CPAC, ACT I
Yes, there has been internal discord over certain directions within the conservative movement, and talk of a boycott. Meanwhile, the proverbial show must go on. The American Conservative Union's big annual rite comes to life Feb. 10, bustling with big name Republicans, tea partiers, policy wonks, journalists, pundits, activists, lawmakers, officials, former officials, media mavens, young turks and old guard heavyweights. "CPAC 2011" begins with a morning welcome from the group's president, David Keene, and an opening address by Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.
A cast of thousands follows, the speakers there for a thousand different reasons. Among the many: Sens. Mitch McConnell, John Thune of South Dakota, Mike Lee of Utah, John Cornyn of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and John Barrasso of Wyoming; Reps. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, Ron Paul of Texas, Steve King of Iowa, Connie Mack of Florida, Ted Poe of Texas, Tom Price of Georgia and Peter Roskam of Illinois; Govs. Rick Perry of Texas, Mitch Daniels of Indiana and Hayley Barbour of Mississippi; Mitt Romney, Newt and Callista Gingrich, Donald Rumsfeld, John Bolton, Ann Coulter, Andrew Breitbart.
There will be a Ronald Reagan 100th-birthday cake presented by Carlo's Bake Shop from TLC's reality show "Cake Boss," a few days late, but what the heck. And the biggest curtain call of all: The much ballyhooed CPAC "straw poll" of 2012 presidential candidates — the liberal press pays attention to this one — is set to be released as a finale. The senior Mr. Paul, incidentally, won in 2010.
Handicapping the trajectory of a dozen or so of those aforementioned Republican presidential hopefuls is endless, and something we must learn to live with over the next year. Yet one reality has emerged. Though they may get fickle and crabby, Republican voters are not likely to stray across the aisle.
"One thing's for sure, President Obama won't be a big beneficiary if a Republican primary voter's favorite candidate isn't nominated. Only 9 percent say they are at least somewhat likely to vote for the Democratic incumbent in that case, with 6 percent who say it's 'very likely.' Ninety percent see a vote for Mr. Obama as unlikely, with a whopping 79 percent who say it's 'not at all likely,'" explains a new Rasmussen poll of 1,000 likely Republican primary voters conducted Jan. 18 and released Sunday.
NOT THE KEY OF KEY
Some Americans may pine for "The Star-Spangled Banner" to be sung at public events without showbiz flourishes and in a manner perhaps familiar to its creator, Francis Scott Key. The dazzling factor should be prominent, however, at Super Bowl XLV, when chanteuse Christina Aguilera delivers the national anthem. Odds are against musical mishaps and wardrobe malfunctions: A completely disastrous performance is "unlikely" says Jack Thurman, an analyst with Sportsbettingworld.com.
Based on current national betting patterns, he has assorted predictions on Miss Aguilera's upcoming aria. He says her performance will last one minute, 53 seconds, including the inevitable drawn-out top note on the lyric, "land of the free." Mr. Thurman says the singer will use a microphone and not a headset. And, uh, "booty shorts?" The analyst is convinced she'll opt for a skirt and high heels rather than something, uh, star-spangled and questionable.
The Windy City is about to get a lot windier, what with certain former White House staffers heading to Chicago to jump-start President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.
Then there's another "former."
And that would be former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel: He was instantly off, then on the Chicago mayoral ballot, and currently enjoys very, very favorable polling numbers with the locals. Some can't abide the idea. Yes, another "former." And that would be one-time Clinton White House strategist turned columnist Dick Morris, who has founded a fundraising campaign — rahmstoppers.com — to curtail Mr. Emanuel's political aspirations.
"Rahm Emanuel — the most ruthless, aggressive, ambitious, radical, take-no-prisoners politician in America — is running for mayor, the bottom rung of the ladder," Mr. Morris says. "From there, it's the Senate and then the White House. This time as the boss. Let's knock him off the bottom rung before he rises further. Stop him before his political career metastases."
Yes, well. Mr. Morris favors Rahm rival Gery Chico, former chief of staff to Mayor Richard M. Daley.
"Chico is not ideal. He's no tea party activist. But he's honest, and to the right of Rahm," Mr. Morris notes.
POLL DU JOUR
• 77 percent of Americans are satisfied "with the quality of life"; the figure was 82 percent in 2008.
• 58 percent are satisfied with the influence of organized religion; the figure was 56 percent in 2008.
• 55 percent say there is still opportunity to get ahead with hard work; the figure was 68 percent in 2008.
• 42 percent are satisfied with the system of government and how well it works; the figure was 53 percent.
• 31 percent are satisfied with the "size and power" of federal government; the figure was 41 percent.
• 30 percent are satisfied with the moral and ethical climate of the nation; the figure was 39 percent.
• 29 percent are satisfied with the size and influence of major corporations; the figure was 35 percent.
Sources: A Gallup Poll of 1,008 adults conducted Jan. 7 to 9 and released Friday; Gallup historic records.
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