Inside the Beltway: The governors strut their strategy

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There are 29 Republican governors out there. But only three of them had a mighty big say in the last 48 hours by appearing at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s spring leadership meeting, a very swell affair staged in Las Vegas this weekend with all the trimmings. Each governor has varying degrees of presidential aspirations, each appears on a similar mission to define their GOP brand appeal, and underscore the fact that they are actually electable in their own fashion.

An emphatic, but sleeker New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — who could also make an able attack dog vice president — emphasized that he was in the business of winning election rather than making fancy talk.

“Apart from almost every other speaker, Christie showed a pragmatic understanding of the real nature of politics — winning comes first — without seeming as if he was ready to sell his soul to move from Trenton to Washington, D.C.” says Steve Sebelius, a political columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Outsider status is also a popular selling point among potential White House hopefuls at this point.

“The other party’s nominee is going to be in and of Washington. We need to send people from outside of Washington in with a message that says were going to put the power back in the hands of hard-working people,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker told his audience, adding, “But we can’t do that without winning the Senate back this fall.”

His grass-roots prowess fully engaged, Ohio Gov. John Kasich declared, “At the end of the day, if people know you get them and you get their struggles. I think we might get hired both in Congress and maybe even as the race unfolds for president of the United States.”

Who won the audience between the three of them? It appears to be the gentleman from Jersey. “It was Christie who was the most pragmatic, the most pugnacious, but also the most presidential,” Mr. Sebelius observes.

AND ONE FROM MR. BOLTON

Former U.N. ambassador John Bolton also attended the aforementioned Vegas gathering, and offered some advice for the White House on the Ukraine matter, and the persistent foreign policy drama and chess match provided by Russia President Vladimir Putin. Get backbone, or else.

“Weakness is the condition that invites others to take advantage of us. It’s not strength that’s provocative. It’s weakness,” Mr. Bolton said.

What exactly is Mr. Putin looking for, in the meantime? His goals are subject to interpretation in the press, even as conflicting reports surface about the number of Russian troops who now stand at the Ukraine border. In brief, a few narratives in the last 24 hours: Mr. Putin wants control of Finland and/or Armenia, he seeks diplomatic leverage through an aggressive show, or hopes for a “New World Order” — a report which came from the Voice of America.

A BIG WEEK FOR H.W.

It’s been a quarter of a century since the presidency of George H.W. Bush, and those who served in his administration and recall his legacy are ready to celebrate, Lone Star style. Things get underway at week’s end at the Bush Presidential Library Center on the campus of Texas A&M University.

Among those assembling for four days of policy talk, geopolitics, history, entertainment, good eats and socializing: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, former White House staffers C. Boyden Gray, Roger Porter, and John Sununu; former senators Tom Harkin and Alan Simpson, former Defense secretary Robert Gates, Fox News anchor Shannon Bream, country music kingpin Clay Walker and author Jon Meachum — to name just a very few.

Interestingly enough, topics of discussion among the learned guests will include the collapse of the Soviet Union, the reunification of Germany and the end of the Cold War — though the possibility of a new Cold War, or even a Cool War will likely surface in this crowd. The events marks its grand finale with a town-hall meeting showcasing Mr. Bush, the younger.

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