Among the 140 participants at the Bilderberg Conference that begins Thursday in the spectacular Grove Hotel, some 20 miles northwest of London: American Enterprise Institute fellow Richard Perle, former CIA Director David H. Petraeus, former World Bank President James Wolfensohn, former Treasury secretaries Timothy F. Geithner and Robert Rubin, Washington Post CEO Donald Graham, Stratfor geopolitical analyst Robert Kaplan, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and The Economist Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait.
The event is deemed “a forum for informal, off-the-record discussions about megatrends and the major issues facing the world.” So many journalists, bloggers and activists plan to show up at the intensely private event, which will for the first time will offer a very low-key press liaison.
Then there’s the Bilderberg Fringe Festival. A motley uninvited crowd is negotiating a space with local police for a noisy, three-day rally near or within the hotel’s 300-acre grounds; they envision it bustling with speakers, street performers, comedians, healers, filmmakers and musicians.
“We are expressing our outrage at this travesty of democracy the only way we know how, by Hula-hooping in the sunshine and dancing barefoot in the grass. Except where cows have been,” organizers declare in their invitation. “Where Bilderberg is closed, dark and joyless, we are open, happy and free. They may have better spa facilities, but we have better chai.”
REAGAN’S TOP BILLING
“Which president would you most like to see on a new currency bill?” asks a “60 Minutes”/Vanity Fair poll released Monday.
“Ronald Reagan has the most currency with 38 percent,” the waggish pollsters declare. “Nineteen percent would put Barack Obama in the money, 15 percent think that a Bill Clinton would fit the bill, 11 percent think Jimmy Carter is the one, and the two George Bush’s finished out of the money losing a twin bill.”
That would be George W. Bush with 4 percent and papa George H.W. Bush with 2 percent. See more survey results in today’s Poll du Jour at column’s end.
A BAUCUS REPLACEMENT
Montana may be due for specific political change.
“Career politician and Obamacare architect Max Baucus has decided to not seek re-election. Montana is traditionally a red state that Mitt Romney won by 14 points. The time is now to draft a real leader and take away Harry Reid’s liberal majority,” says Kieran Michael Lalor, founder of Afghanistan and Iraq Vets for Congress, a political action committee that supports Republican veterans seeking public office.
“Democrats are trying to draft former governor Brian Schweitzer. While campaigning for President Obama in Ohio, the governor called Montanans ‘white, racist rednecks.’ This is not the kind of leadership we need in the U.S. Senate,” says Mr. Lalor, a Marine Corps vet and New York assemblyman.
He’s backing retired Navy SEAL Cmdr. Ryan K. Zinke, a third-generation Montanan who lives in Whitefish.
“We believe he could become the first Afghanistan or Iraq veteran in the U.S. Senate,” Mr. Lalor says. “Our nation needs tried and tested veteran leadership in the Senate, not another career politician.”
BACK AND FORTH