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Inside the Beltway

- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 5, 2012

THE NEXT 100 YEARS

Happy 101st birthday to one Ronald Wilson Reagan, still an inspiration for those who believe in the liberty, strength and optimism of the nation, and the inner mettle of Americans. Yes, there are big doings out at the Reagan Presidential Library in California on Monday, with a 21-gun salute and a U.S. Marine Corps band.

There's lots more though, including a cake-cutting with son Michael Reagan at the Reagan Ranch near Santa Barbara, two birthday parties in the president's birthplace of Tampico, Ill.; a "Reagan of Illinois" concert in Chicago, and the "5th annual Ronald Reagan Day" at Eureka College, the president's alma mater, featuring columnist Michael Barone, who will offer evidence of "Ronald Reagan: The Next 100 Years"

And while politicians vie to inherit the Reagan mantle, the Carleson Center for Public Policy — a group founded by those who actually worked with him — release "The Reagan Resolve", also on Monday. The 19-page report clarifies Gipper philosophy and ideas, and provides a Reagan-inspired template for things to come.

The center is named for the late Robert B. Carleson, the chief architect for welfare reform in California when Reagan was governor. Ed Meese, Morton Blackwell, Linda Chavez and Peter Hannaford are among the founders of the organization. See the new report here: www.theccpp.org

"The idea is that everybody and his uncle is claiming to be guided by Ronald Reagan, but to really know, we have to go back and see what he said and did," observes a source.

THE RESOLUTE CONSERVATIVE

Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich is choosing to ignore the svelte but powerful campaign of rival Mitt Romney, which showcases the former Massachusetts governor as the candidate most suited for the proverbial "long march." Mr. Romney's handlers, in fact, are now billing him as the "consistent conservative," a title that once belonged to Rick Santorum, now the "conservative we can trust," his campaign says.

Mr. Gingrich should win the title "resolute conservative" at this point, perhaps. His campaign schedule is bustling with activity in Colorado, Minnesota and Ohio this week. Mr. Gingrich's days are wall-to-wall rallies in each state; he will ride his roaring campaign bus down the highway like a chariot, bound for such spots as Cleveland and Dayton, Ohio, culminating in an afternoon speech at CPAC 2012 on Friday.

THE RAMBUNCTIOUS LOCALS

"If you like Mitt Romney, more power to you. Its entirely possible he would make a great president. I don't have a crystal ball, just a hunch that he represents the status quo at a time when the status quo sucks," declares Frank Miele, managing editor of the Daily Inter Lake, a newspaper in Kalispell, Mont.

"What do the party bosses have against the voters in the 45 states who haven't voted yet? Why do they think that Montana shouldnt be heard from in a race that is obviously quite close and competitive and intensely fought. What are they afraid of? Why not let the process play out in the way intended? Could they just be defending the status quo that lets them have power whether Romney wins or Obama wins? I wouldnt be surprised," Mr. Miele says.

"The current primary system was invented to put power in the hands of the people and to take it away from those power brokers in Washington, D.C., and in state capitals. Dont let big media and big government tell you that your vote is irrelevant," he adds. "Vote your own conscience, not for the candidate that Bob Dole and John McCain tell you will win in November. After all, what do they know about winning?"

ATLAS PUSHES ON

The determined producers of "Atlas Shrugged" have promising news. They're ready to start filming the second installation of the film based on Ayn Rand's 1957 blockbuster of the same name. "Atlas Shrugged Part 2" begins shooting in Los Angeles, Colorado and New York in April, with a national release scheduled for October.

"Atlas Shrugged: Part I" — a $10 million independent film billed by producers as America's "first tea party movie" — was released April 15 last year and seen in 277 theaters nationwide, winning support from, among others, House Speaker John A. Boehner and a screening CPAC.

Follow news of the project, including the customary online arguments among friends and foes, here: www.atlasshruggedmovie.com

TWITTER TWADDLE

Bored by tweets? Join the club. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Georgia Institute of Technology asked 1,443 people to rate the quality of 43,738 tweets. The results proved tepid. The respondents liked just 36 percent of what they saw and disliked 25 percent, while 39 percent said the 140-character messages did nothing for them.

"A well-received tweet is not all that common. A significant amount of content is not worth reading," said lead researcher Michael Bernstein of MIT.

The team, which releases the complete study Feb. 13, advises eager tweeters — including public figures — to stop sharing pedestrian details and "don't whine."

POLL DU JOUR

• 68 percent of likely Republican voters in Colorado have a favorable opinion of Rick Santorum.

• 60 percent favor Mitt Romney, 49 percent Newt Gingrich and 38 percent Rep. Ron Paul.

• 40 percent of Colorado voters plan to vote for Mr. Romney; 26 percent support Mr. Santorum, 18 percent Mr. Gingrich and 12 percent Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

• 72 percent of likely Republican voters in Minnesota have a favorable opinion of Mr. Santorum.

• 50 percent favor Mr. Romney, 48 percent Mr. Paul and 47 percent Mr. Gingrich.

• 29 percent of the Minnesota voters plan to vote for Mr. Santorum; 27 percent support Mr. Romney, 22 percent for Newt Gingrich and 19 percent Mr. Paul.

Source: A Public Policy Poll of 527 likely Republican caucus voters in Colorado and 410 likely Republican caucus voters in Minnesota, conducted Feb. 4.

Greetings, salutations, complaints to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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