Inside the Beltway

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GIPPERTOPIA

There are fabricated “bipartisan” moments. Then there are the real ones. Two hours of floor time have been reserved in the Senate Thursday to commemorate the 100th birthday of Ronald Reagan, organized by Democratic Sens. Jim Webb of Virginia and Dianne Feinstein of California, plus Sen. Orrin Hatch, Utah Republican. The lawmakers are all members of the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission, established by Congress in 2009.

“More than 20 years ago, President Reagan inspired this nation after a period of extraordinary turmoil and self-doubt. It is fitting that we reexamine his legacy today as our nation faces serious challenges at home and abroad,” the trio wrote in a letter to their peers.

Yes, but will there be cake? Uh, no. A spokesman tells Inside the Beltway that those 120 minutes will serve as a forum for Gipperian moments as told by the lawmakers — including Mr. Webb, who served as assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs and secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration.

RUPERT‘S RHAPSODY

Is it “righty?” That is the blunt question from media analysts trying to fathom the Daily, Rupert Murdoch’s new digital newspaper confabulated for the Apple iPad. Mr. Murdoch is downright rhapsodic about his baby, which daily features 100 pages whirling on a “carousel” application, audio and video, social-media feeds, “touch interactivity” for a 99-cent weekly subscription price and a $500,000-per-week operating cost.

“New times demand new journalism. So we built ‘The Daily’ completely from scratch,” says Mr. Murdoch, the chief executive of News Corp., parent company to Fox News, Dow Jones, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, among many holdings.

“The magic of great newspapers — and great blogs — lies in their serendipity and surprise, and the touch of a good editor. We’re going to bring that magic to ‘The Daily’ — to inform people, to make them think, to help them engage in the great issues of the day. And as we continue to improve and evolve, we are going to use the best in new technology to push the boundaries of reporting.”

Hints of ideological underpinnings are nowhere to be found. Yet.

“Nice layout with good photos and integration of video. But the reporting itself is fairly routine and rather like Time Magazine, circa 1970. In other words, sprightly but very conventional,” says Roger L. Simon, who created the forward-thinking Pajamas Media online news site in 2005.

“One problem is that ‘The Daily’ may be trying to be all things to all people. The Wall Street Journal tilts right, at least on its editorial page. The New York Times tilts left, all over. Is there room for something in the middle — or does that ultimately mean dull?” Mr. Simon asks.

HERMAN’S SIGN-OFF

He must be getting very close to his big “declare” moment. That would be presidential hopeful Herman Cain, who has resigned from his nightly Atlanta-based talk-radio show, where he’s chatted about issues for three years. His replacement of note is Redstate.com founder and CNN contributor Erick Erickson, who takes over the mic Thursday.

AL’S GLITCH

Ka-boom. Al Gore’s insistence in an online missive to Fox News host Bill O’Reilly that “man-made global warming” is behind the Blizzard o’ 2011 won him a link on the Drudge Report, much buzz and technical difficulties.

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