Inside the Beltway: Hank Williams Jr. tunes up

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Country music kingpin and patriot Hank Williams Jr. continues to sing of his politics, not to mention his vision for America and its citizenry. The man’s got a new album out Tuesday titled “Old School, New Rules,” complete with a few lyrics that go a little something like this:

“Don’t tread on me, political correctness has run its course’,” “Barack, pack your bags, head to Chicago, take your teleprompter with you,” “I got a list of taxes I thought were a joke — inheritance, death, say, any quarters in that coffin?” All are gleaned from Mr. Williams‘ 12 new songs; see the collection here: www.hankjr.com.

He’s still rowdy. Consider a few of those titles: “Takin’ Back The Country”, “I’m Gonna Get Drunk And Play Hank Williams” — a duet with Brad Paisley) — plus “We Don’t Apologize for America” and “Stock Market Blues”.

Politically inclined but a canny good old boy, Mr. Williams has appeared on both Fox News and CBS in the last 48 hours. But he’s got some burgeoning business afoot. He now heads up Bocephus Records, his own label, complete with a licensing deal with Blaster Records.

“I’m an executive CEO, man. I’ll take you fishing, take you on tour, sell $100,000 in T-shirts, whatever, I’m a multitalented dude. It’s fun, it’s real,” the musicians observes with gusto.

OY VEY, OBAMA

It has something to do with hope and change, but not the kind that the White House might approve. With Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting Mitt Romney readying to make his fourth visit to Israel next month, this emerging political phenomenon demands notice: More suburban Jews are taking a second look at the Republican Party, even among those “born and raised in an environment where voting Democratic was as natural for their families as the Friday Shabbat dinners” says Kerry Lester, a political writer with the Daily Herald, a suburban Chicago newspaper in Arlington Heights, Ill.

She recently encountered a table full of “Obama, Oy Vey!” buttons at an event in nearby Skokie organized by the Chicago Chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition. “Many of my friends who are Jewish say because of the Democrats, the women have the right to vote, they can choose. And all those things I support, but not the Democrats today,” attendee Anita Ashe told the paper.

Jonathan Greenberg, who is running against five-term Democratic state Rep. Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook in the newly drawn 57th District, described himself as a liberal up until 10 years ago, when the 9/11 attacks prompted him to be mindful of national security. He is not out to prove a “Jewish case,” Mr. Greenberg said.

“There’s a taxpayer case. A common-sense case. Judaism is timeless, heavenly divine, sacred things. And politics is necessarily temporal. And human and flawed,” he said.

HEADLINE DU JOUR

“The do-nothing Congress is headed back to D.C. to, well, do nothing.”

(From the news aggregation site Fark.com, based on an Associated Press account that noted Sunday, “Republicans and Democrats in Congress who congratulated themselves for passing relatively routine legislation before July 4 are returning to the Capitol for a summer stocked with political show votes and no serious role for bipartisanship.”)

UPPING THE ANTE

“Save America. Fire Barack Obama and hire Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney has to win for the sake of the very idea of America. Mitt Romney has to win for liberty and freedom.”

(Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, on “Fox News Sunday.”)

LEANER, SMARTER

Not everyone in Congress is trudging back to Capitol Hill. Rep. Mike Rogers, Alabama Republican and the determined chairman of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on transportation security, has lined up a formidable quartet of witnesses for a hearing titled “Challenging the Status Quo at TSA” on Tuesday.

“Terrorists remain intent on attacking our transportation systems and are constantly evolving their tactics based on our security measures. Unfortunately, TSA has become a slow-moving, oversized bureaucratic agency in need of reform,” Mr. Rogers says, adding that his experts will offer ideas to help the Transportation Security Administration “become the leaner, smarter, intelligence-driven, professional entity its mission requires.”

Among the idea guys at hand: Richard Bloom, director of terrorism, espionage, and security studies at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Robert Poole, director of Transportation Policy at the Reason Foundation.

BUMPER PATROL

“The Ten Commandments are not multiple choice.”

(Bumper sticker spotted in Plano, Texas.)

TAXING SITUATION

July 15 is a red-letter day for the tenacious researchers at Americans for Tax Reform, who calculate that the aforementioned date is Cost of Government Day. Meaning, the average American must work until July 15 to pay for the burden of federal, state and local government spending and regulations, they say.

Naturally, they’re throwing a “Sin Tax Party” this week to celebrate the report, and draw attention to the “sinful” products that now suffer extra government taxation, including distilled spirits, beer, wine, soda and prepared meals.

POLL DU JOUR

• 80 percent of voters in 12 key swing states say they can’t wait for the 2012 presidential election “to be over.”

• 17 percent “can’t wait for the campaign to begin”

• 70 percent say local TV ads confirmed their thinking about President Obama and Mitt Romney.

• 8 percent say the ads have “changed their views.”

• 47 percent would vote for Mr. Obama if the election were held today; 45 percent would vote for Mr. Romney.

• 25 percent of the voters overall are “extremely” enthusiastic about voting for president this year.

• 30 percent of Republican voters and 23 percent of Democratic voters agree.

Source: A USA Today/Gallup poll of 1,200 registered voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, conducted June 22 to 29 and released Sunday.

Hoots, hollers, doubtful tut-tuts to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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