- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It is a tale of two tours: One for Mitt Romney, the other for those who pine to be his running mate. The next six days will showcase the “pillars” tour for Mr. Romney, now in London for the summer Olympic Games and soon to journey to Israel and Poland — all “pillars of liberty” that share American values, says campaign policy director Lanhee Chen. It is the ideal tableau for Mr. Romney. He can remind U.S. voters of his role as canny point man during the scandal-plagued Salt Lake City Olympics a decade ago. He also can prove himself an able statesman and master of civility on the global stage.

Then there is the second tour — a rite of passage, a ticket to the 2012 Republican ticket. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell hit the road Thursday. They’re touring Iowa, by bus. The pair will embark on the “We Did Build That” tour aboard a lumbering motor coach, rolling from Davenport to Coralville, Newton and Des Moines before returning to their respective home turfs. Both governors are ready to rumble and willing to prove that they would be a match for an increasingly aggressive Vice President Joseph R. Biden.

Before departing for the Hawkeye State on Wednesday, Mr. McDonnell had much to say about President Obama, calling both the man and his administration “out of touch, out of ideas, and as far as I’m concerned, out of time to prove they can restore the American dream.”

THE MEASURE OF SUCCESS

The notion that successful Americans got “help” realizing their dreams is not confined to President Obama’s speeches. It’s an entrenched Democratic belief. “If you succeed in America, it’s partly because others helped you out,” reads a statement from an Economist/YouGov poll released Wednesday. Sixty percent of Democrats and 30 percent of Republicans agree with that.

Twenty-three percent of Democrats and 56 percent of the GOPers agree, “If you don’t succeed in America, it’s usually your own fault.” And are successful people obligated to “give back to our society”? Two-thirds of Democrats and 38 percent of Republicans say they should.

Meanwhile, there is some reassuring optimism afoot, with a partisan twist: 59 percent of Democrats and 84 percent of Republicans still agree that “anyone can succeed in America if they try.”

THE PALIN EFFECT

“They just can’t help themselves. While the Hollywood Left bashes former vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with one hand, the other hand is rushing to snap pictures of the certified GOP rock star. Palin attended an NBC soiree at the Beverly Hilton Hotel to support her husband Todd, who’s a cast member on ‘Stars Earn Stripes.’ It’s a new NBC show in which celebrity guests compete in physical challenges that members of our armed forces must endure. NBC threw a party for several programs and invited members of the Television Critics Association to hobnob with the stars. Palin shined brightest, and Tinseltown took notice,” points out Twitchy.com, a nimble monitor of high-profile tweets from journalists and gossipmongers.

“Sarah Palin generated such a huge interview scrum that it threatened to leave the actual NBC stars ignored,” noted Los Angeles-based TV critic Alan Sepinwall.

What NBC stars did Mrs. Palin upstage, incidentally? Among them: Matthew Perry, Nick Lachey, Picabo Street, Samantha Harris and Dean Cain.

NEVER FORGET

The U.S. Navy christens its newest amphibious transport dock ship “Somerset” on Saturday at the Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Avondale, La. The ship is named in honor of United Airlines Flight 93, which went down in Somerset County, near Shanksville, Pa. on 9/11 after courageous passengers and crew fought back terrorist hijackers who intended to crash the aircraft in the nation’s capital.

In the weeks that followed, an American flag was hoisted on the top of a power shovel or “dragline” to mark the site; steel from the dragline’s bucket was melted down and cast into Somerset’s bow stem. The 24,000-ton, 684-foot vessel has a crew of 360 and can accommodate helicopters, tilt-rotor aircraft, landing craft and amphibious vehicles — and is praised as “a key element of 21st century Amphibious Ready Groups, Expeditionary Strike Groups, and Joint Task Forces,” the Navy says. See the ceremony live at 11 a.m. EDT here: http://www.vistasat.com/HIIWebcast.html.

THE COST OF AURORA

“Why must the tragic Colorado theater shootings stimulate a debate on more than mere gun control? Not simply because, or however remarkable the fact that, violent mass killings — whether in Columbine, Virginia Tech or now Aurora — tend to have little sustained influence or impact over public attitudes vis-a-vis gun control, but because the root cause of violence is much more multifaceted and complex than access to military-grade weaponry,” says Michael Shank, vice president of the Institute for Economics and Peace and a Huffington Post contributor.

How much will the shootings ultimately cost the public? Using government statistics and socio-economic data, Mr. Shank’s organization tracks violence in terms of dollars. Last year, violence in America cost $460 billion, he says; Colorado’s share of that was nearly $7 billion, he says.

“One homicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can cost well over $1.3 million, and that’s just in medical, judicial and police costs. There is a much bigger cost to the economy. Consider that the 12 killed in Aurora will no longer be part of America’s workforce, ever. That’s a long-term cost that must be calculated as well when understanding the devastating impact of violence to America,” Mr. Shank observes.

POLL DU JOUR

• 66 percent of likely U.S. voters say the nation’s slow economic recovery is a result of “bad policy.”

• 57 percent say congressional Republicans have taken the “wrong actions” and slowed the recovery; 30 percent say they took the “right actions” to boost the economy.

• 53 percent say President Obama has taken “the wrong actions”; 42 percent say Mr. Obama has taken the “right actions.”

• 34 percent say Mr. Obama is mostly to blame for the slow recovery.

• 23 percent fault Congress, 23 percent Wall Street.

• 18 percent blame former President George W. Bush.

Source: A Hill Poll of 1,000 likely voters conducted July 19.

Snappy retorts, observations, press releases to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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