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Inside the Beltway: Reinventing the ‘Buckley Rule’

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 5, 2013

War? What war? It's just business as usual at the Conservative Victory Fund, an emerging super PAC that has vexed fierce conservatives and tea partyers convinced that the organization is undermining Republican chances of a win in the 2014 midterm elections by abandoning conservative principles and backing moderate candidates. The parent of this project is American Crossroads, the uber Republican fundraiser shepherded by, among others, Karl Rove and Haley Barbour.

But a war between the sides? An official for the new PAC simply cites the reasoning of one William F. Buckley, founder of the National Review and a conservative thought leader with certain distinguishing and divergent opinions. He died in 2008.

"Our goal is to institutionalize the Buckley rule, by supporting the most conservative candidates in the primaries who can also win in the general," Jonathan Collegio, director of communications for American Crossroads, tells Inside the Beltway.

"The Crossroads groups have spent more than $30 million supporting tea party candidates in the past two election cycles. We are second to no one in supporting conservatives," Mr. Collegio adds.

The fight's still on

The tea party conservative folks, meanwhile, are still in combat mode over the aforementioned Conservative Victory Fund.

"All events point to a fundamental clash between the old-guard Republican establishment, dictating outdated ideas from the top-down, versus a tech-savvy younger generation of activists driving their agenda from the bottom-up," says Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, a fiscally conservative grass-roots group.

"The genie is out of the bottle, and politics is permanently more decentralized, more democratic," Mr. Kibbe observes. "The future of the GOP are the millions of principle-driven activists who are building a community centered around a set of shared values, and taking their government back at all levels, from the ground up. We are repopulating the GOP, and that process continues unabated."

Forward Scouts

The nation's first "Save Our Scouts" rally and prayer vigil is planned for Wednesday at Boy Scouts of America's national headquarters in Irving, Texas — organized by a group of 30 Texas state legislators and elected officials who, like Gov. Rick Perry, are not keen on President Obama's recommendation that the 103-year-old organization drop its ban on gay membership.

"If the Scouts fall, the church is next," the organizers warn in a public message, and in an open letter to Scout leadership as they wrestle with a possible compromise:

"We strongly encourage the Boy Scouts of America to stick with their decades of support for family values and moral principles. Capitulating to the liberal social agenda not only undermines the very principles of Scouting, but sets the stage for the erosion of an organization that has defined the American experience for generations of young men. The contemplated national policy would throw to the wolves chartering organizations and Scout troops that choose to stick with Scouting's historic and legally protected policy. Left to defend themselves from legal attacks, we fear many churches and other entities will choose to simply abandon Scouting altogether — it will be the safer course, and one hastening the organization's eventual collapse."

Targeting the networks

The findings may not surprise gun-rights advocates. A Media Research Center analysis of 216 news stories broadcast on ABC, CBS and NBC following the Newtown, Conn., shootings show "staggering imbalance," the study says. "The networks quickly moved to exploit the tragedy to push for more gun control legislation while mostly ignoring solutions that respect gun owners' Second Amendment rights," analyst Geoffrey Dickens says.

Among the findings: Stories advocating more gun control outnumbered stories opposing gun control by 99 to 12, or a ratio of 8-to-1. Anti-gun sound bites were aired almost twice as frequently as pro-gun ones, 228 to 134. Gun control advocates appeared as guests on 26 occasions, compared to seven times for gun-rights advocates.

There was an exception. The analyst cites a Dec. 19 account on ABC's "World News" that reported on a Texas school district where teachers with concealed handgun permits are allowed to carry guns into the school. "I like it, because it kind of makes me feel safer," one student told the network. "Because, I mean, we don't have a police station here."

Newtown, the movie

Well, that was quick. Jonathan Bucari, an independent filmmaker based in New York, already has begun fundraising for "Illness," a feature movie based around the Newtown, Conn., shootings. Mr. Bucari already has scouted Ridgefield, a town 20 miles from the site of the massacre, as a possible setting. Allison Stockel, executive director of a local theater in Ridgefield and the town's official film commissioner, has received multiple calls from angry residents about the movie, according to Ridgefield Patch, an online news group.

"There's a process. We have many questions," she says. "Will they need to shut down traffic? Shoot in a private home? Involve local businesses? But more importantly, if it's about Newtown, people here don't want a film on this, now or ever."

Poll du jour

• 67 percent of Americans who go online are Facebook users.

• 61 percent of the users say that they have voluntarily "taken a break" from Facebook for several weeks or more.

• 27 percent of that group plan to spend less time on Facebook, 21 percent took a "vacation" because they were too busy.

• 10 percent said they took a break because Facebook is "a waste of time" or not relevant.

• 10 percent said it was because they "don't like" the social media tool; 9 percent cited "too much drama/gossip/negativity" on Facebook.

• 7 percent "got bored" with it, 4 percent cited security concerns, 2 percent cited a preference for "real life" communications.

Source: A Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project survey of 1,006 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 13 to 16 and released Tuesday.

• Hue and cry to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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