Hating leaving CPAC yesterday but real life insists.
As for the CPAC experience there is nothing like being in a well established hotel, bar right, with thousands of like minded souls. The conservative movement is very much in sync. The palpable excitement and headiness of the convergence were quickly dashed when Romney exited stage right. He was almost too perfect - and the one thing that was less than perfect in the eyes of the evangelicals undid him. Mormon. The fact that Obama Hussein is half Muslim and has embraced the idea of capitulating to Islam is little mentioned. But Romney was a Mormon and well, you can't have that. Eh? I should also note that the media did not want Romney, gave him little coverage and what there was was poor. Even FOX bascially ignored him.
Romney left the race for the good of the party. "Evangelical" Huckabee could learn a thing or two.
Even so, on a personal note, it was wonderful to see bloggers, writers, politicians (in that order) that I admire. I met long time Atlas readers and new ones (thanks to Steyn and Michelle) - I actually signed some autographs - which was sort of inexplicable. Moving, all of it. These folks are extraordinarily good people. Passionate and grounded in their love of America. I was in awe.
Met up with Fausta (who has great pics of the blog world here), Skye from Midnight Blue, Robert Stacy McCain (the most enthusiastic blogger I have yet to meet), Joy over at Little Miss Attila, Wendy our Girl on the Right, Matt Sanchez, Kevin over at Musclehead Revolution, Eric over at Red State, Dan (whose stuff I love) over at Riehl World View , John over at Right Wing News (always ahead of the curve).
Erik Svane (Paris, France) who blogs much less frequently now at No Pasaran (he writes books instead) was my wing man and best bud securing front row seats and acting as liason between myself and various European conservative party members. Much arguing, all of it interesting. Even those Europeans who love the idea of America and conservative values still see our self confidence as "arrogance" and buy into many of the media memes (abu ghraib!) that the left use to club people into submission. The Euro brain, even Conservative ones, is soaked in that toxic media soup.
Svane, OTOH, flanked my arguments with Euro wisdom and was really dear, urging me to "write a book!" - something he appears to be very good at. He writes on subjects near and dear to me - particularly the double standard the media, the UN etc have for America and Israel vs the barbaric world.
The good news is his books (French) are currently being translated into English. His website here;
Pearl Harbor Day saw the publication of La Bannière Étalée. A book (in French) describing the anti-Americanism prevalent in France, it comes with a plethora of examples that demonstrate irrefutably that, contrary to what the French think, it is not "only" Bush and American foreign policy they are against, it is not only visionary tolerance and boundless lucidity that runs their motivations, and their actions towards (and thoughts regarding) their "amis américains" are often far from friendly.
Double standards abound in French life, policies, and conversations. From World War II and the Cold War to the Iraqi crisis, from McDonald's to the Kyoto protocol, from "poverty" in America to "savage" capitalism, from Latin America to the United Nations, I conduct a minute examination of French claims regarding the United States and those who oppose its policies. Here is an excerpt…
He loves the American idea, really gets it. He came to America for his first CPAC, a trend I noticed this year among many Europeans. And while many Americans may have given up on Europe, I, for one, have not. We need Europe. It will be much tougher to beat the global Islamic jihad without it.
This was my first CPAC were I found a strong European presence. Rich Davis, great American and long time Atlas reader, discovered the gentlemen in the video below, just in from Spain. The man on the left, Eduardo was studying medicine , the other law. They came to America, just for CPAC - to, and I quote, "to breathe this air". To breath this "conservative air".
They lament their country is being overrun by Muslim immigrants. The immigrants arrive from Morocco (a 30 minute ferry) to Spain and immediately receive social security, welfare and medical. Thye don't work but traffic heavilyin drugs. The video quality is poor so you may not want to watch it but it's all I got and it tells their story.
I was fortunate Thursday night to run into Heather Smith who grabbed me (Heather is a film, radio, television producer and Richard Miniter's sexier half) and invited me to join her, Richard and their group of DC insiders for dinner at Mortons. So I skipped CPAC Novak dinner (I dislike Novak intensively, and I loved that I saw no one come up to him for his "book signing"). I jumped in their cab and joined them. The scene at Mortons, it seems, is old time (and modern) DC., it gave me a real first hand look at behind the scenes machinations. Lots of fat cats, fat cigars and fat steaks and chatter, chatter, chatter. Whoa, a lotta chatter. But frankly - all of it interesting, if that's your thing. And yeah, that's my thing. Folks that know me, know I don't engage in the tiny talk, have few friends. If I am not engaged, then I can't see the point in wasting time. But this was good, all of it.
It was all interesting. Miniter is thoroughly engaging. Always up for anything. Refusing to give in to the general malaise that had set in after the Romney blow, Miniter said we ought to forget the Presidential race and focus on the House. There are a large number of seats up for grabs (28 retiring) and we had to win them. Miniter contended that a House with a strong Republican presence would do well to battle any leftist program or legislation generated by a McCain or dhimmi President.
If the activists are looking for something to do and they really can’t work for the McCain campaign, they can pick a contested House race and volunteer there. In the thumbin’ of 2006, the GOP lost 30 seats in the House of Representatives. Eighteen of those were lost by less than 5,000 votes each. Another six or so seats, were lost to scandal (Foley, DeLay et al). If the GOP won back all of those—a big “if”—it would be within six seats of majority control. Of course, the math above does not account the 28 GOP retirements, which mean costly defenses even in supposed “safe” seats.
So the House is an uphill battle with every single probability against the conservative activists. Just the kind of struggle the Right used to relish. More here
As I dug into my lobster tail , who should walk in but my MIA bud from The NY Sun, Eli Lake. Lake and I have the kind of relationship where we argue about everything and love it. You know, like family. He pulled me aside and we ate at a table to close by to discuss his latest book (which is why he has been a recluse), the NIE,the cut cables, moderate Muslims, McCain's approach to the war and the Middle East etc -- you know Atlas's idea of sexy conversation :)
Lake wrote an important piece: U.S. Spy Chief Retreats on Iran Estimate, which we discussed at length. It was enormously important (despite big media's big yawn) that the director of national intelligence has backed away from his agency's assessment late last year that Iran has halted its nuclear program, "saying he wished he had written the unclassified version of the document in a different manner".
At a hearing yesterday of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the intelligence director, Michael McConnell, said, "If I had 'til now to think about it, I probably would change a few things." He later added, "I would change the way we describe the Iranian nuclear program. I would have included that there are the component parts, that the portion of it, maybe the least significant, had halted."
Mr. McConnell was referring to the specific Iranian program to design potential nuclear warheads, which the December estimate said had halted in 2003. But in his opening testimony, Mr. McConnell noted that two other components of the nuclear program were moving ahead — the enrichment of uranium, which he said was the most difficult part of making a bomb, and the development of long-range missiles capable of hitting North Africa and Europe.
McConnell's testimony (which I am watching on CSPAN as we speak) is hard to believe Could McConnell not have read it before it was released? (I think Bolton said that) No one document was so singularly responsible for a dangerous change of direction in American foreign policy. It was, in fact, a de facto coup against the White House, and has effectively rendered the Bush administration impotent in advancing the option of military intervention in defense of Iran's nuclear weaponry.
The timing of Mr. McConnell's pivot is also significant. On January 22 in Berlin, all five permanent veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council plus the Germans agreed on a draft third resolution against Iran. Mr. McConnell predicted that it would pass the council this month. At the same time, other members of the Security Council, such as South Africa have recently warned against a third resolution. The Russians last month completed a deal to provide Iran with nuclear fuel for a separate reactor in Bushehr.
John Bolton used his speech at CPAC to pursaude restive conservatives that the stakes in the world (the Iranian and North Korean nuclear threats, the prospect of nuclear weapons in the hands of Islamic terrorists) were too great to sit this election out because of their disagreements with John McCain, and allow the Democrats to gain control of foreign policy.
Bolton said it was now clear that he would be the nominee, and specifically addressed those who argue that conservatives would be better off in the long run if Democrats win and mess things up than if mistakes are associated with a Republican. He compared this logic to Vladimir Lenin's declaration that "worse is better" and said that "tactical domestic considerations" shouldn't be allowed to harm our national security.
Clearly, McCain would make a difference in SCOTUS picks, though he thought Alito too conservative but OTOH another Ginsburg we don't need.
I headed back to the Omni to get to Robert's party (I promised) and encountered Erik and a cadre of Danes. Hence, more arguing :)
More later..... gotta go.