Memo to Democratic operatives: For guaranteed effect and giddy buzz, just say “right wing,” “extremist” and “ideologue” in the same sentence — alone, or in combinations. The moment Rep. Paul Ryan became Mitt Romney’s running mate, high-profile Democrats and progressives joined in a unified public chorus insisting that Mr. Ryan and his policies are extreme in nature, and oh, woe to the Republican Party for embracing him. But now the public must determine the real definition of extremist, and quickly. In a scenario that is bound to repeat itself, aggressive protesters disrupted Mr. Ryan’s 12-minute speech at the Iowa State Fair on Monday, ultimately requiring the intervention of the Iowa State Police.
“Screaming hysterical hecklers at Ryan’s Iowa State Fair speech rush stage, punch supporters, get arrested. I guess because Ryan’s an extremist,” observes David Burge, founder of the Iowa Hawk political blog.
DEMOCRATIC REALITY CHECK
“I just got this disturbing report: Yesterday’s Romney-Ryan rally in North Carolina pulled in an overflow crowd of 15,000 people. There’s no spinning that number. It’s a LOT of people, and the Republican base is energized. And that’s not all. Since the VP announcement, Romney’s campaign has brought in over 70,000 donations from his tea party base. We’ve got to step up our game and mobilize our supporters — starting right now.”
RYAN REALITY CHECK
Rep. Paul Ryan has won the heart of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, which compared the vice-presidential nominee’s voting record on fiscal matters with Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s record. And voila. The nonprofit watchdog now deems Mr. Ryan’s record “far superior” to that of his campaign rival, awarding him a 92 percent rating and the status of taxpayer hero, says Thomas A. Schatz, president of the group. In contrast, Mr. Biden earned a 22 percent rating and is considered “unfriendly” to taxpayers.
Mr. Schatz also is a big fan of the House Budget Committee chairman’s Path to Prosperity plan — a stark contrast to the “path to bankruptcy budget ” proposed by President Obama and Mr. Biden, which was rejected by the House and Senate.
“While Chairman Ryan’s plan has been called ‘extreme’ by opponents, including Vice President Biden, the term is more aptly applied to the annual budget deficits of more than $1 trillion and accumulated $5 trillion in debt that has been produced by the Obama administration over the past four years,” Mr. Schatz adds. “Chairman Ryan has been and will remain an articulate advocate for a rational solution to the nation’s financial woes.”
ONE FOR THE DEMOCRATS
Atheists have a message for the Democratic National Convention when the event gets under way in Charlotte, N.C., next month. One billboard proclaims “Christianity: Sadistic God; Useless Savior, 30,000+ Versions of ‘Truth’ Promotes Hate, Calls it ‘Love.’” The other says “Mormonism: God Is a Space Alien, Baptizes Dead People, Big Money, Big Bigotry.”
“We want to show the people of our country the foolishness of mixing religion with politics,” insists David Silverman, president of American Atheists, the New Jersey-based group behind it all. There’s not always a willing audience, however. Billboard companies in Tampa, Fla. site of the Republican National Convention from Aug. 27-30, have refused to display the material, Mr. Silverman notes.
FOR THE LEXICON
Along with advising journalists not to capitalize “first lady” and to avoid cliches like “veepstakes” and “pressing the flesh,” the Associated Press also tells the press not to throw around partisan prose willy-nilly. In an extensive list of political words and phrases to assist in election coverage, the wire service includes these helpful hints for news organizations:
“Leftist, ultraleftist. Avoid these terms in favor of more precise descriptions of political leanings.”
“Rightist, ultra-rightist. Avoid these terms in favor of more precise descriptions of political leanings.”
ABORTION: NOT HEALTH CARE
The Susan B. Anthony List hopes to remind voters that abortion “is not health care,” no matter what the White House says.
“From expanding taxpayer funding of abortion under the guise of ‘health care,’ to forcing taxpayers to underwrite the nation’s No. 1 abortion business, Planned Parenthood, refusing to defend baby girls from the deadly discrimination of sex-selective abortion, to exporting taxpayer funding of abortion overseas, President Obama’s record on abortion is nothing but extreme,” says Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life group, who adds that such thinking does not represent the interests of American women and families.
The organization will launch a 30-city, 11-day Women Speak Out bus tour through five swing states next week to get its point across. The substantial roster of speakers includes former Rep. Marilyn Musgrave of Colorado, Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Rep. Jean Schmidt, Ohio Republican. See more details at www.sba-list.org.
POLL DU JOUR
• 64 percent of Americans have thought about the presidential election “quite a lot”; 74 percent of Republicans and 61 percent of Democrats agree.
• 28 percent overall say they’ve thought about the election “only a little”; 21 percent of Republicans and 30 percent of Democrats agree.
• 34 percent of Americans overall are following the campaign “very closely”; 45 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of Democrats agree.
• 39 percent overall say they’re following it “somewhat closely”; 42 percent of Republicans and 46 percent of Democrats agree.
• 28 percent overall say they’re following the campaign “not too closely” or not at all; 13 percent of Republicans and 22 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A USA Today/Gallup poll of 1,030 U.S. adults conducted July 19-22 and released Monday.
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