Inside the Beltway: A tale of two Boehners

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Is House Speaker John A. Boehner hero or villain? Depends on who’s talking. The fiscal cliff has generated a tale of two Boehners as the deadline for a compromise between Mr. Boehner and President Obama nears. An anonymous conservative, for example, told the National Review that an understanding House GOP caucus backs Mr. Boehner. “There is no revolt, no coup. Boehner is going to compromise, but people recognize that he’s in a tough spot,” the unnamed Republican lawmaker said.

American Majority Action, a conservative interest group, has a different take altogether.

“Don’t go wobbly on us now, Speaker Boehner. If GOP House members cave on raising taxes, conservative grass-roots activists won’t forget about it during the next elections,” warns Ned Ryun, president of the organization, noting that Mr. Boehner’s proposal offers a “meager” $1 trillion reduction in the growth of government over the next 10 years.

“Worse, Boehner’s tax increase includes not only a rate increase for high-income earners but also a draconian capping of the charitable deduction,” he adds.

“Targeting charities, demonizing job-creators and ignoring our debt problem is what the conservative movement expects of Democrats, not House Republican leadership,” spokesman Ron Meyer observes. “President Reagan famously said, ‘To the tax increasers: Go ahead. Make my day.’ Well, Mr. Speaker, make our day.”

RON PAUL RISING

Forget about the presidential inauguration. The American Conservative Union has revealed a few preliminary plans for the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference, the gathering that is a cheerful but intense barometer for the conservative movement. It attracts big names, big media, thought leaders, slick operatives, pollsters, activists, loyal traditionalists and aggressive young Turks who will be delighted to know that Rep. Ron Paul is among the invited celebrity speakers.

Besides the Texas Republican, the roster also includes Jeb Bush, Senator-elect Ted Cruz of Texas, outgoing Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Reps. Paul Ryan and Tim Scott, senator designate, and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.

The events are scheduled for mid-March at the dramatic Gaylord National Resort on the shores of the Potomac River. Organizers advise that discounts will be available until Jan. 1; find frequently updated details here: conservative.org/cpac2013.

THE VALUE OF LIFE

“I don’t think it’s about more gun control. I grew up in the South with guns everywhere and we never shot anyone. This [shooting] is about people who aren’t taught the value of life. I don’t think movies or video games have anything to do with it.”

— Samuel L. Jackson, who appears in the upcoming revenge fantasy film “Django Unchained,” on the Newtown, Conn., shootings, to the Los Angeles Times.

TWO MORE TAKES

“Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting. The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again,” reads the official statement from the National Rifle Association on the Newtown shootings, issued Wednesday.

There was also news from a different source:

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