They actually have me working this time - no slumming allowed.
I’ve had a few posting at PJM that you may not have seen. First, a preview of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference:
The dizzying progression of scandals, charges of misuse of party funds, personnel changes, and high-profile calls for Steele to step down threaten to take the focus off what should be the conference’s main purpose: to rally the troops and send them off to the midterm wars with confidence and enthusiasm. Instead, they have the chairman of their party basically accusing them of racism for questioning his job performance, a national organization in painful disarray, and the entire party waiting for the next scandal or embarrassment to drop. Although there have been a few calls for Steele to step down, most of the national committee seems to be solidly behind him, so there is little chance they can force him out. But it won’t take much for that to change. Steele has been given just about all the rope he is going to get, and with midterms approaching, the absolute last thing the party needs is this kind of turmoil at the top.
What kind of reception can Chairman Steele expect on Saturday? The chairman has never been very popular with the rank and file, but the attendees will mostly be leadership types who look for results. And when the organization you head can raise $11.4 million in March, you’re not doing half bad. Steele will be greeted politely but not enthusiastically.
Actually, the Steele thing is not quite as bit an undercurrent today what with Palin speaking. I summarized Thursday night’s proceedings here:
[T]he attendees at the SRLC appear to be in no mood to dwell on the past. The first general session last night was marked by enthusiasm and excitement at the prospects for victory in November’s midterm elections. For comparison, I attended the 2009 CPAC event and can report that the difference in mood between the two confabs is astonishing. There was much defensiveness at that CPAC conference as well as a subdued atmosphere that reflected Obama’s recent ascension to the presidency. The contrast with the eagerness for combat expressed by the speakers and attendees here in New Orleans is striking.
That combativeness was best illustrated by two of last night’s speakers: Liz Cheney and Newt Gingrich.
Ms. Cheney gave a speech that took the Obama administration to task for its foreign policy retreats. At times, her criticisms were a direct challenge to the Democrats’ narrative of her father’s tenure as vice president. Her biggest applause lines came when she defended the use of “enhanced interrogation” techniques by the CIA, saying that “foreign terrorists do not have constitutional rights.” She also skewered Attorney General Holder for going after interrogators of the terrorists while dithering about setting up the new interrogation regime at the Justice Department.
But Cheney saved her harshest criticisms for the administration’s Israeli policy:
And I liveblogged Sarah Palin’s speech this afternoon:
A good, workmanlike effort. I’ve seen her do better as recently as Wednesday when she brought down the house in her appearance with Michele Bachmann. She did seem a little rushed, even running out of breath at a couple of points. Her timing was a bit off as well as she stepped on her applause lines regularly.
I’m sitting next to a Bloomberg photographer. He got a shot of Palin’s hand with “who dat” written on the palm, as well as what appeared to be a cryptic French name. No doubt you’ll see it on lefty blogs tomorrow.
But her message was very well received by attendees, which is all that’s important.
Going out tonight to sample the nightlife. Can’t be too rambunctious because I have to work tomorrow too. But I guarantee I will have as good a time as one can have without ending up arrested and manhandled by New Orlean’s finest.