our intelligence and law enforcement to defend our country against radical Islamic extremists. This election is going to be about big things, not small things. And I intend to fight as hard as I can to ensure that our principles prevail over theirs.

Senator Clinton and Senator Obama want to increase the size of the federal government.

I intend to reduce it. I will not sign a bill with earmarks in it, any earmarks in it. I will fight for the line item veto, and I will not permit any expansion whatsoever of the entitlement programs that are bankrupting us. On the contrary, I intend to reform those programs so that government is no longer in that habit of making promises to Americans it does not have the means to keep.

Senator Clinton and Senator Obama will raise your taxes.

I intend to cut them. I will start by making the Bush tax cuts permanent. I will cut corporate tax rates from 35 to 25% to keep industries and jobs in this country. I will end the Alternate Minimum Tax. And I won’t let a Democratic Congress raise your taxes and choke the growth of our economy.

Deja-Pooh, Senator. I’ve heard this crap before. For example when Bubba promised stuff like this, the promise was broken before the door closed from Bubba entering the oval office. If you keep these promises, particularly with a Democrat Congress, I will be amazed.

They will offer a big government solution to health care insurance coverage.

I intend to address the problem with free market solutions and with respect for the freedom of individuals to make important choices for themselves.

Free market? You mean like eliminating Medicare? See what I mean about not being driven by principle, Senator?

They will appoint to the federal bench judges who are intent on achieving political changes that the American people cannot be convinced to accept through the election of their representatives.

I intend to nominate judges who have proven themselves worthy of our trust that they take as their sole responsibility the enforcement of laws made by the people’s elected representatives, judges of the character and quality of Justices Roberts and Alito, judges who can be relied upon to respect the values of the people whose rights, laws and property they are sworn to defend.

Funny, that wasn’t your attitude a few months ago.

Senator Clinton and Senator Obama will withdraw our forces from Iraq based on an arbitrary timetable designed for the sake of political expediency, and which recklessly ignores the profound human calamity and dire threats to our security that would ensue.

Actually, they’;ve been playing a game you know pretty well… they’ve been playing both sides of that sisue for some months now… and in no case have they ever stated they were working on a timetable basis…. neither one of them.  That’s not a defense of them…. (I suppose and expect they’d not have the gut to admit it if they did want to impose such a timeline… but let’s be honest enough to say that nobody, even Democrats… wants to be tagged with having lost a war. ) Where is your evidence for this statement, John?

I intend to win the war, and trust in the proven judgment of our commanders there and the courage and selflessness of the Americans they have the honor to command. I share the grief over the terrible losses we have suffered in its prosecution. There is no other candidate for this office who appreciates more than I do just how awful war is. But I know that the costs in lives and treasure we would incur should we fail in Iraq will be far greater than the heartbreaking losses we have suffered to date. And I will not allow that to happen.

As I recall it was President Bush’s intent to win the war… and that of his commanders, including Rumsfled, whom you were quite willing to attack when it was fashionable to do so, and thus gave comfort to our enemy.

They won’t recognize and seriously address the threat posed by an Iran with nuclear ambitions to our ally, Israel, and the region.

I intend to make unmistakably clear to Iran we will not permit a government that espouses the destruction of the State of Israel as its fondest wish and pledges undying enmity to the United States to possess the weapons to advance their malevolent ambitions.

One of the few positives.

Senator Clinton and Senator Obama will concede to our critics that our own actions to defend against its threats are responsible for fomenting the terrible evil of radical Islamic extremism, and their resolve to combat it will be as flawed as their judgment.

Yes, well, so were you, Senator… as I recall, you called it ‘torture’ and were loudly critical about it, thus giving aid and comfort to our enemy.

I intend to defeat that threat by staying on offense and by marshaling every relevant agency of our government, and our allies, in the urgent necessity of defending the values, virtues and security of free people against those who despise all that is good about us.

This would be a nice change, if we can get you to stick to your word on the subject, and not go marching off down ‘Maverick Lane’ as you have so often in the past.

These are but a few of the differences that will define this election. They are very significant differences, and I promise you, I intend to contest these issues on conservative grounds and fight as hard as I can to defend the principles and positions we share, and to keep this country safe, proud, prosperous and free.

We have had a few disagreements, and none of us will pretend that we won’t continue to have a few.

Oh, gee… there’s a reason to vote you into office. You’re going to have power and will be working against us.

But even in disagreement, especially in disagreement, I will seek the counsel of my fellow conservatives. If I am convinced my judgment is in error, I will correct it.

First off, that’s not been your record, John, with the notable exception of illegal immigration.. an issue that came up only after you’d already decided to run for POTUS. Your ‘consulting’ ended up being beat about the head and shoulders with a nailed baseball bat by conservative groups. Gonna be a fun four years f we have to do that, all the time.  And what assurances can we get from you that you would even respond to such pressure, once in office, when you have no further worries about gaining votes from conservatives?

Secondly, that there end up being such disagreements tells me all I need to know about your dedication to conservative principle.  If you were driven, in your choices by actual conservative principle, such disagreements wouldn’t exist. Your choices wouldn’t be causing such disagreements.

And if I stand by my position, even after benefit of your counsel, I hope you will not lose sight of the far more numerous occasions when we are in complete accord.

Nice try, John. No sale.

I began by assuring you that we share a conception of liberty that is the bedrock of our beliefs as conservatives. As you know, I was deprived of liberty for a time in my life, and while my love of liberty is no greater than yours, you can be confident that mine is the equal of any American’s. It is a deep and unwavering love. My life experiences in service to our country inform my political judgments.They are at the core of my convictions.

And they make your attitudes about the treatment of terrorists, suspect at least.

And by the way, John… You been talking to Kerry about the political value of having ‘served in Vietnam’? Don’t go changing your name, like he did, OK?

I am pro-life and an advocate for the Rights of Man everywhere in the world because of them, because I know that to be denied liberty is an offense to nature and nature’s Creator. I will never waver in that conviction, I promise you. I know in this country our liberty will not be seized in a political revolution or by a totalitarian government. But, rather, as Burke warned, it can be “nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts.” I am alert to that risk and will defend against it, and ta ke comfort from the knowledge that I will be encouraged in that defense by my fellow conservatives.

Again, an interesting statement coming from an author of what is likely the biggest affront to free speech ever devised in this country: McCain-Fiengold.. and invoking Burke no less in the doing. Inaccurate, but I’ll give you full marks for cheek, John.

You have heard me say before that for all my reputation as a maverick, I have only found true happiness in serving a cause greater than my self-interest. For me, that cause has always been our country, and the ideals that have made us great. I have been her imperfect servant for many years, and I have made many mistakes. You can attest to that, but need not. For I know them well myself. But I love her deeply and I will never, never tire of the honor of serving her. I cannot do that without your counsel and support. And I am grateful, very grateful, that you have given me this opportunity to ask for it.

Thank you and God bless you.

Lick, Lick, Lick.

I begged you …BEGGED you… to convince me, John, and you failed. Have you anything else to offer?

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