Two years ago, I wrote that Republicans were opting out of the conference for new congressional members, hosted every two years by the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government's Intitute of Politics (IOP) -- despite the fact that many top Republicans had attended in the past.
That year, just 16 of the massive GOP class of 83 newcomers -- 19% -- came to the notorious liberal mecca of Cambridge.
You might think that with the passing of the 2010 Tea Party fervor, and the 2011 hiring of Republican Trey Grayson as IOP director, things might be different for this year's conference, which begins tonight. Not so.
Well, perhaps a little. By my count, 10 of 35 Republican freshmen are attending -- 29%.
That's still a long way from the 76% attendance of incoming Democrats (37 of 49).
I posited one possible explanation in a separate post two years ago. In short, due to new ethics laws, other orientation-style gatherings -- including some from conservative institutions -- were safer holding their events prior to swearing-in, putting them in direct competition with the IOP conference.
Or, they could be terrified of catching socialism on the Harvard campus.
Either way, a hearty welcome to the 47 members-elect visiting the Boston area over the next couple of days!