- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 9, 2016

Now underway: Mitt Romney’s fourth annual “E2 Summit” at a splendid resort in Park City, Utah. The E2 part of it stands for “experts and enthusiasts,” by the way. Some 300 Republican heavyweights have gathered for the weekend for some heavy discussions and much soul-searching about the direction of the Grand Old Party. They are also parsing the possibilities of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trumpand Mr. Romney himself, who still looks mighty presidential these days. The press is already poised to pounce.

“Can Romney stoke a convention fight?” asks The Washington Post.

“Please, Governor Romney, run for president once more,” wrote Jay Cost, a Weekly Standard staff writer, in an open letter in the publication.

“There is nobody else but you who is capable of such a bid. It is a credit to your modesty and sense of decency that you demurred and instead tried persuade others to run. But there really is nobody else. General James Mattis, Senators Ben Sasse and Tom Coburn, and David French are all estimable men, but the enormity of the task was too great for them to accept. Only you possess the experience, the political network, the good health, and the time to dedicate to this great endeavor. Only you have the standing with the voters to endure the assaults of Trump and Clinton. This is an incredible request, but you know that some Americans are called by Providence to give more than others.”

LIBERTARIANS PLAN A PORCUPINE FESTIVAL

While the political establishment ponders its fate, libertarians are busy planning the 13th annual Porcupine Freedom Festival — or “PorcFest” — a boisterous conference in the piney woods of New Hampshire. Sporting a prickly porcupine as their emblem and “Don’t tread on anyone” as a motto, the weeklong event is described by insiders as “the libertarian version of Burning Man” and billed as the largest annual gathering of libertarians in the world. It has been organized by The Free State Project, a liberty-minded nonprofit seeking to inspire like-minded folk to make their homes in the Granite State.

Voter interest in third-party candidates and Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson is fanning porcupine passion.

“With Johnson breaking double digits in the polls, everyone’s asking: Who are these people? While the Libertarian Party convention was a good primer on the quirks and qualities of your average libertarian, there’s no better place to see what they’re all about than PorcFest,” a spokesman advises Inside the Beltway.

There will be meetups for dogs, drum circles and family outings, along with classes in bonfire-making, fiber arts and homeschooling. Such organizations as Americans for Prosperity, Cato Institute, The Atlas Society, the Charles Koch Institute, Students for Liberty and the National Rifle Association are represented at the event, which begins June 19. Find their big doings here: PorcFest.com.

OBAMA’S THIRD TERM APPROACHES

Yes, yes. President Obama has endorsed Hillary Clinton’s quest for the White House, and the pair will campaign together in Wisconsin next week — a major event that will draw breathless and adoring coverage from a spellbound media. There are certain reality checks to be made, however.

“This endorsement makes clear what Hillary Clinton has telegraphed this entire campaign: She is running to give President Obama’s failed polices a third term,” declares Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. “President Obama has trampled the Constitution, buried our country in $9 trillion of crushing new debt, presided over the weakest economy in a generation and, with Clinton’s help, pursued a weak and dangerous foreign policy that has made us less safe.”

Mr. Priebus is not done yet, though.

Hillary Clinton is the first-ever presidential candidate to be under an FBI investigation, and her corrupt family foundation that has taken millions from foreign governments is an unprecedented conflict of interest,” Mr. Priebus adds. “I don’t think there’s been a candidate for this office more unethical and untrustworthy than Hillary Clinton.”

THE LADIES HAVE SPOKEN

Donald Trump has new allies. Women Vote Trump, a new super PAC, is up and running, organized by former tea party leader Amy Kremer and veteran Republican strategist Ann Stone. The effort has gotten considerable supportive sparkle from Diamond and Silk, the wildly popular team that has supported Mr. Trump for months via YouTube and late-night TV appearances, along with actress Stacey Dash. None are ready for a Hillary Clinton coronation.

“There are millions of women who support Donald Trump, and we’re not standing in the shadows anymore. We won’t be pushed around by bullies who tell us who we are supposed to like. And we’re not going to keep quiet just because the Washington, D.C., power elites want us to,” the group says.

A new video emphasizes both traditional values and the tenacity of women. The three-minute presentation also showcases the diversity of Mr. Trump’s female fans, advising, “We know he’s not perfect. But he’s genuine, and that’s a breath of fresh air. Proud American women have his back.”

WEEKEND CANDIDATE TRACKER

Short and to the point this week: Boosted by her endorsement from President Obama, Hillary Clinton plans campaign rallies in Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania — details to be announced. Former President Bill Clinton will be in Baltimore on Saturday night for a big fundraiser, with tickets fetching up to $27,000 a piece. PBS travelogue kingpin Rick Steves will host a Hillary fundraiser in Tacoma, Washington.

Donald Trump will be in Richmond, Virginia, on Friday for a major rally plus a quiet fundraiser, then he’s off to Tampa, Florida, for a morning rally on Saturday, followed by another in the afternoon in Moon Township, Pennsylvania.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For sale: “Ages Past” Queen Anne Victorian Mansion, built in 1902 in Cashton, Wisconsin. Eight bedrooms, nine baths, 6,000 square feet of living space, completely renovated. Original oak staircase, pocket doors and built-ins; stained glass windows, formal dining, living and game rooms; parlor, separate apartment. Commercial-grade kitchen, four-car garage, balconies, exterior turret, outdoor pergolas, formal landscaping. Priced at $279,000 through SpartaRealEstate.com; enter 1470667 in “MLS” of search function.

POLL DU JOUR

59 percent of Democratic voters say the process for selecting a presidential nominee is fair; 38 percent say it’s unfair.

59 percent of Republican voters also say the process for selection is fair; 38 percent say it’s unfair.

48 percent of all voters would vote for Hillary Clinton if the election were today; 44 percent would vote for Donald Trump.

43 percent of undecided voters would vote for Mr. Trump; 40 percent would vote for Mrs. Clinton, 17 percent remain undecided.

36 percent of voters say they are independents, 35 percent are Democrats, 29 percent are Republicans.

Source: An NBC News/Survey Monkey poll of 9,240 registered U.S. voters conducted May 30 to June 5.

Polite applause, churlish remarks to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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