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.
Time is money? Space is money, too, what with Russia's space tourism flights and nations vying to open the first Starbucks on Mars or on the ever-popular Jupiter moon Callisto. But do it right, and go boldly, say some.
"The space economy is emerging as the next great frontier for economic expansion and U.S. leadership. If we really want to 'win the future' we cannot abandon our commitment to space exploration and human spaceflight. The fastest path to space is not through Moscow, but through the American entrepreneur," says former Pennsylvania Republican congressman Robert S. Walker, a member of the fiscally conservative Competitive Space Task Force.
"Government can and should create a framework for American industry and individuals to pursue their ideals and dreams, and space should be no exception," says Rand Simberg, chairman of the group.
Outer space smells like a NASCAR race — "a bouquet of hot metal, diesel fumes and barbecue," actually the persistent aromatic hydrocarbons left over from dying stars. So says Louis Allamandola, director of NASA's Astrophysics and Astrochemistry Lab. Astronauts have also reported smelling "fried" steak after a space walk.
And speaking of entrepreneurs: The space agency already hired fragrance engineer Steven Pearce to re-create the signature space scent. He notes, "We did the smell of the moon. Astronauts compared it to spent gunpowder."
POLL DU JOUR
• 51 percent of Americans say President Obama "will lose" the 2012 presidential election.
• 30 percent of Democrats, 36 percent of liberals, 77 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of conservatives and 68 percent of tea partiers agree.
• 41 percent overall say they "definitely" or probably" will not vote for President Obama in 2012.
• 14 percent of Democrats, 18 percent of liberals, 89 percent of Republicans, 71 percent of conservatives and 84 percent of tea partiers agree.
• 21 percent overall say Mike Huckabee is the Republican candidate they would most likely support in 2012, 19 percent favor Sarah Palin, 18 percent are for Mitt Romney.
• 24 percent of Republicans favor Mr. Huckabee, 18 percent Mr. Romney, 17 percent Mrs. Palin.
• 68 percent of Republicans say they will support the candidate who "can beat President Obama," 29 percent the candidate who agrees with them on issues.
Source: A CNN/Opinion Research Poll of 1,012 adults conducted Jan. 21 to 23.
• Bold enterprise, fractious argument to email@example.com.
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