One Oregon official in particular is bracing for complicated times. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has taken notice of frequent, vigorous protests against President Trump in his city. He is now concerned about the “culture of protest” which now occupies several large cities across the nation. Mr. Wheeler is not pleased.
“Portland has a strong history of activism and peaceful protest. But the message is being undermined because of ongoing tensions between protesters and police. We cannot afford for this type of conflict to occur when we have so much other work to do in this city that requires us all to work together. Upon taking office, I made it clear that I support the Constitutional right to assembly and free expression. I also set some common-sense boundaries that I would ask the police to enforce: no violence, no vandalism, no accessing highways or bridges for the safety of everyone involved, and no blocking of the regional transit system,” Mr. Wheeler said in a statement to his town.
“Finding and maintaining an appropriate balance between assembly and order requires constant evaluation and recalibration. Democracy can be messy, that’s a fact. But as of late, it’s been far too messy here in Portland,” the mayor continued. “Last week we saw video of protesters in masks surrounding commuters in their vehicles brandishing sticks. That isn’t good for democracy. Yesterday we saw images of a woman in her sixties injured during an arrest. That isn’t good for democracy either.”
Mr. Wheeler is calling on local law enforcement to “help create a more positive space for expression and emphasize tactics that deescalate tensions.” The mayor plans upcoming meetings with police officials.
“The culture of protest locally and nationally will be with us for the foreseeable future. Portland can and should be an example of democracy done right. To get there we have some work to do, and we have to work together,” Mr. Wheeler concludes.
REBOOTING THE PARTY
The Democratic Party is looking for a reboot after the 2016 elections. So far, they’ve fostered noisy protest marches, social media attacks and ceaseless pushback against the White House and President Trump’s agenda. Congressional leaders have gone beyond feisty to shrill, voters themselves appear to be either in mourning or downright angry.
This weekend, the party hosted its big winter meeting in Atlanta with a heavy to-do list and much interest. The big doings drew so many attendees that organizers moved the event from a local hotel to a major trade center.
Dominating the agenda was the election of a Democratic National Committee chairman Saturday; seven hopefuls were in the running, with former Labor Dept. secretary Tom Perez emerging as the victor. He bested Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota despite his many endorsements from Sens. Charles E. Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren, among others.
Naturally, Republicans are taking a keen interest in the outcome of the chairmanship election. Will it send the Democratic Party into progressive territory — or to some comfy spot in the center? Will the new chair unite the energetic far left with entrenched establishment Democrats?
The GOP does not appear particularly worried.
“Democrats have never been more divided and out of touch with Americans across the country,” says Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel. “No matter who is charged with picking up the pieces of their broken party, nothing has changed and Democrat leadership remains tone deaf to what voters demanded in November. The American people elected President Trump because they wanted a new direction for our country, yet Democrats are playing politics by blindly obstructing the new administration. The Democratic Party has not been at such a low level of representation in 90 years, and that gap will grow as they continue to ignore the American people.”
THE CPAC PRESS
The Conservative Political Action Conference drew intense, often dismissive media coverage from journalists who can’t seem to come to grips with the idea that 13,000 conservatives gather for four days, have convivial dialogue about serious subjects and emerge the better for it. The press tends to supply instant narratives suggesting disunity or dysfunction in the ranks. A few headlines over a 24-hour period:
“Alt-right influence casts cloud over CPAC” (Politico); “Donald Trump Is CPAC’s conquering hero, but tensions remain” (NBC News); “The conservative media flap that explains Facebook’s funding of CPAC” (Washington Post); “CPAC seems very confused about whether or not it wants to embrace the alt-right” (Slate magazine)”; Is Donald Trump a conservative? We asked the CPAC faithful” (CNN); “Donald Trump returns in triumph to CPAC with Breitbart as supporting cast” (The Guardian); and “What Is CPAC? A room that didn’t always love Trump, but owes him a lot” (NPR).
MEANWHILE, IN LAS VEGAS
The Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting is in Las Vegas this weekend, a significant and spirited event hosted by Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, a power couple with much sway in many circles for many reasons.
There are a dozen speakers arriving at a glittering resort hosting the event; they include Vice President Mike Pence, Sens. Joni Ernst, Cory Gardner and Lindsey Graham; Reps. Mia Love, Ed Royce and Liz Cheney — and, yes, Dick Cheney.
The former vice president will, in fact, introduce the current vice president. Mr. Pence, in addition, will have a meeting with Mr. Adelson. Find their event here
THE FUTURIST THINKS AHEAD
During the 2016 presidential race, futurist Zoltan Istvan ran for president as a representative of the Transhumanist Party and a self-described “science candidate” championing technology and artificial intelligence among other things.
Mr. Istvan tells Inside the Beltway that he has just announced his bid for California governor, and he is now running as a Libertarian, with a campaign site already up and running.
“A good showing here in California would lead to a win of the 2020 Libertarian presidential nomination for me, so I’m going to do my best,” Mr. Istvan notes.
He has already written out his plans in an op-ed for Newsweek and has garnered some significant coverage in the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, which noted that Mr. Istvan, 43 and the married father of two, has a “plausibly presidential aura.”
Like other third-party hopefuls, he seeks disaffected voters from any point on the political spectrum.
“We can do this, California,” the candidate writes in his aforementioned op-ed “It doesn’t have to be through stale blue or red political parties, which have left many of us aghast at the current world. It can be done through the libertarian philosophy of embracing all that is the most inventive and unbridled in us — and letting that pave the way forward.”
WEEKEND REAL ESTATE
For sale: The Daniel Luse House, a Renaissance Revival home built in 1874 in Centre Hall, Pennsylvania, five bedrooms, two baths, center hall, dining and living rooms, office; 2,746 square feet, restored “lavish” home of a local artists and designer. Hand-painted walls and ceilings with multiple faux details, original floors and woodworking. Updated kitchen and baths, original exterior architectural details, detached two-car garage. Priced at $395,000 through 1kbb.com. Find the home here.
POLL DU JOUR
• 62 percent of Americans have seen Alec Baldwin’s impersonation of President Trump on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”
• 45 percent have seen Melissa McCarthy’s impersonation of White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
• 33 percent of Americans typically “never” watch “Saturday Night Live”; 29 percent “rarely” watch.
• 22 percent “sometimes” watch, 14 percent “often” watch.
• 33 percent say they enjoy the impersonations, 31 percent have no opinion about them.
• 19 percent would like the show to “focus on something else”; 16 percent have not enjoyed the impersonations.
Source: A Morning Consult Poll of 2,177 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 16-19.
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