NEWS AND OPINION:
There are murmurs that “Romney Republicanism” is alive and well. Indeed, Mitt Romney is not done with politics yet, and will underscore his increasingly pivotal role this week at a powerhouse gathering of Republican and conservative heavyweights most definitely closed to the curious press. Come Thursday, Mr. Romney hosts a three-day policy summit and “leadership retreat” on his home turf in Park City, Utah. And what leadership. The guests include Sens. Rand Paul and Rob Portman, Rep. Paul Ryan, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and such longtime policy stalwarts as George Shultz, Hank Paulson and Michael J. Morell, former deputy director of the CIA.
Also in the mix: Mr. Romney’s wife Ann, their son Tagg, a host of serious donors and even former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat famed for declaring he’d make a better president than Hillary Clinton. Politicians and wonks alike can go mountain biking, horseback riding and skeet shooting in leisure moments, but agenda always calls. The group will examine America’s status on the global stage, economic competitiveness and that pesky “big tent” thinking and voter outreach that so confounds the Grand Old Party.
It’s not one big he-man gathering, however. The GOP’s well-meaning, but often complicated, relationship with women voters will be addressed by a panel that includes New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Mia Love, U.S. Senate hopeful in Utah, former Congresswoman Mary Bono and strategist Ana Navarro.
Meanwhile, Mr. Romney has already made six canny 2014 primary endorsements for the GOP, including Joni Ernst in Iowa. All six of his chosen candidates have won their respective bouts, earning him the title of “kingmaker” from the Boston Herald, Des Moines Register, Real Clear Politics and other news organizations. He’s not done with a certain amount of grass-roots contact either. Currently underway: an all-expenses-paid date for a meal with the amenable Mr. Romney in Boston, a contest organized by the Republican Senatorial Committee and dubbed “Grab a Bite With Mitt!”
CLINTON ENNUI UNDERWAY
Now that Hillary Clinton‘s official book tour and political rebranding has commenced, one veteran Clinton family watcher reacts with a stifled yawn.
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“I’m no longer intrigued by what the Clintons are doing. I guess, A, because I know there’s no mystery to the Clintons for me. I know exactly what they’re doing. I know exactly what she’s angling for in all of this,” Rush Limbaugh told his audience Tuesday, even as Mrs. Clinton made her debut at a heavily orchestrated book signing in Manhattan.
“I don’t know if it’s a bad sign or not. What do you think? Is it a bad sign I am just bored to tears with Mrs. Clinton?” Mr. Limbaugh asked.
And about that book, all 656 pages of it, not to mention its rewards.
“The message of Hillary Clinton’s hollow ‘Hard Choices’ is whatever she says it is,” says Investor’s Business Daily columnist Andrew Malcolm, who adds, “It was an easy choice for Clinton to write ‘Hard Choices’ after her four years and million miles as President Obama‘s secretary of state. Five million dollars and a ghostwriter make a lot of things easier.”
There is an eager audience for Department of Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson, who will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on border security, where a “full-blown humanitarian crisis is underway,” according to Sen John Cornyn.
“Can anyone at the White House or in the administration say with certainty that the children being released from U.S. custody are leaving with an actual family member? For that matter, can the administration say with certainty that none of these children have been handed over to an adult with a criminal record?” the Texas Republican asks.
“The crisis we’re facing now represents a tragic and painful example of the law of unintended consequences. Two years ago, when the president stood in the Rose Garden and announced a unilateral administrative change in U.S. immigration policy, he probably thought he was doing a good thing,” Mr. Cornyn says. “But between that policy change and his broader failure to uphold our immigration laws — indeed, his statement that he essentially will not enforce broad swaths of those laws — the president has created an extremely dangerous incentive for children and their parents to cross into the United States under these sorts of treacherous and horrific circumstances.”
C-SPAN, incidentally, will cover Mr. Johnson’s appearance live, beginning at 10 a.m.
Though the Southland Conference is billed as a Nashville showcase for technology, entrepreneurship and Southern culture like barbecue and whiskey, it brought out philosophical musings from Al Gore on Tuesday. A featured speaker, the former vice president had a thing or two to say about NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
“He clearly violated the law, so you can’t say, OK, what he did is all right. It is not. But what he revealed in the course of violating important laws included violations of the Constitution that were way more serious than the crimes he committed. In the course of violating important laws he also provided an important service, because we did need to know how far this has gone,” Mr. Gore explained to his audience.
“This is a threat to the heart of democracy. Democracy is, among other things, a state of mind. If any of us are put in a position where we have to self-censor and think twice about what we write in an email or what we click on for fear that somebody reading a record of this may misunderstand that kills democracy,” Mr. Gore declared.
SNOWDEN IN HOLLYWOOD
We’ll soon know much about the aforementioned Mr. Snowden. Indeed, there’s already a major movie in development based on “No Place to Hide,” journalist Glenn Greenwald‘s account of his dealings with the whistle-blower still in Russian exile. Sony and the same creative team that produced the most recent James Bond films are behind the project.
Now here comes another one.
Oliver Stone is already at work on a screenplay based on “Time of the Octopus”, a Snowden-themed novel written by Mr. Snowden’s own Russia-based lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena. Mr. Stone will also draw from “The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man,” a nonfiction narrative by Luke Harding, a foreign correspondent with The Guardian, the newspaper that initially published Mr. Snowden’s revelations.
“This is one of the greatest stories of our time,” Mr. Stone observes.
One story, perhaps, but two films.
POLL DU JOUR
• 70 percent of Americans say illegal immigrants mostly take “unwanted jobs” in this country.
• 62 percent favor an immigration system that allows illegals currently living in the U.S. a way to become citizens provided they meet certain requirements.
• 61 percent say the current immigration system in the U.S. is “broken.”
• 47 percent say the number of illegal immigrants has increased in the last five years.
• 46 percent say illegals hurt the economy by driving down wages; 45 percent say they help the economy by providing low-cost labor.
• 22 percent say illegals “take jobs away” from Americans.
• 19 percent say illegals should be identified and deported.
• 17 percent say they should become permanent legal residents but not citizens.
Source: A Public Religion Research Institute/Brookings Institution survey of 1,538 U.S. adults conducted April 7-27 and released Tuesday.
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