- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Along with his policy prowess and campaign cachet, Rep. Paul Ryan has another factor working for him as Mitt Romney’s choice as running mate. Chemistry. That’s what’s implied, at least, say more than 16,000 National Review readers who quickly responded to this question: “Is Ryan making Romney a better candidate?” The results: 97 percent agreed.


“While we can expect the assault on Paul Ryan to only intensify in the coming days, liberals are already starting to show some frustration as they come up against the fact that whatever you may think of his ideas, he is both likable and admirable, something even President Obama was willing to admit earlier in his administration,” says Commentary magazine’s senior online editor, Jonathan S. Tobin.

Attempts to “Palinize” won’t work this time, he observes, recalling the relentless press attacks on then-vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin four years ago.

Mr. Ryan can “hold his own on the enemy turf of the mainstream media but, as President Obama learned to his sorrow, is able to go on the offensive and challenge liberal orthodoxies without appearing like the snarling cartoon character that Democrats hope to paint to the public,” Mr. Tobin says, later predicting, “Whatever the outcome of the election, the liberal boasts about turning Ryan into another Palin will fail miserably.”


“A dozen turkey legs, a dozen fried Oreos, four fried Snickers, fried Twinkies, fried Ho-Hos.”

And that was on the menu when senior Obama campaign insiders David Axelrod, David Plouffe, Jen Psaki, Jon Favreau, Alyssa Mastromonaco and Eugene Kang visited the Iowa State Fair during President Obama’s campaign appearance on Tuesday.

“We’re all still functioning today. The fried Oreos, I think, is a group favorite,” Ms. Psaki noted in the aftermath.


“So, my correspondents ask, how can you justify inviting the President? Let me try to explain. For one, an invitation to the Al Smith Dinner is not an award, or the provision of a platform to expound views at odds with the Church. It is an occasion of conversation; it is personal, not partisan.

“Two, the purpose of the Al Smith Dinner is to show both our country and our Church at their best: people of faith gathered in an evening of friendship, civility, and patriotism, to help those in need, not to endorse either candidate. Three, the teaching of the Church, so radiant in the Second Vatican Council, is that the posture of the Church towards culture, society, and government is that of engagement and dialogue. In other words, it’s better to invite than to ignore, more effective to talk together than to yell from a distance, more productive to open a door than to shut one.”

(Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, explaining his decision to invite President Obama to the 68th annual Al Smith Dinner on Oct. 18)


“Ten percent of Americans in August approve of the job Congress is doing, tying last February’s reading as the lowest in Gallup’s 38-year history of this measure. Eighty-three percent disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job,” says Gallup poll director Frank Newport.

Lawmakers are in the doghouse for myriad reasons. Potential collateral damage, however, is unclear.

“It is difficult to pinpoint precise causes for these extraordinarily negative views, although the continuing poor economy is certainly a major factor. The fact that control of Congress is now divided, with a Republican majority in the House and a Democratic majority in the Senate, may provide an opportunity for Americans of all political persuasions to dislike some aspect of Congress,” Mr. Newport says.

“Mitt Romney’s choice for his vice presidential running mate, Paul Ryan, is himself a sitting member of the House, but it is not clear whether voters’ disdain for Congress will in any way rub off on their assessments of Ryan,” he adds.


“We all mourn the loss of Nellie Gray, a hero of the pro-life cause, and founder of the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. She dedicated her life to fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves, the unborn, or, in Nellie’s words, the preborn,” says House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who joined Rep. Christopher H. Smith, New Jersey Republican and co-chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus, in lauding the longtime leader.

Ms. Gray, 88, died Monday.

“We’ll all miss seeing Nellie in her red coat on the stage before the crowds that have grown to the hundreds of thousands, leading the throngs past the Supreme Court and at the Capitol on those bitterly cold January days. We will continue her fight,” Mr. Cantor promises.

“What we’re more interested in is some full coverage of our life principles, and why we are out here in the middle of winter. Why do people get on buses and come here to the Mall, to talk to Congress? It would help if the press would see that as news,” Ms. Gray told Inside the Beltway in a 2009 interview.


• 90 percent of U.S. voters agree that increased access to domestic oil and natural gas could lead to more American jobs; 95 percent of Republicans and 85 percent of Democrats agree.

• 75 percent of voters overall support the Keystone XL Pipeline; 89 percent of Republicans and 66 percent of Democrats agree.

• 71 percent voters overall support increased access to domestic oil and natural gas resources; 85 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of Democrats agree.

• 65 percent of voters overall say increased energy taxes could drive up energy costs; 73 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of Democrats agree.

• 63 percent of voters overall say Washington is on the wrong track regarding U.S. energy policy; 86 percent of Republicans and 46 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An American Petroleum Institute/Harris Poll of 1,016 registered U.S. voters conducted Aug. 9-12.

Accolades and escapades to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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