Others seem to have taken this lesson. Notably absent from the SRLC this year are Mitt Romney, nominally the presidential frontrunner, who has chosen instead to continue his ghostwriter's book tour, and Tim Pawlenty, remaining behind to welcome soldiers home from the war. There is a shrewdness to this logic--a straw poll victory is short lived but for fundraising and a few press cycles. A loss can draw the wind from a candidate's sails. Ask President Huckabee.
Amongst the GOP faithful in attendance, there is a sense of urgency and optimism. Many I have spoken with feel that in spite of recent scandal--an issue likely to be addressed by RNC Chairman Michael Steele on Saturday--this is a party in ascendance. The Tea Party movement has a strong presence here. And though the presidential election is the SRLC's historic role, the congressional elections this November are the prize. With opinion polls suggesting that President Obama overreached with health care reform, many Republicans feel that not only can they wrest the gavel from Nancy Pelosi's hands, but reclaim the Senate as well. Unseating Harry Reid is a savory bonus.
The most dangerous drinking game in New Orleans this weekend will be to take a shot every time Ronald Reagan's name is mentioned.
D.B. Grady is the author of Red Planet Noir.
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