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TEACHABLE MOMENT

Five of her people won. Indeed, Sarah Palin must relish the outcome of Tuesday’s primaries, a fitting comeback to critics who claimed the power of her political endorsements had waned, and her Mama Grizzly claws had grown dull. Mrs. Palin’s former running mate in the 2008 presidential election also had a moment of reckoning, and a knuckle rap, perhaps. Sen. John McCain won his renomination in the Arizona Republican primary, but not without help.

“The senator owes his victory to the pressure he received from conservatives and ‘tea partiers.’ To receive that support, he had to give up his maverick positions that have sometimes given aid and comfort to the liberals. I’m sure Senator McCain knows very well that he would not have won if he had continued his reputation as the Democrats’ favorite Republican,” says Richard Viguerie, chairman of ConservativeHQ .com.

Had Mr. McCain tempered his instinct to woo a wider spectrum of voters, he might have won his quest for the White House two years ago, Mr. Viguerie muses. But the Republican reinvention train rolls on. Canny candidates are plotting which strategic leap could land them onboard, to resonate with passengers and American voters alike.

“Conservatives and tea party activists look forward to welcoming Senator McCain and other lost conservatives back from their flirtations with big government,” Mr. Viguerie insists.

BLAME AMERICA LAST

“Stallone is right. U.S. does apologize too much.

Mitt Romney, in a Tweet, regarding Sylvester Stallone’s recent comments to Fox News that America is too quick to apologize for its stature on the planet.

RUMOR WITH A VIEW

Run for the hills. Barbara Walters hopes to develop a “unisex” version of ABC’s “The View” for men inclined to whine and spar over politics and culture. Hosted by Bryant Gumbel or possibly Filipino-American comedian Alec Mapa, the show would be produced in Los Angeles rather than Manhattan. The New York Daily News predicts it to be ” ‘The View’ with chest hair,” though chest hair does not have much to do with “unisex,” an archaic term from a troubled era. A shaved chest, maybe.

THE REAL DEAL

The victories of Republican “insurgents” in Florida and Alaska in the Tuesday primaries represent a fierce, emerging pathway on the political landscape.

“Republican voters in wildly different locales are not simply in an anti-Obama, anti-Democrat mood. They are genuinely eager to upend the political system. And this is something very new,” says Commentary Magazine editor John Podhoretz

“Usually, politicians who use the language of insurgency are just that. For them, channeling the anger of voters is a marketing device. They are always using the language of insurgency - I’ll go to Washington and shake things up; the system is broken and I’m going to fix it - but they do so as a vote-getting tool,” Mr. Podhoretz continues.

“These Republican insurgents, however, really are insurgents, and one should take them at their word that they are not in this to become professional politicians whose primary aims are fundraising and re-election,” he adds. “If enough of them are elected in November, and enough could be 10 in the House and three in the Senate, they really could change the political dynamic in Washington in ways impossible to foresee. They will also, almost certainly, say unguarded things that will provide a bountiful harvest for the liberal media.”

WANT FRIES WITH THAT?

Uh-oh. First lady Michelle Obama is not going to like this.New research funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture finds that the 30 million kids who eat school lunches served in the federal government’s National School Lunch Program are more likely to become overweight.

Mrs. Obama is acutely interested in slimming down the nation’s youngsters.

“The fact that federally funded school lunches contribute to the childhood-obesity epidemic is disconcerting, although not altogether surprising,” says Southern Methodist University economist Daniel L. Millimet, who led the study of 13,500 elementary school students, who were followed for several years.

It revealed that the prevalence of chubby children in the program had jumped by 19 percent, because the challenge to create healthy but “inviting” lunches is daunting, while cash-strapped schools sell goodies to children who’d much rather lunch on chips than carrots.

AN OILY BUSINESS

Yes, just imagine the media coverage if President George W. Bush had been the main player here.

“A president with close ties to an oil company helping hide the magnitude and damage of an oil spill would be big news, if he were a conservative. But it seems even when the environmentalists and the left are upset over President Obama’s handling of the Gulf oil spill, the national news media barely notice,” says Business and Media Institute analyst Julia Seymour.

She tracked the coverage to find that ABC and CBS parroted back Obama administration energy adviser Carol Browner’s claim that the “vast majority of the oil” was gone, with NBC offering just a modicum of dispute. Meanwhile, all three networks skimmed over outrage. Since Aug. 4, the broadcasters aired 61 oil- spill stories mentioning the oil spill, Ms. Seymour says. But only six included skeptics like Gulf fishermen or scientists wondering about all those underwater oil plumes.

POLL DU JOUR

  • 92 percent of “tea party” members plan to vote on Nov. 2.
  • 88 percent of Republicans and 84 percent of Democrats plan to vote.
  • 86 percent of Americans overall are familiar with the tea party.
  • 23 percent of tea partiers would vote Republican, 56 percent for a tea party candidate, 15 percent are unsure.
  • 57 percent of Republicans will vote Republican, 20 percent for a tea party candidate, 20 percent are unsure.
  • 77 percent of Democrats will vote Democratic, 2 percent for a tea party candidate, 20 percent are unsure.
  • Source: A Harris Poll of 2,775 adults conducted Aug. 9 to 16.

Telegraphs, passenger pigeons, press releases to jharper@washingtontimes .com.

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