- The Washington Times - Monday, February 19, 2018

The Conservative Political Action Conference — CPAC — rumbles to life in 24 hours. Doors open Wednesday for activism training and assorted receptions that herald a mammoth event which cheers up conservatives, whether they attend or not. With a tasteful flourish, the official agenda and speakers list has been released. As in years past, it is a doozy — with a lineup that includes President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, a host of Cabinet members, lawmakers and media folk — plus brilliant, gutsy and optimistic people who absolutely know their stuff.

CPAC appears to be a very pro-active event this time around, as in ready-to-rumble. Last year, the CPAC theme was “Reclaiming America’s promise.” This year, it’s “A Time for Action.”

As always, CPAC begins each day with a formal presentation of colors, the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer. The very first formal program Thursday morning is titled “An Affair to Remember: How the Far Left and the Mainstream Media Got in Bed Together,” moderated by Larry O’Connor, a columnist for none other than The Washington Times, and a radio host on local talk radio outlet WMAL. Mr. Pence will follow.

The big doings end Saturday with an appearance by Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House intelligence committee and a man very much in the news. Find an overview here

CPAC will be staged once again at the glittering Gaylord National Harbor resort on the banks of the Potomac River a few miles south of the nation’s capital. There is a huge, burgeoning, eager population of young attendees who are, as was once said, full of vim and vigor. Meanwhile, CPAC remains a significant and productive event at a pivotal time.

QUESTIONING A CNN TOWN HALL

CNN has announced it plans “to help facilitate the discussion” on gun control following the shocking school shooting in Florida. The network will air a live town hall Wednesday, exactly one week after the event, titled “Stand Up: The Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action.”

Those who survived the attack will be featured and the program will be moderated by CNN host Jake Tapper. The network says it has invited President Trump, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, and Rep. Ted Deutch to appear and to “hear directly from the grieving community.”

Some critics have a problem with this.

“Have they consulted with mental health experts about whether this is a positive way for young survivors to grapple with their grief? Have they taken into account the possibility that they are setting these kids up for a massive and devastating fall when the change they all know in their hearts they are about to create fails to occur?” asks David Marcus, a correspondent for The Federalist.

“What do we see in the eyes of the brave boys and girls taking to the airwaves to speak truth to power? Resolve? Strength? Honesty? Sure. But do we also still see terror? Are they still in those classrooms, are they still hoping to survive? Has that terrible day that will always be that terrible day ended? Or is that day defying night, lingering as a cable news special, halting the spin of their earth until they succeed in doing the impossible?” he asks.

“The children of Parkland are not going to solve our nation’s problem with mass shootings. They aren’t even a first step. They are traumatized victims of that problem and they are kids. They don’t belong on television. They belong with parents, educators, and mental health professionals who are more worried about them than about national gun policy or, dare we suggest, ratings,” Mr. Marcus advises. “Leave the kids alone. It’s our job to lead, not theirs. It’s our job to tell them the truth, not lie to them about a power to make change that they do not have.”

Mr. Trump, meanwhile, plans his own “listening session” with students and teachers on Wednesday, according to preliminary information from the White House.

WATERGATE REVISITED

A new book arrives Tuesday: “The Watergate: Inside America’s Most Infamous Address” which delves into both the dirt and design of glamorous and iconic building which has lasted through myriad scandals, political hoopla, commotion, fine dining, fancy decor and presidential administrations over decades.

Author Joseph Rodota has a calling for the subject matter. He is CEO of the Forward Observer, a political opposition research consulting firm, and served as communications manager in the Reagan White House — and as a top adviser to California Govs. Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Mr. Rodota traces The Watergate back to its earliest origins in 1948, when the strategic tract of land the building now occupies first came up for sale. It’s complicated. The intricate real estate deals, power posturing and extensive development plans might even intrigue President Trump, no stranger to such things.

Meticulous and intriguing details are many. The excruciating and often ironic politics of Washington have a showcase here, including such tidbits as this: the Democratic National Committee, a Watergate tenant, fell behind in its rent in 1972 and was nearly evicted, just prior to the infamous break-in that year that eventually brought down President Richard Nixon. Imagine that.

The book is published by William Morrow.

FOR THE LEXICON

“Make dating great again!”

That’s the motto for TrumpDating.com, a newly organized dating site for those interested in a “pro-Trump match” with the same political calling, or words to that effect.

“We believe that by matching patriotic and political viewpoints as a base foundation of the relationship, it will allow one to focus on what really matters — conversation, commonalities, and if all goes well, courting,” advises Friends Worldwide, a Miami-based internet business that specializes in created, well, specialized dating sites, including this one.

It is noteworthy that TrumpSingles.com, another dating site, is also in operation, complete with the motto “making dating great again.”

POLL DU JOUR

51 percent of Americans say North Korea is the “greatest enemy” of the United States; 58 percent of Republicans, 50 percent of independents and 45 percent of Democrats agree.

19 percent overall say Russia is the greatest enemy; 9 percent of Republicans, 19 percent of independents and 30 percent of Democrats agree.

11 percent overall say China is the greatest enemy; 15 percent of Republicans, 11 percent of independents and 7 percent of Democrats agree.

7 percent overall say Iran is the greatest enemy of the U.S.; 10 percent of Republicans, 7 percent of independents and 3 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Gallup poll of 1,044 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 1-10 and released Monday. Respondents were asked an open-ended question to name the nation they considered the “greatest enemy.”

Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.


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