MSNBC's Rachel Maddow is attending the Conservative Political Action Conference this week and reporting back to the rest of the country on what she described Thursday as "the biggest single event on the conservative calendar that is not Ronald Reagan's birthday."
Maddow focused in particular on the numerous Republican politicians who showed up to woo conservative activists, noting wryly that "their courting of the CPAC audience today did not apparently extend to making sure that what they told that audience was true."
Former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 presidential hopeful Mitt Romney was a particular offender in Maddow's eyes, and she gleefully tore into his litany of lies and half-truths attacking the Obama administration.
In an attempt to turn the "Party of No" label that has clung to Republicans back against the Democrats, Romney proclaimed, "Let's ask the Obama folks why they say 'No.' No to a balanced budget. No to reforming entitlements. No to malpractice reform."
"Do you want to see President Obama saying 'No' to medical malpractice reform?" Maddow asked slyly. She then played a clip of Obama saying, "I don't believe malpractice reform is a silver bullet, but I've talked to enough doctors to know that defensive medicine may be contributing to unnecessary costs."
"No to tax cuts to create jobs," Romney went on.
"You know that giant stimulus package that had its one-year birthday yesterday?" Maddow responded. "That was also one of the biggest tax cuts in American history."
"Romney was not alone in his insults to his audience's intelligence today," continued Maddow, as she turned her focus to the charge by Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) that "the Democrats said no" to "fiscal integrity and discipline in government spending." Maddow refuted that claim with a chart showing the national debt skyrocketing under both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, while growing far more modestly under Carter and Clinton.
Maddow also had fun with former Rep. Dick Armey's insistence that the Democrats had invented "the perception of a crisis" in health care, "despite the fact that America has the greatest health care in the world," in order to further an agenda "of controlling the distribution of income in America."
"Do you want to see what that fake crisis looks like?" Maddow asked. "In 1960, health care spending was about 5% of our GDP. ... By last year, our health care spending constituted more than 17% of our entire economic output as a nation. ... That's the crisis President Obama has apparently created out of thin air for his own political gain."
Maddow concluded with a final shot at Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who threw what she called "red meat" to the crowd by declaring, "We now see all too clearly that the hope and change the Democrats had in mind was nothing more than a retread of the failed and discredited socialist policies that have been the enemy of freedom for centuries all over the world."
"'The enemy of freedom,'" Maddow echoed skeptically. "As I said before, CPAC is a big deal. This is where conservative politicians go to hone their messages, to align themselves with where the modern conservative movement is. And judging from the speeches at the podium today, the modern conservative movement, at least in the mind of its politicians, is in La La Land."
This video is from MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast Feb. 18, 2010.