4:05 PM: That panel might as well have been a dissection of ORCA. Pure tactics, no analysis of demographic trends we must face in the future. An examination of efforts from the past election is quite useful. It's of little value unless accompanied by how those lessons apply to future efforts.
3:35 PM: Currently watching a panel on demographics featuring Michael Barone, Kellyanne Conway, and Ralph Reed. Their question: "Do Demographics Doom the Right?" Now, that's an easy answer, and Barone was right on it. No, demographics do not doom the right. They do present a major challenge. Here's a thought. Base policies that do not serve a constituency (older white voters) that is shrinking by the election cycle. That's a good way to reverse demographic issues, no?
3:30 PM: Dave Weigel pulled a great quote from Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli on the proposed plan to split Virginia's electoral votes.
"I don't like breaking up states," Cuccinelli told me after a panel discussion at the National Review Institute's post-election summit. "I think winner-take-all is part of how a state matters as a sovereign entity. You know, our side would have gotten more votes this go-round, but I want people to have to fight to win the whole state. It makes the state, as a state, matter more. If it's one more thing that whittles down the role of states independently of the people who live in them, and we need to build them up, not to Balkanize America, but because it's the states that created the federal government. Not the other way around."
2:00 PM: Ted Cruz just wrapped up his post-lunch speech. Gov. Scott Walker preceded him. Both speeches lacked newsworthiness until Cruz described Sens. Kerry and Hagel (both decorated war veterans): as "less than ardent fans of the US military."
Interpret that as you will.
11:40 AM: Unanimous consent from the panel for ending "Too Big to Fail" and breaking up the big banks. Nice words from Scarborough for Jon Huntsman. This will need to be an issue for 2016. Could well see Jindal carrying that banner, but the GOP has no structural reason to take on Wall Street. No sensible politician would casually cut off a major source of fundraising dollars.
11:00 AM: Joe Scarborough gets it:
10:50 AM: A further shout out to Bill Kristol, who argues that Republicans must confront the American public's view that the financial crisis of 2008 was caused by GOP policies. Failing to explain this issue, Kristol argues, is a death blow. Don't disagree. Not sure, however, that will be a relevanant issue in a growing economy come 2014 and 2016.
10:40 AM: This panel is addressing the big question: Why did Romney lose? I'll grab video when it's available, but I firmly agree with Ross Douthat, who is waging a heroic effort to remind his fellow conservatives that voters want leadership that addresses questions pertinent to their lives. The Reagan nostalgia is nice, but the answers Reagan offered were for issues very different than we face today. We aren't dealing with tax creep, a red menace and inflation. We're in crises of education and healtchare. Republicans who ignore those basic issues do so at their own peril.
9:40 AM: Kevin Williamson chatting with Harold Hamm of Continental Resources. This blog's unequivocal support of fracking is well known, so there's not much to report here. Later this morning, a rather exciting panel:
What is Wrong with the Right?
Moderator: Reihan Salam, National Review Online
Bill Kristol, The Weekly Standard
Yuval Levin, National Affairs
John Podhoretz, Commentary Magazine
Joe Scarborough, MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’
Ross Douthat, New York Times
9:23 AM: Good, good, good. Paul Ryan is delivering an address calling on the GOP to pick itself up, dust itself off, and regain the trust of the American people. We must show ourselves to be a credible alternative to the Democratic Party and remain a strong movement capable of regaining the White House. It's from there that we cut spending, knock down taxes, and unleash American innovation. Until then, defense, defense, defense. A most prudent speech.
9:10 AM: Paul Ryan warns that we can't continue trillion dollar deficits. He's aware that is solved by full employment, no?
9:00 AM: Basic thoughts on Thiel. The man is simulataneously cuttingly insightful yet woefully wrong on some big issues. He just went on a lenghty discussion of the danger a defeatist, overregulated economy and then followed it with a defense of "real money." Frustrating.
8:15 AM: And we begin. T-15 minutes until Peter Thiel. Brace yourselves for some reporting. If I'm lucky, you'll soon have advice on gold, seasteading, and the libertarian movement.