No one can ever really have the final word at the Conservative Political Action Conference. The three-day event is too massive and too intense to be defined by a single statement, except maybe "a good time was had by all." But a collection of statements can at least lend an impression of an annual rite for conservatives, many of whom are simply relieved to be among like-thinkers, kindly patriots and provocateurs who are interested in the preservation of America and its most basic values.
Here then is a preliminary assemblage of wisdom from the heavy hitters who marched across the massive stage to have their say:
"Nobody ever heard the expression a number of years ago. The word 'trillion.'"
— Donald Trump.
"Our ideas are better than their ideas, and that's what we have to stand up for We have to stop letting the media define who we are."
— New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
"What we have in America is the exception, not the rule, in human history. Almost everyone who has ever lived on this planet didn't get to choose their leaders, and they didn't get to choose their life either."
— Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican.
"The biggest threat to our national security is Barack Obama."
— Former U.N. ambassador John Bolton.
"You feel it in your heart. You know it in your gut. Something in our country has gone wrong."
— National Rifle Association president Wayne La Pierre.
"The way I see it, let the other side be the party of personalities. We'll be the party of ideas. And I'm optimistic about our chances — because the Left? The Left isn't just out of ideas. It's out of touch."
— Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican.
AND THE CPAC REVIEWS ARE IN
Naturally, a humongous gathering of enthusiastic conservatives brings out the glee in the mainstream media. A sampling of their, uh, press wisdom via headlines in the last 24 hours.
"How Trump and LaPierre outshone Christie, Ryan and Cruz" (Los Angeles Times); "CPAC: Las Vegas for young conservatives" (CNN); "Christie makes frenemies at CPAC" (Daily Beast); "Republicans test drive stump speeches" (Wall Street Journal); "CPAC split: should conservatives be uncompromising or more inclusive?" (NBC News); "Old white guys pose with big gun: Welcome to CPAC 2014" (New York magazine).
MEDAL FOR A HERO
Just a single line from a once-classified 1945 report is convincing enough: "With full knowledge of the extreme hazards involved, T/Sgt/ Mayer volunteered to parachute into enemy territory as leader of a clandestine intelligence team."
The sergeant is question is Fred Mayer, one of the precious few surviving members of the Office of Strategic Services — the OSS — which is the predecessor of the CIA. Mr. Mayer, now 92 and a Jewish American, indeed dropped into Nazi territory and spent three months behind enemy lines with forged papers and, yes, often wearing a German officer's uniform.
He led highly-productive covert missions, relayed vital information and critical military intelligence and was eventually betrayed, arrested, tortured and imprisoned. Now his allies want to know why he has not been recognized, lo these 69 years later.
"The White House recently announced that it will present the Medal of Honor to veterans from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War whose heroic service was not recognized because of discrimination, on March 18th. We believe Office of Strategic Services veteran Fred Mayer, who lives in Charleston, West Virginia, should have been included in this list," says Charles Pinck, president of the OSS Society, a historically-minded interest group.
Sen. John D. Rockefeller, West Virginia Democrat, has contacted President Obama, also seeking recognition — a letter even — for this stalwart American. The lawmaker describes him as "a very humble man who does not brag about his wartime accomplishments."
Three cheers for Mr. Mayer. And maybe a medal, please.
MR. WEST AND MR. TRUMP
Allen West has an event that is now on the radar: That would be the "First Allen West Black Tie Boot Camp," which should be a most unusual gathering in late March, hosted by the former Florida congressman at a historic hotel on Palm Beach Island which has hosted myriad celebrities and politicians over the last six decades. Zounds, this is a spot that still serves Chateaubriand for two, all gussied up with asparagus, bearnaise sauce and fancy potatoes.
Meanwhile, Mr. West will only reveal that it's a strategy session for those intent on electing conservatives in as the midterm elections creep ever close.
And among the noteworthy activities: a morning workout with Mr. West, a swank reception with Donald Trump, plus visits with Fox News host and author Greg Gutfeld and Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent and newly-declared Republican congressional hopeful from Maryland.
ALONE IN ARIZONA
A memo from the That's-a-Shame Desk. Sen. John McCain has been declared the "least popular senator in the country" by Public Policy Polling, based on a close survey of 870 Arizona voters released Thursday. It revealed that 54 percent of the respondents disapproved of the job the veteran Republican was doing. Ironically, Democrats were a little more kinder and gentler: 53 percent of the Dems disapproved, compared to 55 percent of Republicans. And the ideologies? Don't even go there.
Among "very conservative" folk, 74 percent disapproved of Mr. McCain; among the very liberal, the number was 63 percent.
"The low opinion both Republicans and Democrats have of John McCain now means he could be vulnerable in both the primary and general election next time around," said Dean Debnam, president of the polling group. "George McGovern lost his Senate seat eight years after losing his presidential bid, and McCain would suffer a similar fate."
The senator trails in a theoretical matchup with Democrats, namely 2012 U.S. Senate hopeful Richard Carmona and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who each lead Mr. McCain by the same 42 percent to 35 percent margin.
WEEKEND REAL ESTATE
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POLL DU JOUR
• 63 percent of Americans say that Obamacare has "had no effect" on them or their families; 57 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of Democrats agree.
• 23 percent say the health-care law has "hurt" them or their family; 39 percent of Republicans and 7 percent of Democrats agree.
• 10 percent say the law has helped them or their family; 3 percent of Republicans and 17 percent of Democrats agree.
• 55 percent of Americans overall disapprove of Obamacare, 40 percent approve.
• 40 percent say the health-care law will make their personal health-care situation worse in the long run.
• 36 percent say Obamacare will not have any effect on their health-care situation in the long run, 21 percent say the law will eventually make things better.
Source: A Gallup poll of 1,533 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 28-March 2.
• Follow Jennifer Harper at Twitter.com/harperbulletin
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