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Inside the Beltway
Question of the Day
SAVE THE DATE
And that would be Jan. 6, the second day that the bustling new Congress will be in session in the new year. Republicans plan to read the entire U.S. Constitution on the House floor, this according to a draft edition of the incoming majority’s rules package. Is this marathon fare? Not necessarily. The Constitution has 4,543 words, including the signatures, and “takes about half an hour to read,” according to U.S. Archives guidelines.
Handwringing pollsters relish asking Americans if they think the U.S is “in decline,” or that perennial old favorite, whether “our best days are behind us.” But wait. The impression that the nation is foundering is coming from the White House, some say.
“With President Obama, there appears to be no great moral cause which drives his foreign policy, no overarching strategy for enhancing American global power, no concept of a global war against Islamist militants, and no desire to strengthen America’s defenses. In fact, Obama’s approach to international affairs is the exact opposite of Ronald Reagan‘s. It is based upon a naive belief that America’s enemies can be won over through ‘engagement’ rather than confronted with maximum strength,”observes Daily Telegraph columnist Nile Gardiner.
“Unlike Reagan, Obama does not even believe in American exceptionalism, and is not driven by a sense of American greatness and destiny as the leader of the free world. Nor does he appreciate the importance of preserving and building America’s alliances,” Mr. Gardiner continues.
The public is very attuned to destiny, though. A Gallup Poll released Wednesday finds that eight out of 10 Americans say the U.S. “has a unique character that makes it the greatest country in the world”; 37 percent are under the impression that Mr. Obama does not agree with them.
“Ultimately, Ronald Reagan possessed true grit as president, and displayed the kind of forceful, principled leadership that Barack Obama can only dream of. Under Reagan, the U.S. was revered by its allies, feared by its enemies, and looked upon with awe by hundreds of millions who lived under the boot of tyranny in Eastern Europe. … In contrast, the Obama presidency is fostering U.S. weakness in the face of its enemies, and giving every impression of presiding over a superpower in decline, without direction, self-belief or clear sense of purpose,” Mr. Gardiner concludes.
So. Is America really in decline? One pollster at least added some context to the question. A Clarus Poll of 1,000 registered voters finds that 85 percent of the respondents agree that “in many ways America is in decline and we need strong, competent leadership to get us back on track.” Eighty-two percent of Democrats and 93 percent of Republicans agree.
The Grand Old Party may have a dream presidential candidate. The poll found that 65 percent of Republicans want someone with management experience as a governor; 15 percent favored legislative experience in Congress. Sixty-one percent want a “moderate, pragmatic conservative with a good chance to beat President Obama,” rather than a “staunch, outspoken conservative who has only a fair chance of beating Obama” favored by 29 percent.
Meanwhile, 53 percent said the candidate should have experience in private business; 28 percent said experience in government was a given. Republicans favored someone who was “intelligent and competent” (49 percent) over someone who is known for “clear and consistent philosophical principles” (37 percent).
A busy political week? You betcha. But politics and its attendant hubbub never sleeps; it was always thus. Thursday also marks the anniversary of the day in 1776 when Thomas Paine wrote the words, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” George Washington resigned as the commander in chief of the Continental Army on this day in 1783; he retired to Mount Vernon. President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act into law 97 years ago today, creating the, uh, Federal Reserve. It’s also the birthday of former presidential hopeful Wesley Clark - born in 1944 - and conservative guru William Kristol, born in 1952.
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