- The Washington Times - Monday, February 4, 2013

Here comes a potential antidote to the typical drone of political commentary. On Tuesday night, the always enterprising Sen. Marco Rubio journeys to the 201 Bar for a chat with Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of the cheeky and clever BuzzFeed. The Florida Republican’s conversation is the first in a series of “BuzzFeed Brews,” pitting newsmakers against Buzz Feeders. A mere two blocks from the U.S. Capitol, the sleek bar is upscale hipster, showcasing cocktails like the “Fox & the Owl,” craft beers of every persuasion, and a menu full of comfort food and dainties.

“We spend a lot of time thinking about politics at BuzzFeed and wanted to create a new version of this Washington tradition of the newsmaker interview, something updated for an era of politics that’s wrapped around Twitter and the social Web,” Mr. Smith tells Inside the Beltway. “I think a more casual setting can sometimes produce a more interesting conversation, and that politics has always overlapped into cultural life in a way that can be interesting to engage with political leaders.”

ROVE VS. ROGUE

The war is on, as far as traditional conservatives are concerned, their ire fueled by news that the Conservative Victory Project has traction and much buzz. To review: The new super PAC is a product of American Crossroads, the uber Republican fundraiser shepherded by Karl Rove throughout the 2012 election. It’s fashioned as a strategic deterrent against the powerful rogue influence upon the GOP, meant “to recruit seasoned candidates and protect incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and tea party enthusiasts,” notes The New York Times.

Those are fightin’ words.

“The days of conservatives listening to the moderate GOP establishment are over. Their idea of the most ‘electable’ presidential candidate was Mitt Romney, and before him John McCain and before him Bob Dole, and we have all seen the results,” declares Brent Bozell, founder of the Media Research Center.

“The moderate GOP establishment record in Senate races last year was abysmal: Every single one of their candidates lost. We don’t need a second Democrat Party in Washington. It’s these same Rockefeller Republicans who said Ronald Reagan was unelectable,” Mr. Bozell adds.

“The newly launched Conservative Victory Project wants to push the tea party out and replace them with the failed strategies of 2008 and 2012. This super PAC is choosing power of principle, but will end up alienating conservatives and electoral losses,” says Amy Kremer, chairwoman of the Tea Party Express, a political action committee.

“The secret ingredient to a winning formula is conservative principles,” she counsels. “Reagan’s victories in the 1980s, Newt Gingrich and the Republican revolution of 1994, and the tea party’s historic wins in 2010 were all made possible because the Republican Party and its candidates stood strongly and proudly for pro-growth fiscal conservative policies.”

TRUMP’S SHORT TAKE

This should give Libertarian Gary Johnson — and maybe Herman Cain — a little thrill:

“If Karl Rove & [the] GOP Establishment continue to attack the Tea Party, who delivered in 2010, then there will be a 3rd Party in 2016.”

(Donald Trump, in a tweet Monday afternoon)

AN INSECURE WORLD

“The global homeland security market is estimated to be $415.53 billion in 2013. The threat of cross border terrorism, cybercrime, piracy, drug trade, human trafficking, internal dissent, separatist movements has been a driving factor for the homeland security sector. The sector is highly competitive with a host of industry participants vying for contracts and the tightening financial situation in most western countries is expected to increase competition. Budget cuts in most of the western countries are anticipated to have minimal impact on the homeland security market; however, spending on cyber security, surveillance systems, IT and communications systems is set to increase.”

(From “Global Homeland Security and Emergency Management Market, 2013-2018,” a report released Monday by marketsandmarkets.com, a Texas-based research firm)

POWER OF THE OUTAGE

Conspiracy theories continue to percolate among those who wonder what caused the 34-minute power outage at the Super Bowl. Officials ruled out cyberterrorism or the electrical draw of Beyonce’s glittering halftime show as the cause. They cite instead an “abnormality.”

But that’s not enough.

A #BlameBeyonce hashtag emerged on Twitter, even as other critics blamed the blackout on old Hurricane Katrina damage. Then there is the nation’s capital. The outage also added sparks to a policy pitch from one Alaska Republican.

“Something like a gap in the Super Bowl causes the focus on energy that we need to have. I can only hope,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski as she unveiled new energy policy recommendations during a news conference Monday.

“I think it helps to perhaps kick-start the debate. I think it raises an awareness. Unfortunately for us, most of us take energy for granted. It’s just always there,” the lawmaker continued. “We have got this immaculate conception theory of energy. It just happens. The lights turn on, it’s the temperature we want, until it’s not, until it becomes inconvenient, it interrupts our game, it interrupts what we are doing, and then all of a sudden it is like, ‘Well wait a minute, what is going on here?’”

POLL DU JOUR

• 64 percent of Americans would choose “to work virtually if they could.”

• 53 percent say that the “concept of a traditional office” will last at least another 50 years.

• 66 percent of that group say they work better in an office.

• 51 percent say they want to socialize with colleagues.

• 39 percent said they would feel more secure about accessing, scanning, storing and printing information from an office.

• 18 percent say their office is out of date with the latest technology.

• 14 percent say there is too much paperwork in their office.

Source: A Harris/Ricoh poll of 2,512 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 3 to 5 and released Friday.

Grumbling, mumbling, caterwaul to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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