The Washington Times - December 19, 2012, 09:48AM

Forget about the presidential inauguration. The American Conservative Union has revealed a few preliminary plans for the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering that is a cheerful but intense barometer for the conservative movement. CPAC attracts big names, big media, thought leaders, slick operatives, pollsters, activists, loyal traditionalists and serious young hopefuls with Libertarian leanings. They will be delighted to know that Rep. Ron Paul is among the invited speakers.

The Texas Republican is retiring from Congress following a spirited White House run that produced legions of devoted grassroots followers who often favored unorthodox political events. Dr. Paul is also a known quantity as far as the podium is concerned, however. He has already signed up with the Greater Talent Network Speakers Bureau, an exclusive Manhattan-based agency that represents the famous, the infamous, heroes, provocateurs, prominent journalists plus current and former politicians that include Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Connie Mack, Harold Ford and George Pataki.

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The agency advises that Dr. Paul will be available after Jan. 7, and that he “delivers a candid look at the dysfunctional American political system. “

But back to CPAC, now in its 40th year. The upcoming roster of possible speakers also includes Jeb Bush, Senator-elect Ted Cruz of Texas, outgoing Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Reps. Paul Ryan and Tim Scott, senator designate, and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.

The events are scheduled for mid-March at the dramatic Gaylord National Resort on the shores of the Potomac River. Organizers advise that discounts will be available until Jan. 1. Find frequently updated details here: conservative.org/cpac2013.