- The Washington Times - Monday, January 16, 2012

CONSERVATIVES: UNITED OR NOT?

“Contrary to some media reports of bitterness, suspicion and acrimony at the meeting, in my 50-plus years in conservative politics at the national level, I have rarely seen a gathering conducted in such a spirit of goodwill,” says ConservativeHQ Chairman Richard Viguerie, who journeyed to Houston over the weekend to meet with 150 fellow social conservatives who ultimately endorsed Rick Santorum as their choice for Republican presidential nominee.

The very canny Ralph Z. Hallow, senior political writer for The Washington Times, detected discord during the gathering in Texas, however. Charges emerged that the votes were “rigged” — unsettling news as Republicans scramble to present a united front to the nation. Indeed, interpretations vary about the event. Newt Gingrich’s national campaign co-chairman J.C. Watts, for example, calls Mr. Santorum’s victory “misleading,” framing it instead as “unanimous support for the not-Romney.” Mr. Viguerie still insists that harmony prevailed.

“This was not an anti-anyone meeting. Everyone there was united in their commitment to find the best candidate to defeat Barack Obama,” he says. “We are long past trying to find the perfect candidate who achieves 100 percent on every conservative scorecard. Each of the major Republican candidates had their articulate advocates, but after the third ballot, it was clear that there was a strong consensus behind Santorum.”


Differences of opinion are out there, though. While Beverly LaHaye, founder of Concerned Women for America, has already announced her support for Mr. Gingrich, Penny Nance, president of the group, is backing Mr. Santorum, calling him a “champion for faith, family and freedom.”

MEDIA WARS

“Why are Obama’s critics so dumb?” asks a cheeky Newsweek headline promoting an inside story by Andrew Sullivan. The question immediately prompted a spate of replies from conservative scribes eager to answer the magazine. Among them:

“Why is Andrew Sullivan so dumb?” (Joel B. Pollak, editor of Brietbart.com); “Puppies: Why Our Editors Torture Them” (RedState contributor Caleb Howe); “A desperate play for cheap attention and pageviews.” (Townhall.com editor Kevin Glass).

THE VEEP DERBY

While Republicans come to terms with Mitt Romney as their likely presidential nominee, attention turns to his possible running mate. Let the polling begin. From an insta-poll of Pajamas Media readers, the first choice is Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. In second place: Rep. Allen B. West of Florida, with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell in third and John R. Bolton and Condoleezza Rice tied in last place.

“The person must have enough stature and experience to be able to step in and become president if the awful-awful happens,” advises Myra Adams, who organized the survey. The person must not only “do no harm” but help win a state that President Obama won in 2008, unite the GOP, excite the conservative base and be up for a White House run in, say, 2020.

THE DOOR OPENS

It took months of delicate discussion, but the Associated Press has become the first news organization to operate a text and photo bureau with full-time staff in North Korea. The new bureau opened Monday in Pyongyang. Tom Curley, president of the 166-year-old news service, deems the phenomenon “remarkable,” while Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll adds that the AP does not submit to censorship.

“Even though our two countries do not have normalized relations, we have been able to find a way to understand one another and to cooperate closely enough to open an AP bureau,” observes Kim Pyong Ho, president of the Korea Central News Agency.

MAYORS’ DAY OUT

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