Inside the Beltway: Prolonged GOP primary season wearing on both parties

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Even Democrats now agree that Mitt Romney is the “inevitable” Republican presidential candidate, and that the primary has dragged on so long it could ultimately damage the Grand Old Party. Three-quarters of Republicans say Mr. Romney will definitely be the nominee, a sentiment shared by 64 percent of Democrats — this according to a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey conducted April 5-8.

Republicans’ appetite for the ongoing primary campaign has also “soured,” the pollster says, with 47 percent concluding that the extended political theater associated with the race is bad for the party itself. The Democrats have even more fatigue, with 63 percent agreeing that the GOP primary has overstayed its welcome and will exact a toll.

The findings could bolster evidence that there’s a mysterious master plan afoot, however. Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh are among observers claiming since January that Mr. Romney is the preferred candidate of the White House and the liberal media. The GOP hopeful will be demonized as “Mr. 1 Percent” — out of touch with mainstream America and a stark contrast to carefully crafted progressive populism meant to reinvent the old “hope and change” mindset.

HUCKABEE VERSUS LIMBAUGH

“Welcome to the community of conversation. You’ve just made a right turn, and you’ve arrived at the corner of conservatism and common sense. In this show, we’re going to be confronting the issues and not the listeners.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who launched a new talk-radio show Monday, said he was "going to be confronting the issues and not the listeners." (National Press Club)

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Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who launched a new talk-radio show Monday, ... more >

And so said Mike Huckabee in the opening moments of his new noon-3 p.m. daily radio show launched Monday by Cumulus Media on 140 stations, airing directly opposite Rush Limbaugh, who is carried by Premiere Networks on about 600 stations. Cumulus, which has positioned its new star as a less combative listening experience, has already predicted that the hubbub over Mr. Limbaugh’s remarks about Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke could play in its favor.

“It’s going to really be very helpful to us,” said Cumulus president and CEO Lewis Dickey last month.

BACK IN THE SADDLE

The next Republican primaries take place two weeks from Tuesday — a veritable eon on the campaign trail. But all four Republican hopefuls are ready to rumble in half a dozen states. In the next 48 hours, Mitt Romney will be in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Rhode Island; Rick Santorum visits Pennsylvania and Delaware, while Newt Gingrich travels across North Carolina and Rep. Ron Paul appears in Texas.

NIGHTSTAND READING

Sleepless over the onrushing tax deadline? The American Enterprise Institute has ample reading material. AEI has released “Taxes: 1937 to Today,” its annual report on American sentiment on such things. The study plumbs ancient Gallup polls and contemporary reports alike. Among the findings: Property taxes are now alarming people as much as the federal income tax — and amazingly enough, majorities of Americans say they pay a “fair” amount of taxes. See the monster study here: www.aei.org

HOME AGAIN

The remains of Army Cpl. Patrick R. Glennon of Rochester, N.Y., have been returned to his family for burial with full military honors almost 62 years after the young soldier died while holding a defensive position along the Nammyon River near Unsan, North Korea. Cpl. Glennon, who was 18 when he fell, was a member of G Company, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, which was under heavy attack by Chinese forces on Nov. 1, 1950.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea released American remains to former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi when the pair visited the nation five years ago. Cpl. Glennon’s dog tags were among the remains. He was positively identified by scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory using DNA evidence.

The soldier will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday. More than 7,900 Americans still remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.

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