Inside the Beltway: The guest watch

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“I applied to speak and was ignored. I tried to get a room for an American Freedom Defense Initiative event, ‘The War on Free Speech,’ and was ignored. So, for the first time in five years, I won’t be at CPAC,” declares Pam Geller, the outspoken opponent of radical Islam, who has her own theories about the situation.

She joins New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and the gay Republicans of GOProud among those also not invited to participate in the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in mid-March, sparking yet another round of discussions among observers who ponder the wisdom of infighting while parsing the private decisions made by event organizers at the American Conservative Union.

Who’s in, who’s out? The situation presents a complex choice for conservatives.

Should the conservative group embrace all comers as critical midterm elections approach, ensuring all hands are indeed on deck and that an evolving Republican Party emerges victorious? Or should organizational leaders hold the line on authentic, established thinking, underscoring civility and traditional methods? It remains a tricky work in progress, but a vital one.

‘TWO HOURS AND LUNCH’

Actress Bette Davis once said, “If you want something done right, get three old broads to do it.” Ask Mike Huckabee, though, and he’ll vouch for the abilities of a half dozen former governors to solve the sequester crisis — or noncrisis — of implementing a 2.4 percent spending cut.

“Between the payroll tax hike, the doubled gas prices and the drop in incomes, most Americans have had to cut their own spending by far more than 2.4 percent,” Mr. Huckabee says.

“When I was governor of Arkansas, I had to cut spending by 10 percent. Somehow, schools stayed open and police still answered calls. In fact, if nobody in Washington can figure out how to cut 2.4 percent, then here’s my suggestion. Pick six former governors, three from each party, and give them two hours and lunch. They’ll find that much to cut before the fried pies arrive. I’d volunteer, but I doubt the president would trust me around the budget, or around the fried pies,” the former presidential hopeful concludes.

NEWS OF THE DAY

“The sequester has arrived! And this just in — life goes on.”

Fox Business News anchor Neil Cavuto, in a tweet Monday.

TWEETING THE LIBERAL BIAS

Uh-oh. Liberal bias has invaded Twitter. A yearlong, software-aided study of millions and millions of tweets during the 2012 election by the Pew Research Center reveals that “in some instances, the Twitter reaction was more pro-Democratic or liberal than the balance of public opinion.” Such events as news of President Obama’s re-election predictably sparked happy tweets.

“While polls showed that most voters said Mitt Romney gave the better performance in the first presidential debate, Twitter reaction was much more critical of Romney, according to an analysis of social media reaction to the debate,” the study noted.

“This tilt to the Twitter conversation was evident throughout the fall campaign. In nearly every week from early September through the first week of November, the Twitter conversation about Romney was substantially more negative than the conversation about Obama.”

SENATOR SEAL

A warrior is among those vying for the former Senate seat of Secretary of State John F. Kerry. Former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez declared his candidacy in an American Legion Hall in Quincy, Mass., joining three other Republicans and two Democrats seeking the nomination.

“You and I know that Congress has failed us. You and I know this path is unsustainable. You and I know our country is better than its politics,” Mr. Gomez declared, following an initial greeting to his audience in Spanish.

The former Navy pilot turned investment manager has support from a certain band of brothers.

“SEALs and other special operators are proven leaders in solving the most difficult challenges around the globe. It is time we start electing the same caliber of leaders to solve our problems in Washington,” says Ryan Zinke, a former commander of SEAL Team 6 and chairman of Special Operations for America, a political action committee.

“The past 50 years have seen a dramatic decrease of congressional representatives who have served in our armed forces. With gridlock at an all-time high and our trust in government near record lows, America needs leaders with integrity, honor and courage,” Mr. Zinke observes.

EAST SEEKS WEST

“Two great competitions! You could win an expense paid week in Beijing and a chance at a $15,000 Grand Prize. Or you could see your short film produced. More than 100 great prizes in all. No entry fee. Don’t miss out.”

And so begins China’s determined foray into show biz. The Cultural Assets Office of the Beijing Municipal Government has announced the 2013 Beijing International Screenwriting Competition, “open to U.S.-based contestants of all nationalities.” The state-run office only wants material centered on Beijing, however, and cheerfully frames the competition as a “groundbreaking initiative.”

“This competition is one of the first established routes for U.S. filmmakers to obtain direct access to the Chinese market,” says contest chairman Kevin Niu.

China, incidentally, is the world’s second-largest film market, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Proposals are due in April, winners will journey to China in June. See details here: writebeijing.org.

POLL DU JOUR

51 percent of Americans don’t know enough about the sequester to say if it’s a “good thing or a bad thing” for the nation; 45 percent of Republicans, 51 percent of independents and 56 percent of Democrats agree.

30 percent of Americans overall say the sequester is a bad thing for the nation; 25 percent of Republicans, 27 percent of independents and 38 percent of Democrats agree.

18 percent overall say the sequester is a good thing for the nation; 30 percent of Republicans, 22 percent of independents and 6 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Gallup poll of 1,028 U.S. adults conducted March 2 and 3

Querulous comments and cheerful press releases to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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