- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 28, 2019

Some news organizations can’t resist taking potshots at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference now underway at a glittering resort a few miles south of the nation’s capital. Vanity Fair claims that “CPAC is adrift,” while Time magazine called the event a “raucous display of the Republican identity crisis” and Daily Beast dismissed it as a new version of “Trump’s Twitter feed.”

There was a new dynamic at CPAC this year, however. CNN host Van Jones took to the stage with American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp for a discussion about criminal justice reform. It was a cordial and thoughtful exchange, and many CPAC attendees gave Mr. Jones a standing ovation for his effort to journey to their turf.

“It’s important for people on the right and on the left to talk to each other in a civil way,” Mr. Schlapp told the audience. “There are things we do agree on.”

Meanwhile, all that negative press coverage does not much register with the CPAC folks, who instead concentrate on the consistent energy, influence and good will at the event, plus its draw for powerful, thoughtful people with considerable inner mettle.

Even after this busy week, President Trump addressed CPAC at 11:30 a.m. Saturday; enthusiasm was off the scale.



The CPAC Straw Poll also will be released Saturday. The annual survey is sponsored by The Washington Times and conducted by McLaughlin & Associates. On stage Saturday at 3:30 p.m. to release the results live will be Christopher Dolan, president and executive editor of The Washington Times, pollster Jim McLaughlin, and the aforementioned Mr. Schlapp.

One more thing: while 13,000 CPAC enthusiasts gather just outside the nation’s capital, thousands more were at Liberty University for a satellite CPAC event with some significant speakers.

On the Virginia campus: Gary Sinise, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, Rep. Ben Cline, former Virginia Rep. David Brat, Reagan Foundation director John Heubusch, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, World War II veteran Edgar Harrell and Steven Chealander, a former pilot for the Air Force Thunderbirds and a former military aide to Ronald Reagan.

“We are thrilled this year to be able to partner with CPAC to bring our students an unparalleled opportunity to prepare for the future at a critical time in our nation’s history,” says Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, home to more than 100,000 students.

CPAC satellite presentations were also featured at Colorado Christian University in Denver and Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.

MUELLER REPORT: SHOW US WHAT YOU GOT

Despite nonstop sideshows in the political arena, Americans have not quite forgotten about the Mueller investigation. And their message to the powers that be: Show us the details, please.

“Voters overwhelmingly believe that the forthcoming report by Robert Mueller should be made public by the Justice Department. Nearly 7 in 10 voters (68 percent) say the report should be made public, while just 10 percent say that it should not be,” reports Steven Shepard, campaigns editor for Politico.

So says a new Morning Consult poll that also found that 59 percent of Republicans and 79 percent of Democrats want to see the results of the investigation themselves — and likely for different reasons.

In recent weeks, some political heavyweights say the Mueller report has no damning evidence that President Trump had any involvement with “Russian collusion,” a factor that prompted the delay on the report’s release. Logically, Republicans would like to examine the report to clear Mr. Trump’s name once and for all in the matter and get on with things. The survey found that only 18 percent said the report should not be released.

And the Democrats? Still smarting over Mr. Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton almost three years ago — Democrats pine to prove the veracity of their narrative that the Trump campaign “stole” the election,

Do voters buy this? The news media may be disappointed in the answer, because there’s no landslide here: 43 percent of voters believe the collusion charges are true and 39 percent don’t — while a significant 18 percent simply don’t know — and maybe don’t care.

And the inevitable partisan divide: 73 percent of the Republicans say there was no Russian collusion, while 77 percent of Democrats disagree.

C-SPAN: THE BOOK EDITION

When things go mad in the nation’s capital, it is helpful to grab hold of some nice, refreshing history, particularly if it is presented in a bright and classy way. C-SPAN offers just such a panacea: “The Senate: An Enduring Foundation of Democracy,” a handsome new book that reveals the fabulous architectural details of the Senate chamber — ornate hallways, ceiling frescoes, historic mahogany desks and all. More than 130 color photographs show the way.

The book is “a unique insider’s tour through many of the locations where history was made,” notes Donald A. Ritchie, Senate historian emeritus who wrote the book’s foreword.

The book is a C-SPAN Publication, a collection of some very noteworthy volumes authored by the likes of C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb, CEO Susan Swain and others. Who knew? Find it all at C-Span.org/about/books.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For sale: President Chester A. Arthur’s “Summer White House,” built in 1796 on one acre in Sag Harbor, New York. Six bedrooms; five bathrooms; formal living, dining and family rooms; library; 5,900 square feet. Gourmet kitchen, media room, historic fireplaces, wine cellar. Gracious property has been carefully renovated. Pool, elegant terraces and landscaping, detached garage, a “short stroll” to the village, harbor views. Priced at $13.5 million through Elliman.com; find this historic home here.

POLL DU JOUR

49 percent of likely U.S. voters have an unfavorable opinion of socialism.

43 percent say that the Democratic Party should not officially declare itself a “socialist party.”

30 percent say the party should become socialist.

29 percent have a favorable impression of socialism.

23 percent are not sure how they feel about socialism.

Source: A Zogby Analytics Poll of 1,774 registered, likely U.S. voters conducted Feb. 14-17.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

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