Inside the Beltway: 32 names crowd GOP presidential poll

A sleeping giant awakening? The Republican National Committee is on war footing as the competitive gleam in chairman Reince Priebus‘ eye grows ever brighter. All the proper political weaponry of the age is appearing: prowess in social media, a feisty presence online and in broadcast, strategic information gathering, image-crafting, brand-burnishing, merchandising.

Consider the committee’s new Para Bellum Lab, a data-driven Internet attack-squad, poised, they say, for a “political hackathon.” The name itself means “ready for war” in Latin. “Innovate or die,” declares Chuck DeFeo, the newly named GOP digital data officer.

Now comes another push, this one borrowed from the relentless tea party playbook, or perhaps the libertarian quest for untapped voter interest. It’s a Republican presidential straw poll. But of course. The 32 names on this poll, however, are proof that GOP management is ready to rumble, push the envelope, open the big tent, engage all-comers and get folks talking. And both “Pauls” are among the choices.

Behold the candidate cornucopia to consider: Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, John Bolton, Allen West, Herman Cain, Ben Carson, Rick Santorum, Jeb Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Haley Barbour, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Tim Pawlenty and Mitch Daniels.

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