Press coverage of “CPAC 2011” has been rife with gleeful talk of acrimony and dissent among conservatives as their annual shindig looms. Much attention is being paid to who’s shunning the event (Fox News host Sean Hannity; Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican; Mike Huckabee; the Heritage Foundation) and who’s attending. How serious is it all?
“When you’re dealing with something as fractious as the conservative movement — I mean, when there were only five of us we were arguing — that dissent is really part of the energy. And that’s the difference between conservatives and all the rest. They go home invigorated after their arguments are over,” American Conservative Union Chairman David Keene tells Inside the Beltway. “At CPAC, they meet new people to work with and work for, they parse out the politics. And they end up with renewed energy to pick up the cudgels for the next fight.”
Yes, people can arrive at what’s formally known as the Conservative Political Action Conference — first staged by the group in 1974 — in a querulous mood, he says.
“They’re unhappy with the agenda and with everyone else. And when it’s over, they realize there has been some celebration. So they come back. And I’m the designated pinata. That comes with the territory,” Mr. Keene observes.
TNR, HERE’S TPR
Debuting at CPAC, it’s the svelte Tea Party Review, the first national magazine chronicling the movement. Is it a sign that the tea party will compromise its grass-roots soul? Editors insist the monthly includes “no hype, no rumors, no political double talk” but plenty of election coverage, topics like “why the elite media hate us” and a comic strip called “The Gentleman From Lickskillet.” Details here: www.teapartyreview.com
“People are weary of the distorted version of the tea party movement we see in most of the media,” says Katrina Pierson, a member of the Dallas Tea Party, and official “grass-roots director” for the magazine. “Successful movements — abolitionists, women’s suffragists, the civil rights movement, the conservative movement — all had their own print publications. TPR will fill that need for the tea party movement.”
“Keith Olbermann is a gifted thinker, an amazing talent and a powerful communicator.” (Al Gore, on the former MSNBC host’s decision to host a nightly news show on Current TV, the news channel founded in 2005 by Mr. Gore and entrepreneur Joel Hyatt.)
“Keith Olbermann is one of our society’s most courageous talents.” (Mr. Hyatt on Mr. Olbermann.)
“It’s the most exciting venture in my career.” (Mr. Olbermann on, uh, Mr. Olbermann.)
NOT DONE YET
The Reagan Centennial continues, this time with the nuts and bolts take on the 40th president. The “Ronald Reagan’s Vision & Policies” forum commences Wednesday on Capitol Hill; among the heavyweights: Republican Reps. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, Tom Price of Georgia, Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia, James S. Gilmore III, Ed Meese, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Lewis Uhler of the National Tax Limitation Committee and Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring.