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Southern Republican Leadership Conference kicks off 2012 race

1. The eyes of the Republican political world will turn to New Orleans today as a cavalcade of GOP leaders, wanna-be leaders and national reporters will be in the Big Easy for the Southern Republican Leadership Conference.

The event is widely being cast as the first "cattle call" of the 2012 Republican presidential primary fight although the absence of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee makes it slightly less star-packed.

Still, during the three-day event, which begins this evening, a number of the brightest lights in the party from former Alaska governor Sarah Palin to Texas Gov. Rick Perry to Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour -- among many, many others -- will address the crowd.

C-SPAN, the Fix's favorite television network, will be broadcasting many of the speeches live and we'll be watching, listening and blogging closely. The Post will also have a strong contingent on the ground with Dan Balz, Amy Gardner and new addition Dave Weigel filing regular updates.

In the meantime, here's a few storylines to keep an eye on:

1) Embattled Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is scheduled to attend. He'll be the talk of the gathering, the first time a large group of GOP officials and operatives have gotten together since the Voyeur controversy. How does Steele handle himself? And do any prominent Republicans break script and call on the chairman to step aside?

2) From the second she arrives at SRLC to the moment she leaves, Palin will be under a microscope. (She is scheduled to speak Friday afternoon.) Of late, Palin has shown signs -- her Democratic target list for 2010, for example -- that she is willing to play nice with the party establishment. Does she maintain it with her speech?

3) Without Romney, Huckabee and Pawlenty in attendance, there is an opportunity for someone -- Perry, Barbour, Indiana Rep. MIke Pence -- to stand out and draw a bit of buzz coming out of the event. Who seizes that opportunity?

4) There will be a straw poll at SRLC. Texas Rep. Ron Paul's supporters have pledged to deliver another straw poll win for their man -- following on the heels of his victory at CPAC in February. If that happens, look for some within the party -- including the leading 2012 candidates -- to push for an end to these sorts of straw polls.

2. Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak (D) is genuinely undecided about whether to seek a 10th term in the fall, a decision fraught with national implications in the battle for the House.

"Every two years, Congressman Stupak discusses with his family and his constituents whether to seek reelection," his office said in a statement released Wednesday. "This year is no different."

Stupak, a staunchly pro-life Democrat, was front and center in the health care fight, emerging as the central opponent to any bill that created the possibility that federal funds could be spent on abortions. Stupak eventually voted for the final bill after President Obama issued an executive order reaffirming that no money would be directed to fund abortions.

While Stupak was hailed as a hero by his many of his colleagues in the House -- we even named him a "winner" -- he was assailed from the ideological right and left and even drew a primary challenge in the form of Charlevoix County Commissioner Connie Saltonstall.

That experience has worn on Stupak, acknowledged a well-informed Democratic source, who said that conversations are ongoing to convince the Michigan Democrat that he should stay on in Congress to see the health care bill implemented.

A Stupak retirement would create another tough open seat race for Democrats as his massive 1st district, which takes in the state's Upper Peninsula, gave Obama just 50 percent of the vote in 2008.

To date, 15 Democratic members aren't seeking reelection this fall while 18 Republicans are headed for the exits.

3. Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter holds a 53 percent to 32 percent edge over Rep. Joe Sestak with less than six weeks remaining before the two will face off in a Democratic primary, according to a new poll conducted by Quinnipiac University.

Specter has held a solid double-digit lead for much of the primary race, which will culminate on May 18, as Sestak has been slow to begin to introduce himself to voters. (We'll have more on Sestak's strategy in the race later in the day.)

In the Q poll nearly six in ten likely Democratic voters said they didn't know enough about the second-term congressman to offer an opinion; among those that did have an opinion on Sestak, 33 percent had a favorable impression while six percent felt unfavorably. Specter, despite his party switch last spring, has very strong ratings with 60 percent viewing him in a favorable light and 26 percent viewing him unfavorably.

The bright spot for Sestak in the poll is that 37 percent of likely Democratic voters said that they might change their minds about which candidate to support between now and May 18. And, Sestak's supporters are the more committed to their candidate; 67 percent of Sestak voters said they had made up their mind and wouldn't change it while 58 percent of Specter supporters said the same.

4.Former Maryland governor Bob Ehrlich's decision to pursue a rematch against Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is a boost to Republican prospects in the state and virtually ensures a tight contest this fall.

Four years ago, O'Malley bested Ehrlich 53 percent to 46 percent, giving the latter the ignominious distinction of being the lone Republican governor to lose in 2006. Ehrlich seemed to embrace the re-run idea, telling the assembled crowd at his formal announcement on Wednesday: "Welcome to history, part two."

The Republican has put together the same consulting team -- pollster Glen Bolger and media consultant Russ Schriefer -- that helped run that race and seems likely to make the case that the promises O'Malley made on the campaign trail four years ago have not been kept.

There is a dearth of quality polling in the race but what is out there suggests that O'Malley starts with a mid-single digit lead.

The critical question for Ehrlich is whether he can avoid a repeat of the swamping he took in the Washington suburbs in the 2006 race. In that contest, O'Malley carried Montgomery County by 25 points and Prince George's County by an eye-popping 58 points. Ehrlich must improve on those margins if he wants to wind up on the winning end of the ledger in November.

5. Former New York governor Elliot Spitzer made clear (again) that he is not yet done with politics. "I love politics," Spitzer told Fortune magazine. "I've never said I would never consider running for office again."

Spitzer seems set on a return to politics but, as we have written before, has been talked out of trying to make that return this fall -- given that such a race would come roughly two and a half years after he resigned the governorship amid a sex scandal.

Impossible? No. It wouldn't be easy for Spitzer to rehabilitate his political career but he would almost certainly benefit from a bit of buyer's remorse given the ongoing problems of Gov. David Paterson (D) and, if there is anywhere that believes strongly in second chances, it's New York. (See Strawberry, Darryl and Gooden, Dwight).

A Spitzer run for almost any office would draw a circus-like atmosphere that he would have to overcome to be taken seriously. But what a race it would be.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 8, 2010; 5:32 AM ET
 
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Comments

"If Deeds campaign manager(s) had been even more effective, we wouldn'be be having this discussion. I fault them enirely with what we are facing now. What are we in for next. McD has years to subject us to this type of thing. He ran as a moderate, and now is showing is real stripes. Didn't anyone besides me see this coming? C'mon, I know you did. Intelligent people who actually have an opinion based upon reality usually do. We didn't turn out at the polls the way we should have. We took a Democratic win for granted and now we are going to pay for it. Posted by: Sofie230"

Deeds losing to McD is proof positive that justice happens. Now the Republicans will have to raise taxes in Virginia, and a republican will have to sign the bill. Forever after no Republican will be able to run against a democrat on the "He Raised Your taxes" platform.

You get one whole administration full of McConnell proclamations and one humongous tax increase. It will be really funny to Democrats in Maryland and the District. West by god Virginians will find it kinda funny too. NC, and Tennessee, your other good neighbors will thank you very much for the example. Kentucky, so overwhelmed with such gifts to political humor as Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell will hardly notice.

Us buckeyes will promise not to snicker when justice gives us Kasich and R majorities in both state houses but the T-People give us a straight ticket D Congressional delegation. I could gladly suffer the defeat to see John himself try to smile when he signs a bill totally rescinding all of Bob Taft's tax cuts and tacking on 2% too boot. The pucker on his face when he leaves the State House after that performance will be significantly worth it.

Posted by: ceflynline | April 8, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Good evening one and all. Come November, vote Democrat!

Posted by: hoser3 | April 8, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

37th street is about 2 city blocks short of a Rubik's cube.

Posted by: hoser3 | April 8, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

If Deeds campaign manager(s) had been even more effective, we wouldn'be be having this discussion. I fault them enirely with what we are facing now. What are we in for next. McD has years to subject us to this type of thing. He ran as a moderate, and now is showing is real stripes. Didn't anyone besides me see this coming? C'mon, I know you did. Intelligent people who actually have an opinion based upon reality usually do. We didn't turn out at the polls the way we should have. We took a Democratic win for granted and now we are going to pay for it.

Posted by: Sofie230 | April 8, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

How much for tickets to the southern thing? Will there be office supplies? Hookers?

Posted by: hoser3 | April 8, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Democrats are at home, kicking their butts for being short-sighted, for supporting a president that didn't deserve it, for being stupid and voting for the HC, for putting their necks on the line for a liar - who may or may not come through with a job for them after November, for betraying their constituents, for lying to the American people, and for going down in infamy as traitors to democracy.

Welcome to the USSA! Remember November.

Posted by: easttxisfreaky | April 8, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the RNC had better get a good read on the monster they are creating by wooing the T-Party as if it were the republican base.

If they keep telling the T's what they want tyo hear, that THEY are the majority and MUST be listened to, the T-s are going to come back and tell the R-s that, INDEED, they are the majority, and the RNC had better listen.

That just might be the last bump needed to detonate the Republican party explosive, and shatter the party permanently.

Having been told over and over by the rightmost of the righteous that THEY are the base, when the base doesn't get lots of nominations to run as R's in the November election, they may take their candidates onto the ballot all by their lonesome. Very few Republican incumbents, and almost no Republican challengers canstill win when 15% of the voters go off and vote for a T, and every one of those voters was a former r voter. 35% of the vote just isn't going to win for ANY Republican.

So go Sarah, court the T-Party leaders your bosses, because that split makes it easy on the Democrats.

Posted by: ceflynline | April 8, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Chris:

We don't care. If we want to see racist clowns gathering to have a party, we can watch old clips of the "World at War" series with Hitler and the brown shirt boys laughing it up in Munich, or Nuremburg. No thanks, been there, done that, buried their NAZI butts 6 feet under, and don't appreciate any revised, kindler, gentler, Americanized version of them either.

Posted by: pookiecat | April 8, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

@reason5: oh how I hope you're right about Rick Perry. I'd love to see my Governor become the GOP nominee in 2012 for two solid reasons:

1) He thinks Texas' secession from the United States could be a good thing

2) The last Texas Governor elected to the Presidency did a bang-up job

For all their noise, teabaggers are still only 20% of the population and this guy would appeal to them and few else. Bring him on!

Posted by: BigTunaTim | April 8, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse


I am sick and tired of the democrats aiming their fingers at people - and falsely calling people racist.

And running for office pretending to be a moderate - and going for far-left wing policies once in office.

THIS IS WHAT IS IMPORTANT - NOT THIS CRAP THE DEMOCRATS ARE HANDING YOU:

The 14-year old youth who police said drove the minivan in last week's mass shooting in Southeast Washington has been charged with 41 counts in juvenile court, including four of first-degree murder while armed, attempted murder while armed and assault with intent to kill, according to court records revealed Wednesday.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | April 8, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Mommy came home from work and shut the door too hard.

Posted by: shrink2 | April 8, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Who woke up 37th?

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 8, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Leinenkugel is pronounced LI NEN KU GEL

It's not that hard to say.

.


.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | April 8, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Charlevoix is pronounced like it rhymes with TOY - Char LE VOY

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | April 8, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

"So where is Tim Pawlenty's "passionate" support?"

Did Pawlenty ever have passionate support within his state? Especially after I-35 bridge collapsed and Pawlenty said there was no reason to increase fuel taxes $0.05 for infrastructure repair.

The U.S. needs candidates with a can-do attitude, IMO another party of "NO!" guy.

Posted by: knjincvc | April 8, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Gallenod, being seen as the "none of the above" candidate would certainly benefit Tim Pawlenty, but he'll have to be very careful about the timing of that -- if he peaks as the "none of the above" candidate early, he'll be seen as a threat and his flaws will be dredged up and used against him. He might get Republicans to solidify behind him if they see him as the safe alternative to a riskier candidate like Sarah Palin, but it will take perfect timing or the voters might sour on him before he gets a chance to make an impact.

Plus, I wonder if Republicans might be wary about nominating a "safe" candidate in 2012. The last two presidential elections have seen a compromise nominee viewed by most of his party as "safe" get stomped by a more enthusiastic guy with some celebrity appeal. The respective parties thought John Kerry and John McCain would be seen by voters as measured alternatives to flashier opponents they perceived as being short on substance, but they might know better now. For all their bluster about how the American people are going to turn on President Obama, Republicans have to know that anyone with the level of charisma Obama has will be extremely difficult to beat at the national level.

Posted by: GJonahJameson | April 8, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

1. I think Texas Governor Rick Perry has a real shot to shine at SRLC. Perry is truly conservative and comes off as genuine and as someone who believes what he's saying. He's governed that way in Texas for the past 10 years, and the Texas economy has way outperformed the national economy. Perry is also an outside the beltway conservative and he likely would appeal to independents with his messege. He trounced Kay Hutchinson, as few thought he could, in the Texas Republican primary last month as proof that he is an adamant campaigner and has lots of fundraising capabilities. Through the absence of Romney, Pawlenty & Huck, it gives Perry the big conservative opening and I predict Perry is the star of the show.

2. Michigan is going red in 2010, with R's picking up the Gov. & Lt. Gov. spots and 2 or 3 house seats. Stupek is in trouble for reelection if he runs, and if he doesn't R's get 3 seats with Stupeks seat as the 3rd.

3. I'm surprised the Pa. primary hasn't gone nastier than it has. I really expected fireworks. However, I do think Specter will be victorious in this primary. I hope so, as that pits Specter vs. Toomey for that Senate seat. Will the wiley veteran Specter prevail again? Will Toomey and anti Washington anger reign supreme? The GE will be incredibly nasty b/t Toomey & Specter until the end. Specter has had to spend on this primary while Toomey has saved for the GE. Great race this is.

Posted by: reason5 | April 8, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Ehrlich/OMalley, it's true that Ehrlich was likely the only serious candidate the Republicans could have against OMalley. But that doesn't mean OMalley's in trouble. Two things of note that are probably pretty important that Cillizza didn't touch on:

1) Ehrlich's gubernatorial win in 2002 was greatly aided by two things that won't help him this time - KKT was a terrible candidate, and outgoing Dem governor Glendening was horribly unpopular at the end of his term. In strongly blue Maryland, the combination of these two things created a very unique window of opportunity that Ehrlich capitalized on. I have real doubts that such a window is open for Ehrlich this time around, even despite the national headwinds blowing against Dems at the moment.

2) Maryland is one of those places where Obama can easily swoop in and raise tons of cash and get out the vote in the DC suburbs for OMalley. Again, KKT had no Obama equivalent to help her in 2002 and that was a big break for Ehrlich.

Because Ehrlich has good name recognition, and because Dems will generally be playing defense this time around, Ehrlich should be competitive and force the Dems to spend some money and exert some effort to keep OMalley on solid footing. It's not that Ehrlich can't win. But the deck is stacked against him pretty heavily in my view.

Posted by: mbcnewspaper | April 8, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

CC wrote:
"A Spitzer run for almost any office would draw a circus-like atmosphere that he would have to overcome to be taken seriously. But what a race it would be."

Spitzer should take on a pro-bono case for the WV miners against mine owner Blankenship.
$10 million bucks for each dead miner and penalties that will bankrupt the company.

No matter what Spitzer comes out a rehabilitated hero for taking the case.

Posted by: knjincvc | April 8, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

While Pawlenty may not have the grassroots support of a Ron Paul or Sarah Palin or the establishment support of Mitt Romney, he will run on the premise that he will appeal to voters who see the other R candidates as flawed (perhaps fatally) in some way. He can do that because he and any of his own flaws are either less well-known or less objectionable than theirs.

In short, he will present himself as someone with executive experience who is less flawed (and consequently more appealing on a national level) than the others. While it's unlikely he'll be embraced by those who support Sarah Palin, he could pick up Romney or Paul supporters who don't want to see her or another social conservative carrying the R banner in 2012.

Posted by: Gallenod | April 8, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

sean4 posted:

"So where is Tim Pawlenty's "passionate" support?"

Some here would say you came to its webpage.

12BB, thanks for your reply yesterday.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 8, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I see two years later and your anti-Paul bias hasn't dimmed any Chris.

Apparently grassroots politics means nothing to you. The fact that a candidate or a politician has passionate supporters means in your eyes there are "LaRouchies" and anything Paul accomplishes is tainted by "passionate" support base.

So where is Tim Pawlenty's "passionate" support? Don't you think it's smart for a candidate for President to have actual fans willing to do the work of organizing and putting one's name out in front of the public before even thinking about running? It would save a lot of people a lot of grief.

Posted by: sean4 | April 8, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Noacoler wrote: And you need to stop getting your writing style out of comic books!

Thilly wabbit! Exclamation points are for kids!
_____________________________________

Hey Noacoler . . . interesting you would rather talk about punctuation rather than the substance of the comment (no exclamation point needed)

Got anything else?


Posted by: reddog62 | April 8, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

If republicans are just pure obstructionists then the dems are pure destructionists!

Liberals like to ignore the fact that even with super majorities they couldn't pass this piece of crap legislation without selling their souls!

They need to blame themselves for focusing on the wrong agenda that's wrong for America!

==

And you need to stop getting your writing style out of comic books!

Thilly wabbit! Exclamation points are for kids!

Posted by: Noacoler | April 8, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/08/opinion/08collins.html?hp

Gail Collins, laying waste to the Right... with a great deal of humor.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 8, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Noacoler wrote: Yeah because they're aghast that someone as brazenly stupid as Palin actually gets taken seriously by some people.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I love how the left calls anyone "stupid" they disagree with!

It was during his campaign Obama didn't even know how many states were in the union . . .

You can go on youtube and see him say "We've visited 57 states and have two more to go!"

He's such a brain! That's why his economic policies are so great!!

Posted by: reddog62 | April 8, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Chris, I think you're wrong about Pawlenty not being there. He's on their front page (you have to scroll right to get past all the black Republicans) and also listed in the schedule to speak on Saturday.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 8, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Let's revisit HCR for a minute. Remember how the Republicans in Congress were calling for immediate repeal. Now, they are walking back from repeal according to James Antle, "Republicans Against Repeal".

With disgust dripping from each word, Antle reports that "Well, that didn't take long. After Democratic supermajorities rammed through their health care bill, Republicans were full of sound and fury about how this injustice will not stand...But in the GOP, cooler heads always prevail.

What these Republican heads want to cool down is the campaign to repeal the health care takeover...

none other than Sen. John Cornyn, the Texas Republican who chairs the committee responsible for getting GOP candidates elected to the Senate this fall. Cornyn initially unfurled the "repeal and replace" banner, only to quickly make an exception for the "non-controversial stuff," such as the ban on preexisting conditions which is unfortunately exactly what necessitates the "controversial stuff" like the individual mandate. ..Cornyn was later seen pouring cold water on the idea entirely. Asked by the AP whether he was going to advise Republican senatorial nominees to run on repeal, he said, "Candidates are going to test the winds in their own states... In some places, the health care bill is more popular than others....

Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee doesn't need a weatherman to tell him where the wind blows: "It's just not going to happen."

Republican candidates seeking to join Cornyn and Corker in the club have gotten the memo. Shortly before Obamacare passed, Congressman Mark Kirk -- the Republican running to fill Barack Obama's old Senate seat in Illinois -- bravely vowed to "lead the effort" to repeal the bill. Now he glumly tells a local newspaper, "Well, we lost."

Antle acidly concludes "If Republicans cannot repeal an unpopular bill where many of the costs are front-loaded, many of the benefits are yet to come, and where the creation of another entitlement is as detrimental to their own partisan self-interest as it is to the nation's finances, then conservatives cannot count on Republicans to undo very much of what they routinely denounce and campaign against."

http://spectator.org/archives/2010/04/08/republicans-against-repeal
-----------------------------------------

I hear another big ri-i-i-i-p in the GOP pup tent.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | April 8, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Palin's got the better working model. She's on everyone's radar.

==

Yeah because they're aghast that someone as brazenly stupid as Palin actually gets taken seriously by some people.

Funniest are the ones who shoot for the moon and say she's more qualified than Obama.

"how's thet hopey changey thing werkin' fer ya"

Stature!

Posted by: Noacoler | April 8, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Palin's got the better working model. She's on everyone's radar.

==

Yeah because they're aghast that someone as brazenly stupid as Palin actually gets taken seriously by some people.

Funniest are the ones who shoot for the moon and say she's more qualified than Obama.

"how's thet hopey changey thing werkin' fer ya"

Stature!

Posted by: Noacoler | April 8, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

sailingaway1, hey,

"What is it with this continuing meme that 'if Ron Paul wins it doesn't matter but if anyone else does, regardless of how many free tickets they hand out, it means something'?"

To me, this is because Ron Paul is too many things to not enough people. This is to say he is an iconoclast, so the real money will never organize behind him. When you can't be bought, like for example Howard Dean, you can't win beyond the level of local politics. Also, his anti war position is anathema to most Republicans. But you are the Ron Paul supporter, what do you think the answer is?

Posted by: shrink2 | April 8, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

drindl wrote:
'I can't wait to find out which Republicans are chosen to bite the hand that feeds them, for the good of the order. '

Do you think they wll block financial reform, en masse? Their posture so far as been pure obstruction just for the sake of it.
___________________________________

If republicans are just pure obstructionists then the dems are pure destructionists!

Liberals like to ignore the fact that even with super majorities they couldn't pass this piece of crap legislation without selling their souls!

They need to blame themselves for focusing on the wrong agenda that's wrong for America!

Posted by: reddog62 | April 8, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I'm a little bit surprised to see Mike Huckabee taking a pass on this one, seeing as, um, he is a Southern Republican. Even if he's scaling back his presidential endeavors and-or has been made somewhat redundant by Sarah Palin, you'd think he would still have good reason to attend. Mitt Romney's absence comes as no surprise to me, as the South isn't his key voting bloc and he won't be relying on that area in his race for the presidential nomination. Tim Pawlenty I could see as a guy who might benefit from getting a little bit of support in the South, but maybe he's worried about getting blasted (metaphorically, of course) by some of the more extreme attendees and getting put in a bad PR situation.

I'd expect Michael Steele to be as close to invisible as possible at this thing. Getting the crowd fired up isn't one of his strengths, anyway.

Posted by: GJonahJameson | April 8, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"Southern Republican" is redundant

Posted by: Noacoler | April 8, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

"Do you think they wll block financial reform, en masse?"

They would love to, but they can't. After everyone reports for duty again next week, we are going to see some serious hand-wringing, if not dislocated elbows and shoulders.

Financial reform in some form has to pass or the whole charade of representative politics will be exposed. Our leaders will have to say they did something to keep Wall Street at bay. After all, the robber barons had a smashing year in 2009 even as the rest of the country (tax payers) amassed even heavier national debt.

Problem is, two weeks ago the NYT reported the corporate speech flowing from Wall Street to Republicans was running at the rate of $1.3 million a day, a day. That is a lot of speech and it ain't free.

So I am anticipating some poor Republicans are going to have to vote for reform, while the rest get to bank the speech and vote against.

Posted by: shrink2 | April 8, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Will Senator David "Diapers" Vitter, R-Cheap Hookers, lead conventioneers on a tour of New Orleans' finest brothels?

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | April 8, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Drindl: The people who will vote for Romney or Pawlenty in the R primaries are business conservatives and that mass of people, both R's and I's that are moderately conservative but not vocal about it.

What will matter is how many of each type of R primary voter show up in each state: Tea Party, social, defense, fiscal, business (there is a difference between the last two) R's and conservative leaning independents.

It will probably come down at the end to either Romney or Pawlenty and whoever the social C's unite behind. If the Tea Partiers are still a force in 2012, it may well be the latter who gets the nomination, as the people who support Romney and Pawlently may not be as motivated to vote in the primaries or be particularly vocal at the caucuses.

Posted by: Gallenod | April 8, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I was critical of the Dave Weigel hiring because I figured it was just another rightwing mouthpiece in a paper that's inundated with them. But I've been hearing a lot of good stuff about him even from people like Ezra Klein. If he's an intelligent right-winger, I'm all for that. No reason that the hire of an idiot like Thiessen means the Post can't hire someone smart.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 8, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Speaking as one of Ron Paul's supporters, I can say that we have not 'pledged to bring in another straw poll win', although we always would LIKE one. Ron Paul is the most recent person to sign on to the event and by the time he did (two or three weeks ago) most of the convention hotels were already sold out.

What is it with this continuing meme that 'if Ron Paul wins it doesn't matter but if anyone else does, regardless of how many free tickets they hand out, it means something'?

I expect Palin to win, her supporters have known she was attending since last year, she is very popular in the south, and she didn't attend CPAC making this sort of her big deal. We will support Ron Paul, but spreading his message is a major goal of ours, not just winning straw polls.

Posted by: sailingaway1 | April 8, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

>>>>The Post will also have a strong contingent on the ground with Dan Balz, Amy Gardner and new addition Dave Weigel filing regular updates.

Dave Weigel has delivered superb analyses via MSNBC programs.

Posted by: angie12106 | April 8, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

'I can't wait to find out which Republicans are chosen to bite the hand that feeds them, for the good of the order. '

Do you think they wll block financial reform, en masse? Their posture so far as been pure obstruction just for the sake of it.

Posted by: drindl | April 8, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Specter isn't great, he's one of those 70/30 types...

Posted by: drindl | April 8, 2010 8:59 AM

tuesday specter said "I’m proud to have been endorsed by the College Republicans." he was talking to penn state democrats. must have been real embarrassing for him. sestak is probably still laughing.

Posted by: doof | April 8, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Now that rightwing extremist Teabagger Glenn Beck has deemed Romney (the great white GOP hope for 2012) a socialist - Teabaggers are hoping their new star Rubio will win his FL Senate race and run for prez in 2012 because....wait for it - Pres. Obama did and won!!
LOL

Posted by: angie12106 | April 8, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Now that rightwing extremist Teabagger Glenn Beck has deemed Romney (the great white GOP hope for 2012) a socialist - Teabaggers are hoping their new star Rubio will win his FL Senate race and run for prez in 2012 because....wait for it - Pres. Obama did and won!!
LOL

Posted by: angie12106 | April 8, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Rick Santorum's would make a good funeral director much else. Or I could see him as Cotton Mather, condemning young women who 'tempted' him to burn at the stake.

Posted by: drindl | April 8, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Gallenod 'I can see why Romney and Pawlenty would be no-shows at the Southern conference: it's not exactly their biggest fan base.'

That's the interesting thing. Do either of them actually have one? I don't see anyone all of that excited abuot either. Their support seems more grudging.

'Huckabee not attending may be an indication that he doesn't intend to run again in 2012.'

Huckabee has gotten on the bad side of grover norquist -- the real mover and shaker of the R party. He's going nowhere.

"It's interesting how much winning the gubernatorial primary in Texas seems to have improved Rick Perry's status. Last year the only way he'd have been described as one of the "brightest lights" in the Republican party is if his hair were on fire."

teehee.

Posted by: drindl | April 8, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

"Once the financial reform package passes..."

I can't wait to find out which Republicans are chosen to bite the hand that feeds them, for the good of the order.

Posted by: shrink2 | April 8, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I'm so glad SRLC has Rick Santorum speaking. He's lost and adrift, losing presence in the public eye. Those conservative think tanks can keep Santorum's kids in shoes but they can do little to make a pinched, crabby hatriot attractive to voters.

Palin's got the better working model. She's on everyone's radar.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 8, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I'm disappointed by Sestak's apparent lack of initiative, but my hypothsis is that he was privately asked not to aggravate Spector until certain key legislation was passed so Spector wouldn't retaliate against the Dems as a whole by withholding his vote.

Once the finanancial reform package passes, I would expect Sestak to become a lot more aggressive.

Posted by: Gallenod | April 8, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

REGARDING ANOTHER 'CHICKEN LITTLE' FALSE TERROR ALERT...

This time, an Arab diplomat sneaking a smoke in a jetliner loo and cracking wise becomes "shoe bomber 2" for several hours -- another "Be afraid, be very afraid" moment? POTUS "briefed" on Air Force One? Does anyone else see a pattern here?

There is a lesson here -- hopefully POTUS is waking up to it:

***

A "Bushie Watch List?"

IS AN OMAMA 'TRUE JUSTICE SQUAD' QUIETLY WORKING TO RESTORE CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS?

Is an Eric Holder DOJ "True Justice Squad" keeping book on rogue Bush holdovers across the bureaucracy...

as some Bush-Cheney leave-behinds continue to oversee secret multi-agency programs of covert microwave torture, police-protected vigilante harassment, and financial sabotage of extrajudicially and unjustly "targeted" American citizens...

...many targeted for their politics, activism, or ethnic background?

Vic Livingston reports -- see latest comments to:

http://nowpublic.com/world/u-s-govt-uses-cbs-news-cover-microwave-cell-tower-torture
http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "U.S. Silently Tortures Americans with Cell Tower Microwaves"

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 8, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

AndyR3: Nice analysis at 7:08. Absolutely on target.

I can see why Romney and Pawlenty would be no-shows at the Southern conference: it's not exactly their biggest fan base. If either of them wins the 2012 nomination is will likely be due to winning R primaries in the rest of the country outside the South.

Huckabee not attending may be an indication that he doesn't intend to run again in 2012.

It's interesting how much winning the gubernatorial primary in Texas seems to have improved Rick Perry's status. Last year the only way he'd have been described as one of the "brightest lights" in the Republican party is if his hair were on fire.

Posted by: Gallenod | April 8, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

And now that I think about it, I don't think Jefferson was even convicted on the charge that involved the freezer money.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 8, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

"Rep. William Jefferson [D] was convicted of taking $500,000 in bribes and sentenced to 13 years.

Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham [R] was convicted of taking $2,400,000 in bribes and sentenced to 8 years and 4 months.

Can you explain why the Republican got a lighter sentence than the Democrat?

TIA.

Posted by: James10"

It's not about the amount of money, but the number and nature of the crimes. By law, I believe that Cunningham could serve a maximum of 10 years. For Jefferson, it was over 200 years. Jefferson was convicted on eleven counts of fraud. The freezer money was only from one of the counts.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 8, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I'm far more worried about corporate "speech" than I am by uneducated, downwardly mobile people with tea bags tied to their hats.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/07/AR2010040704707.html?hpid=topnews

Now that all three branches of government can be bought, now that industry regulates government, will retail politics matter?


Posted by: shrink2 | April 8, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you on Sestak, margaret. He has been puzzling. Specter isn't great, he's one of those 70/30 types, but he hasmoved left and it would be better if Sestak working on keeping his own CD.

Posted by: drindl | April 8, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

To: ywqyweywyy99993qw

Looks like a Welsh name.

Have a quick question for you since you brought up William Jefferson.

Rep. William Jefferson [D] was convicted of taking $500,000 in bribes and sentenced to 13 years.

Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham [R] was convicted of taking $2,400,000 in bribes and sentenced to 8 years and 4 months.

Can you explain why the Republican got a lighter sentence than the Democrat?

TIA.

Posted by: James10 | April 8, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse


'Those of you have a talent for haiku might like to join in this little bit of social networking fun:

Beginning at 9 a.m. this morning, Jewish Funds for Justice has been driving activists to "tweet the heck out of Glenn Beck," as the Washington Post puts it. The group is sending one haiku a minute directly to @glennbeck (accompanied by hashtag #becku) for 24 straight hours to raise awareness of the Fox News host's recent remarks mocking the faith-based idea of "social justice."

So far, JFSJ has amassed more than 1,500 haikus mocking Beck (you can check out http://haikuglennbeck.com for more or to send one yourself).


Here's a sample:


Give me your fearful
Your easily influenced
Oh- and a chalkboard

Posted by: drindl | April 8, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

AndyR3, I'm with you. Ehrlich took a real drubbing in 2006 -- not just from the voters but in PR as well. He and his administration were made to look v e r y b a d .

Why is Cillizza so optimistic on this one?

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 8, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I'm pulling for Steele to get a standing ovation when he enters the room.

Isn't Gov. McDonnell supposed to give at least a few minutes on the proud history of the Confederacy.

Posted by: James10 | April 8, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm eager to read your take on Sestak's tactics in this race because I think he has mis-played the whole scenario.

He should have stayed put as a newby congressman until he learned that job and had established a safe district. His ego has left the Democrats to defend a CD they shouldn't be defending. Last summer, after Specter appeared at those town halls and took it for his new party, Sestak should have declared his campaign a feint to force Specter to be a better Democrat. Mission accomplished, Sestak could have then returned to defend his congressional seat while looking like a good Democrat.

Instead, Sestak has raised a lot of money and been mostly invisible for the past 9 months. I'm not impressed, and my Pennsylvania Democrat friends who were glad when Sestak announced say they are flummoxed by his efforts for election.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 8, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

not even going to try and stay on topic, are you?

Posted by: DDAWD | April 8, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

the guy who threatened pelosi -- yet another tea partier on public assistance. don't any of these people have jobs?

'
Rose Riggs, a neighbor of Giusti in a public housing complex in the city's Tenderloin district, said she saw two plainclothes and two uniformed officers take him away in zip-tie cuffs. Riggs, 62, said Giusti was known for engaging in heated political debates with others in the building...

Sister Lorna Walsh, community operations manager of the Mercy Housing complex where Giusti lives, said he had lived in the subsidized housing for almost 10 years. She would not comment further.

How much do you want to bet that he had subsidized health care too?'

Posted by: drindl | April 8, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

"(CNN) -- In a secretly recorded audiotape, the alleged ringleader of an anti-government Michigan militia expresses anger over the "new world order" and the "brotherhood," of law enforcement officers.

"In this nation, we think we are free, but you need a certificate to be born, a license to drive, a permit to build, a number to get a job and even a paper after you die," says David Bryan Stone Sr., 45, the alleged head of the Hutaree militia, accused of conspiring to overthrow the government and plotting to kill police officers."

sounds like your run of the mill tea partier, doesn't it?

Posted by: drindl | April 8, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

'Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) says he received threatening e-mails in response to comments he made about the Tea Party movement.

On Monday night, one of the the congressman's campaign offices received an e-mail from a Yahoo! account that read: "If our tea parties had hoods, we would burn your a8s on a cross on the White House lawn."

Posted by: drindl | April 8, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I think it's wonderful that the GOP is meeting in New Orleans, the City the Party Forgot. Especially thrilling is the appearance of Haley Barbour, who as gov of Mississippi worked the Bush Administration HARD to get far, far more than his fair share of relief funds.

I wonder how many tours of the Ninth Ward are planned? I wonder if more than a handful of GOP "leaders" will take such a tour?

Question: Why is it called a GOP Leadership Conference when Limbaugh and Beck aren't scheduled to speak?

Posted by: kemp13 | April 8, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

'Rep. Jerry Moran (R- KS) is trying to turn charges that he's getting a break on his rent at C Street into attacks on his Christian faith. Seriously.

Last month, as we reported, a group of Ohio pastors filed a complaint with the IRS alleging that the lawmakers who live at the C Street Christian fellowship house -- a group that includes Moran -- aren't paying close to market rate for rent. That means, according to the pastors, that they're getting an unreported gift from the house's owners.

Those owners have ties to a secretive Christian group, The Family, which has worked to curry favor with numerous world leaders and Washington lawmakers. Soon after the pastors acted, the good-government group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics followed up by making an ethics complaint.

Moran has been getting questions about the charges back in his district. And in response, he told the Topeka Capitol-Journal that criticism of his cozy arrangement amounted to "a national effort to exclude matters of faith by public servants."

Moran continued: "I don't think that my interest in studying the Bible with other colleagues of mine in Congress ought to be seen as anything but good or at least personal -- whether you think it's good or bad it ought to be a decision I make as a member of Congress, as a human being."

Because everyone understands that criticizing someone for appearing to get an unreported gift from a powerful interest group is basically the same thing as criticizing someone for studying the Bible.

The C Street house also has been under scrutiny lately after it figured in sex scandals that engulfed three of its members: Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, and former Mississippi GOP congressman Chip Pickering.'

Laughable. The R zoo continues.

Posted by: drindl | April 8, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

"Still, during the three-day event, which begins this evening, a number of the brightest lights in the party from former Alaska governor Sarah Palin to Texas Gov. Rick Perry to Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour -- among many, many others -- will address the crowwd."

'brightest lights'... what can you even say? maybe 'dimmest bulbs'might be mmore accurate, hmm?

Posted by: drindl | April 8, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Does the Lt. Gov in NY run independently or as part of a ticket? If the latter, it would seem that some of the blowback on Paterson should stick to Spitzer.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | April 8, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

more violent rightwing nuts:

'The AP is reporting that the FBI has arrested a California man for making threatening phone calls to Nancy Pelosi over the health care bill.

In an interview with TPM, FBI spokeswoman Patty Hanson confirmed that a man, Gregory Guisti, 48, would be charged in federal court in San Francisco Thursday at 9:30 PT. Magistrate Judge Bernard Zimmerman will preside over the hearing, during which Guisti will be formally charged.

The AP has more details:

Several federal officials say the man made dozens of calls to Pelosi's homes in California and Washington, as well as to her husband's business office, reciting her home address and saying if she wanted to see it again, she would not support the health care overhaul bill that was recently enacted.

"The FBI takes threats against elected officials very seriously," Hanson said.

The report comes just a day after authorities in Washington state announced charges against a man there for making death threats against Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) over her support for the health care bill."

Posted by: drindl | April 8, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

dibs on the dueling banjo gig!

Posted by: SofaKingCool2009 | April 8, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

FWIW, I like Rep. Cao on a personal level. He was a community organizer for Katrina victims. I can't vote for him because he voted against health care, but he'll still be an important advocate for the city. I actually don't think he'll mind leaving that job. I don't think he can stand most of his colleagues. It looks like Cornyn is going to strip him of all his committee assignments anyways for requesting earmarks for the New Orleans district.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 8, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

'cattle call' is quite apt.

Posted by: drindl | April 8, 2010 8:02 AM | Report abuse

And that Cao Rep. replaced Democratic Black Caucus and fellow HLS grad (a la Obama), "William Jefferson" (Clinton's name pal). The guy with 90K in his freezer.

Wow. The Dems are rolling in "family values" - like Barney Frank's gay prostitution ring and the man-mashing Eric Massa (Massa-ge giver).

Ewwwww. Those "Repubs" are so "intolerant" and "conservative" that they would NEVER go to a strip club. Or have a VP with a lesbian daughter in the open.

Yeah. Dems are perfect. Just ask Goldman Sachs or their banker donors. They are "for the little guy."

Right.

Posted by: ywqyweywyy99993qw | April 8, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Stupak isn't my favorite person in the world, but I see no reason why he would have stuck his neck out for HCR without being pretty sure that he was running. Although its always nice when you get to mention the UP, especially on the same day that the Frozen Four starts.

Ehrlich doesn't have any money, his support is weak, and without Steele on the ticket he won't win a vote in PG county. Plus Montgomery County is solid Democratic. Not to mention O'Malley has done a pretty good job and has a ton of money in his coffers, and a huge voter base in Baltimore city and county.

I could see Eliot Spitzer running for Attorney General again especially with his history of taking on Wall Street, and in a month or so that job is going to open up. I mean come on were talking about soul-less Yankee fans here, they would vote for the Emperor if he guaranteed a repeat in the world series.

DDAWD, they chose New Orleans cause David Vitter said he could hook em up with some real friendly ladies that he knows.

Posted by: AndyR3 | April 8, 2010 7:08 AM | Report abuse

http://www.srlc2010.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Program_srlc2010.pdf

That's the program.

Today is Mary Matalin, Newt Gingrich, Liz Cheney, and JC Watts.

French Quarter Fest is this weekend. In case the WaPo writers tire of listening to hate speech for three days.

Palin is tomorrow.

A lot of the conferences locations are on my running route. I doubt I'll see anything, but I'll try.

I was pretty confused as to why New Orleans was chosen for this, but in light of the RNC scandals in the last couple of weeks, it makes a lot more sense. New Orleans is a good city for the decadent.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 8, 2010 6:30 AM | Report abuse

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