- The Washington Times - Monday, June 14, 2010

POP CONSERVATIVES

Sarah Palin identified the emerging “conservative feminist.” Now inquiring minds want to know if “populist conservatism” can exist without, say, causing damage to the entire space/time continuum. The Hudson Institute brings together Rep. Mike Pence, Indiana Republican, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, Washington Examiner columnist Michael Barone and “Liberal Fascism” author Jonah Goldberg to parse the possibilities, with Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol as moderator.

“I’m generally squeamish about populism, but I think this might be one of the great exceptions to the rule. Historically, American populism is a stalking horse for the ‘government must do something’ crowd. And in Europe, populism has been the generic term for socialist and fascist movements,” Mr. Goldberg tells Inside the Beltway.

“But this isn’t that. This is a movement dedicated to the proposition that the government is doing too much. As long as it stays that kind of populism, I think it’s a healthy phenomenon and really not all that new philosophically. It’s a bit like the old ‘Leave-Me-Alone Coalition’ on steroids,” he adds.

The big thinkers gather Wednesday at the St. Regis Hotel in the District. The public event, which runs from 9 to 11:30 a.m., is free; RSVP required (call 202/974-2424 or via email Krista@hudson.org.) It can also be seen live online here: www.hudson.org/WatchLive.

TEA TIME

“Tea party” folks are eagerly watching “Gather Your Armies,” a startling new campaign video released Monday by Rick Barber, a tea party favorite now running for Congress in Alabama’s 2nd District. There’s other viewing to consider. The movement gets a personal probe from none other than MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who hosts “Rise of the New Right,” a one-hour documentary that airs at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Though some viewers will take issue with the broad mash-up of tea party tribes - birthers, oath keepers, militia men, mamma grizzlies - there is some valuable narrative here, and historic context - including vintage film footage.

All the ideological icons get their cameo appearances as well, from Fox News host Glenn Beck and Rand Paul to such tea party foes as the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“What will grab the viewers attention, I think, is the use of the Gadsden flag by all the groups - the tea partiers, the members of Congress that were urging them on and even the Michigan Militia,” Mr. Matthews tells the Beltway.

“That was the flag that the American Revolutionaries flew in defiance of the British government - then viewed as a hostile power, an occupying force. Have we come to this in viewing our own government? The point of concern here is not that there is a fight between right and left, it’s that some people are arguing that even this self-government of ours has become somehow fearful to so many people.”

ETHERIDGE ETHER

Despite his instant mea culpa, the reviews of Rep. Bob Etheridge are swirling after his vigorous encounter with a pair of anonymous videographers intent on exacting a statement from the North Carolina Democrat about his support of the Obama administration. A sampling of assorted press reviews and observations:

“Irrationally combative” (Juli Weiner, Vanity Fair), “thuggish behavior” (JonathanCapehart, Washington Post), “From the department of storms in tea cups in Washington” (Richard Adams, The Guardian), “new order: D.C.’s paparazzi culture” (Domenico Montanaro, NBC), “the first rule of political behavior: In public, always behave as if you’re on camera. Because you probably are.” (Peter Grier, Christian Science Monitor).

LUCK PATROL

Republicans hold elephants charms close for luck, Democrats prefer their donkey versions. British soccer fans, however, are practicing every “strange ritual in the book” to bring luck to their nation’s team in the 2010 World Cup.

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