Oh, the Republican Party is in disarray. Oh, the Republicans have no leadership. Oh, the Republicans are divided. So goes the dire, repetitive predictions from the Democratic Party and its coterie of sympathetic journalists as the midterm elections loom, now less than 12 weeks away. The singsong refrain is constant, only interrupted every so often by the chorus blaming the George W. Bush administration for something or other.
Real numbers rather than wishful thinking reveal other truths, however. A new CNN poll finds that voters favor candidates from the Grand Old Party over Democratic rivals, 48-45 percent; the network says there are "big similarities between 2010 and 1994," when Republicans retook Congress and ran off with the goods.
But wait. Recent Gallup, Pew Research Center, Zogby, Public Policy Polling and Rasmussen Reports surveys also show a Republican edge in favorability or that enthusiasm among GOP voters - particularly conservatives - consistently bests the excitement of Democrats.
"We're seeing this enthusiasm even in the primaries. A Democratic president and a former Democratic president may be urging their party members to get out and vote, but just look at the real turnout. On Tuesday, 68,000 more Republicans voted in the Colorado primaries than Democrats. That's pretty remarkable," says Brian Walsh, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, to Inside the Beltway.
"It's ironic that Democrats are trying so hard to paint a picture of Republicans in trouble when voter enthusiasm is so obvious, and they're following through at the polls - even this far out," Mr. Walsh adds.
Close - but no cigar. Liberal bloggers were giddy that the newly unveiled logo for the 2012 Republican National Convention included a stylized minaret shape in deference to the fact that a famous 1891 hotel in the host city of Tampa was built with minarets as the chichi architectural details of the times.
"Will teabaggers be offended?" asked DemConWatch blogger Tim McGuire and a spate of other scribes lusting after a GOP-bashing moment. But, alas, the old Tampa Bay Hotel has long been considered part of the city's traditional skyline, and the logo is not even associated with the Republican National Committee.
It is the sole property of the "2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee," says spokeswoman Belinda Cook.
"Show us the birth certificate."
Billboard erected just outside Panama City Beach, Fla. by WorldNetDaily.com, to greet President Obama on his two-day Gulf vacation beginning Saturday.
The White House has somehow sidestepped the debate over the $100 million "ground-zero mosque," leaving the heavy lifting to New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to draw cultural justification for its construction. Why is that?
"This is not a subject on which 'Obama the explainer of Islam' wants to opine," says Commentary magazine's Jennifer Rubin.
"He either agrees with the finger-wagging left - certainly, it's precisely the sort of thing the Cairo-speech author would cheer - which would cement the public's sense that he is not on the same wave length (planet?) as the rest of us, or he agrees with those whom the left vilifies," she continues. "[I]n which case, down-in-dumps liberals would be depressed to an even greater degree than they already are. So Obama takes the courageous route and votes 'present' - that is, 'no comment.' "
Ms. Rubin adds, "It's no surprise that a president soaked in the juices of the left should find himself sidelined when the issue is squarely presented: is American civilization worth defending? The question seems too hard or too politically inconvenient for the commander in chief and current leader of the Free World to answer."
FOR THE LEXICON
There's a new name for political, religious or ethnic extremists: "fused" people. They have extremely strong ties to their countries or groups and are both willing and eager to sacrifice themselves to save their compatriots, says new research from the University of Texas at Austin.
Psychology professor Bill Swann found the majority of fused people - those who view themselves as completely immersed in a group - would commit extreme acts for the cause: 75 percent, in fact, are wiling to "jump to their deaths," he found.
"Fused group members believe that through suicide, their lives will achieve tremendous significance. Their strong sense of moral urgency drives them to see not only that justice is done, but to also take an active role in its implementation," Mr. Swann says.
"In an era in which the act of sacrificing one's own life for the group has had world-altering consequences, it is critical to learn more about the psychological underpinnings of such activity.
POLL DU JOUR
- 77 percent of Americans say a nuclear arsenal is important to national security.
- 15 percent say nuclear weapons are not important to our security.
- 57 percent say the U.S. should not reduce the number of nuclear weapons in its arsenal.
- 27 percent say the nation should reduce the number of nuclear weapons.
- 55 percent say it is unlikely that other countries will reduce their nuclear arsenals.
- 46 percent say the U.S. should continue developing new nuclear weapons.
- 31 percent say development should be halted; 24 percent are undecided.
Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults conducted Aug. 8-9.
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