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Inside the Beltway: The Hermanator returns

- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 15, 2012

He's still a force to be reckoned with as tax day looms: Herman Cain has arrived in the nation's capital for a "patriot's summit" and tax day rally Monday at the U.S. Capitol with a cast that includes Faith & Freedom Coalition founder and chairman Ralph Reed, Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips and conservative activist Alveda King. All hope that Americans will revisit Mr. Cain's fiscal ideas from the Republican campaign trail, which he frames in biblical terms.

"This is all about empowering an army of Davids to demand that we replace our twisted tax code with the simplicity of 9-9-9, that we reform the federal regulatory morass, and that we return to a system of sound money," Mr. Cain tells Inside the Beltway. "Do politicians want to do any of this? Of course not. But when they feel the heat, they will see the light."

Mr. Cain dismisses talk of the "Buffett Rule" favored by President Obama and up for Senate consideration Monday. The former White House hopeful instead touts his "9-9-9 tax," which would level a straight 9 percent tax on individuals, business and sales. See his ideas here: http://cainsolutionsrevolution.com. The uber-rich would pay their fair share like everyone else, he says, with enough left over to invest their wealth in American prosperity.

"Only a clueless president would complain about this, and propose to enact a tax that discourages investment while making such a tiny dent in the deficit you'd need a microscope to even see it," Mr. Cain observes. "But that's the president we have — small thinking and a tiny impact on very big problems, of which he just might be the biggest."

FROZEN ASSETS

With the economy preoccupying many taxpayers, we can at least rest assured that few of them squirrel their money away among baked goods. Frozen steaks? Well, maybe. A Marist Poll finds that a mere 10 percent of Americans hide their dough in a cookie jar. Eleven percent use the mattress, 19 percent a plain old sock while 17 percent conclude there's no "good place" to hide money. But in the freezer? Twenty seven percent said stowing cold cash at low temperatures is not a bad idea.

LIBERTARIANS: VIVA LAS VEGAS

They're first out of the convention chute, and they're ready for glitz: the Libertarian Party soon stages the National Libertarian Convention at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas. White House hopeful Gary Johnson is among those appearing at the "Liberty Will Win" event May 3-6, where the party selects presidential and vice presidential nominees, hammers out a platform and celebrates its 40th anniversary.

Mr. Johnson's campaign has picked up traction since he declared himself an "anti-war candidate" with no taste for a big military budget; there are whispers he could pick up some support of Rep. Ron Paul's many vocal followers. Meanwhile, 700 delegates are expected at the convention, and there's much optimism afoot.

"We have strong candidates and a growing number of independents, tea party faithful, disaffected Republicans, and anti-war, anti-crony-capitalism Democrats looking to us to field true liberty candidates," says Chairman Mark Hinkle. "We're the small government alternative to big government Democrats and Republicans, which resonates with millions of voters who are deeply concerned with our weak economy and who fear it will get worse."

MITT MINDER

"Don't be Romney's cheap date."

(Conservative maven Richard Viguerie's advice to voters pondering support for Mitt Romney)

THE BUFFETT MANEUVER

Six in 10 Americans hope Congress passes the "Buffett rule," says a new Gallup Poll, which reveals a predictable partisan divide: Seventy-four percent of Democrats and 43 percent of Republicans like the idea.

"Republican politicians oppose the Buffett rule, and there is little possibility that it will become law this year. President Obama's intense focus on the policy and his emphasis on bringing it to a vote in Congress is thus mostly a symbolic gesture, underscoring his general presidential campaign themes this year," notes Gallup Director Frank Newport. "An emphasis on millionaires paying higher taxes also helps position the Obama presidential campaign against his very rich GOP opponent, Mitt Romney."

ANCHORS AWEIGH

Three cheers for these five "next generation attack submarines": each weighs 7,800-tons, measures 377 feet long, bristles with Tomahawk cruise missiles and can travel at 25 knots submerged. Each has a reactor plant that won't require refueling during the life of the vessel, and each is also designed to conduct covert long-term surveillance and carry special forces, if need be.

U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus says the quintet of new subs will be named the USS Illinois, the USS Washington, the USS Colorado, the USS Indiana and the USS South Dakota. For old times sake.

"Each of these five states serves as home to military bases," Mr. Mabus says, noting that none of the states has had a ship named for it for more than 49 years. The most recent to serve was the battleship the USS Indiana, decommissioned in October 1963.

POLL DU JOUR

• 91 percent of Americans support laws requiring background checks before firearms sales.

• 87 percent overall support laws allowing law-abiding citizens to use deadly force to protect themselves in their own house.

• 77 percent say "regular people need to step up to prevent crime from happening."

• 75 percent overall support laws allowing a law abiding citizen to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

• 74 percent support laws limiting the sale of automatic weapons like machine guns.

• 67 percent support laws allowing citizens to use deadly force to protect themselves in public places.

• 32 percent support laws allowing citizens to bring a firearm to church, work or a retail store.

• 23 percent support "less regulation" of ownership rights and gun laws.

Source: A Reuters/Ipsos poll of 1,922 U.S. adults conducted April 9-12.

Notions, polite applause, churlish remarks to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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