POLITICS
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Conservatives Revel In Obama's Failures, Grow Optimistic About 2010

A host of conservative politicos and media personalities insisted this weekend that the forthcoming congressional elections would be a repeat of the sweeping victories Republicans enjoyed in the 1994 midterm elections.

Urging a crowd of like-minded activists to approach the 2010 campaign with "revolutionary" zeal, one popular talk radio personality went so far as to suggest that the time had come to either alter or abolish Obama-style governance.

"Last year, you heard me recite the first part of the Declaration of Independence without a teleprompter," said Herman Cain, the Georgia-based talk-show host and occasional Fox News contributor. "This year I would like to begin my speech by reciting the second paragraph without teleprompter: 'When any form of government becomes destructive of those ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it!.'

The crowd showed its approval with a roaring ovation.

"It is our right to alter or abolish it," Cain repeated. "We have a lot of that to do."

The Defending the American Dream Summit that took place this past weekend in Crystal City, Virginia, was a chance for conservatives to both revel in the damage they've inflicted to the Obama agenda and plot a path forward for reclaiming electoral power.

A host of prominent figures spoke at the event, which was sponsored by the group American's for Prosperity -- one of the main outfits behind the tea party protests and health care town hall disruptions. And beneath the abject paranoia over the policies being pursued by the current administration was a hint of emerging confidence that the political tides are turning.

"The socialist wing of the Democratic Party is going to lead the Democratic Party to a massive defeat comparable to 1994," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich declared defiantly to lead off the Saturday morning event. "We are at one of the great educational, learning moments in American history -- that's what happened in 1977."

Organizers stressed that the forum -- which attracted roughly 2,000 people from around the country -- was a reflection of a rebirth of conservatism and not merely a backlash against the new president. But it was clear that the crowd felt more comfortable in the role of political opposition than that of policy theorist. There was little talk of a conservative platform around which to build a movement though some attendees discussed medical malpractice reform or a flat or fair tax. And Wall Street Journal columnist Stephen Moore received a resounding applause when he called global warming "the greatest hoax of the last century."

"The earth is not getting warmer," he said. "It is getting cooler."

The biggest ovation may have come for Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) whose stated goal of drawing blood from the president on health care reform has made him a revered figure among the base.

"We are in a real difficult battle down the street," the South Carolina Republican said, in reference to congressional debate over reform. "But when I walked in here this morning and I peaked out from behind the curtains and I saw you sitting here and I thought the cavalry has come to town."

"We know in this room that when the government says 'Yes We Can' we need to stand up and say 'No You Can't,'" DeMint added.

All of which positively tickled the crowd. Exalting in Obama's failures was the defining mood of the weekend - punctuated when a room of attendees was filmed cheering news that the president had been unable to secure the Olympic games for his home city of Chicago.

"I would have loved for Chicago to have won," Gingrich elaborated a day later. "Chicago is a great city. It would be terrific to have the Olympics here. But you can't try to lead the world at the spur of the moment, change their mind at the last minute, rushing in and thinking that smiling and oratory is a substitute for work and preparation."

And yet, the cautious confidence within the halls was also palpable. When Moore referred to the audience as "the real second American revolution" it roared in approval. When Gingrich compared the political climate to the Republican Revolution he led 15 years ago, they were even louder. And when Cain promised to show the political word "some crazy" in "November of 2010" the noise was nearly deafening.

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