In 24 hours, Republicans descend on Florida en masse for a grand old party for the Grand Old Party. On Thursday, the mighty eight presidential hopefuls meet once again for another debate, this one hosted by Fox News and the Florida Republican Party, staged in Orlando. That’s just the opening act, though.
The candidates and a host of GOP heavyweights will join the party’s three-day “Presidency 5” at the Orange County Convention Center, complete with straw poll. Then there’s the American Conservative Union’s “Conservative Political Action Conference-FL.” Speakers include the group’s chairman, Al Cardenas, all eight candidates plus fellow hopefuls Gary E. Johnson and Rep. Thaddeus G. McCotter.
Yes, C-SPAN is covering it. The event motto: “We STILL hold these truths.” Also appearing: Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, pundit Ann Coulter, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, Weekly Standard founder Bill Kristol, Citizens United Chairman David Bossie, and the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre, among many others.
The tea party, meanwhile, is about to boil over. FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey and the group’s president, Matt Kibbe, also have a little something planned. On Friday, they launch “FreedomWorks for America Super PAC,” which the two say will showcase true grass-roots, door-to-door voter outreach rather than flashy, expensive TV ads.
“The objective of FreedomWorks for America in 2012 is not about turning blue states red, but rather to turn every state a bright shade of Gadsden yellow,” Mr. Kibbe says, referring to the famous Gadsden “Don’t tread on me” flag that has been embraced as an emblem of the tea party.
American liberals today are “much less likely” than conservatives to feel there is an ultimate meaning and truth to life, or to indicate that they actively seek “eternal wisdom,” report Baylor University sociologists Paul Froese and Aaron Franzen, part of the research team behind a massive survey of faith in America during “tumultuous times” released Tuesday.
Conservatives also tend to be less pessimistic about life and are less likely than liberals to worry, be anxious or “feel unexcited about the day,” the pair say. Among the findings: 81 percent of conservatives say life has an “ultimate truth,” compared with 52 percent of liberals. Meanwhile, 93 percent of conservatives say it’s “likely” they will be reunited with loved ones after death, compared with 64 percent of liberals.
See the wide-ranging research here: www.baylor.edu/2011religionsurvey.
STANDING WITH ISRAEL
Mike Huckabee and former U.N. Ambassador John R. Bolton are among 19 luminaries staging a daylong counter-conference against “the expected Israel-bashing-fest” at the U.N.’s “Durban III” gathering Thursday, an event currently boycotted by the U.S., Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, France, German, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand and Poland.
Also attending: Noble Peace Prize winner Elie Weisel, actor Jon Voight, former New York Mayor Ed Koch, Hoover Institute fellows Shelby Steele and Anne Bayefsky, and Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.
For background, the U.N.’s official description of Durban III can be found here: www.un.org/en/ga/durbanmeeting2011.
Meanwhile, organizers of the counter-conference — staged in the swank Millennium Hotel directly across the street from the world body’s headquarters — say their meeting will respond to the “peril-fraught Palestinian bid for a U.N.-backed statehood status” that does not include a negotiated settlement with Israel.
“The effort to condemn and isolate Israel on the world stage is an affront to American values and American security. The effort by those at the U.N. who have attempted to destroy Israel from the moment of its creation ought to be completely unacceptable to every American,” Mr. Huckabee said.
“Americans are committed to the state of Israel for moral, ethical and strategic reasons. Ours is an unbreakable bond, and no use of politics dressed up as human rights will succeed in undermining our absolute commitment to Israel,” he added.
Here’s news from two of them. Ari Fleischer, former White House spokesman during the George W. Bush administration, has joined CNN as a political contributor, on a team that already includes husband/wife pundits Mary Matalin and James Carville plus RedState founder Erick Erickson.
“Its shaping up as a red-hot political year, and I’m eager to lend my perspective to it,” Mr. Fleischer observes.
Meanwhile, Ben Coes — a speechwriter for former President George H.W. Bush’s White House and former campaign manager for Mitt Romney’s 2002 run for Massachusetts governor — has taken to the political thriller. Coming to bookshelves in six days from St. Martin’s Press is Mr. Coes’ new book “Coup DEtat,” with a plot based on a nuclear showdown between India and Pakistan.
The novel “poses a troubling and timely question,” Mr. Coes allows. “What would happen if the U.S. decided to take control of Pakistan?”
POLL DU JOUR
• 68 percent of Americans say President Obama has not made progress “fixing the economy.”
• 57 percent disapprove of the job Mr. Obama is doing on the economy.
• 53 percent say the president is unable “to do something about the economy.”
• 50 percent disapprove of the president’s overall job performance.
• 47 percent have little or no confidence in Mr. Obama’s job-creation proposals.
• 31 percent have confidence that congressional Republicans and Democrats can agree on a jobs package.
• 12 percent approve of the job performance of Congress.
• 6 percent say Congress “deserves re-election.”
• 3 percent are “enthusiastic” about how the federal government works.
Source: A CBS/New York Times poll of 1,452 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 10-15.
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