Mike Lee to CPAC: Demand Good Conservative Candidates

Washington, DC

In his 2016 CPAC address, Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R) told his audience only a serious “principled, positive, proven” conservative candidate can win the general election.

Principled means “being conservative every single day, not just during the campaign,” said Lee,  adding that a principled conservative doesn’t “hide behind talking points.” At one point, Lee invoked Reagan’s call for a “robust debate,” yet also seemed to split with the former president. Lee made the point that the right conservative candidate for 2016 will engage moderates. In 1975, Reagan notably said at CPAC, “let them go their way.”

In terms of being positive, said Lee, it’s not enough to fight against what’s in front of you. “It’s about the kind of country we do want, not about the kind of government we don’t,” he said.

As for being proven, Lee called for a candidate who has both won elections and demonstrated they deserved to win after being in office. As for moderates, Lee said the right candidate can attract both conservatives and moderates, without alienating either.

Finally, Lee said, in terms of the Republican party selecting the right candidate to win in 2016, it’s more about what ‘we’ do now as individuals, as opposed to any candidate. “candidates take their cues from voters,” said Lee, calling on individuals to “expect more from our leaders and ourselves,” while not falling for “just a guy who can shout ‘freedom’ the loudest.”

Bad candidates are “not media’s fault, or the establishment’s fault,” said Lee, “it’s our fault.” Finally, he said, we need to “demand them to be good” candidates.

In a brief question and answer exchange, asked about voting for funding for the Department of Homeland Security given the ongoing debate in Congress, Lee said he would not vote to fund DHS given Barack Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty.

Watch (Q & A session):

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