The Speech I Would’ve Given at CPAC
Facts, data, and complaints don’t persuade people, but the right stories will.


Lee Habeeb

Regrettably, the American story (and that’s all American history is: the story of America) is being written by people who don’t much like our country and who want to change it. They want to change it by erasing those parts of our history that they don’t like or that don’t comport with their version of America.

The Left’s narrative goes something like this: If only America would be . . . less . . . American, the world would be a better and safer place. If only the Constitution were less . . . like our Constitution, and more like South Africa’s, a work in progress, a living Constitution . . .  As if the document our Founders wrote isn’t alive and thriving, as if it hadn’t helped unleash the potential of a people like no other single document in human history. In America, the government receives its limited powers from the people. That was a revolutionary idea in the 18th century. It still is.

Regrettably, too many of us don’t know the story of our country. Indeed, we have neglected storytelling as a means of changing the way we think about ourselves. We have invested billions of dollars in our great think tanks, but little in the serious business of telling stories.

One thing you can say about the Left: They are great at storytelling. At making things up. They’ve churned out works of art, theater, journalism, and film, and it has paid off. Their fiction is made up — but their nonfiction is made up, too. Their version of American history: made up, or filled with half-truths, distortions, and omissions that beg for correction.

In the culture wars we are fighting — and make no mistake, the biggest cultural battle is over our past — we must fight their stories with stories of our own.

Either that, or lose our memory. And lose America.

This past election cycle, we often heard pundits and politicians predict that if President Obama were reelected, our country would cease to exist. Obama would cause the kind of damage, they said, from which America would never recover.

I am here to report that our country will survive President Obama.

America doubters have been predicting our demise since before we were born. If Vegas had handicapped the Revolution of 1776, America would have been 1–10 underdogs to make it to the year 1800. But we triumphed over the mighty British Army with a ragtag army assembled on the fly. We overcame the original sin of slavery with a Civil War that left America with 600,000 fewer men — in a nation of only 35 million — and with much of the South, even the crops, burned to the ground. Today, the South is the fastest-growing region in America, and more African Americans are in positions of leadership there than in any other region in the nation.

We beat the Nazi menace. We ended Soviet totalitarianism. We’ve survived runaway inflation, stagflation, and deflation. We survived Woodrow Wilson. We survived Jimmy Carter.

Heck, we even survived disco. And, so far, Deepak Chopra.

Then there were all of those natural and not-so-natural threats that the scientific doom-and-gloom crowd claimed would kill us. We survived the threat of mass famine, the population explosion, and killer bees. (Remember those swarms of African bees that were going to migrate to North America and kill us all?)

We survived Agent Orange, nuclear meltdown, and the China Syndrome. We survived mad-cow disease, bird flu, swine flu, SARS, Y2K, global cooling, and, yes, we’ll survive global warming, too.

We were told by the expert academics and economists in the 1930s that Communism was superior to our system of free enterprise, and 50 years later, a new gang of elites told us Japan’s way was the way of the future.

Thirty years later, and we are now being told by a fresh set of academic and cultural elites that China’s way — the autocrats’ way — is the way of the future.

We have survived and triumphed over all of those real and fake threats, and disproved the myriad apocalyptic predictions, since our nation’s founding. And we will continue to.