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Inside the Beltway: Staying conservative
Though the mainstream media and certain elected officials are advising the Republican Party to gut itself and re-emerge as a spiffy, contemporary, compliant, agreeable and infinitely more charming new political entity, the majority of Republican voters essentially reject that idea. They're at home with the Grand Old Party as it is.
"Republicans continue to want the GOP to move in a more conservative direction: 60 percent say Republican leaders should move in a more conservative direction while just 31 percent want to see them move in a more moderate direction. Democrats, however, want their party to move in a more moderate — rather than a more liberal — direction by a 55 percent to 35 percent margin," reports a Pew Research Center survey of about 2,000 voters conducted shortly after the presidential election.
"Although these views partly reflect the fact that conservatives make up a larger share of Republicans than liberals do of Democrats, this difference is evident even among the ideological wings of each party. Fully 70 percent of conservative Republicans want the GOP to move in a more conservative direction. Liberal Democrats are divided; 46 percent want the party to move in a more liberal direction while 45 percent prefer a more moderate move by the Democratic Party," the findings reveal.
Incidentally, the survey also asked voters to freely describe their personal feelings following President Obama's re-election. Among Democrats, the top-10 most cited words were relieved, happy, excited, satisfied, elated, pleased, glad, great, good and ecstatic. Among Republicans, the top words were disappointed, disgusted, shocked, surprised, fearful, sad, depressed, devastated, unhappy and upset.
GIVE THEM THE BIRD
Well, at least someone has a job waiting for him. When President Obama ceremoniously pardons the White House turkey next week, the gobbler has some opportunity waiting in the wings when the pardoning is done. No, it's not retiring to a verdant farm or serving as an honorary parade marshal. Wild Turkey, the bourbon maker, is offering the turkey a guaranteed gig as official "spokesbird" for its distillery in Lawrenceburg, Ky.
"In our humble opinion, there is no better place for this year's presidentially-pardoned bird to live out its golden years than the Wild Turkey Distillery grounds in central Kentucky," says Jimmy Russell, master distiller. "There really is no bird more undeniably American than the turkey. After all, it was the great Benjamin Franklin who called for it to be named our national bird."
The company already has sent a personal letter to Mr. Obama with the job offer; a reception committee and proper quarters await the feathered one.
"So, Mr. President, this Thanksgiving, please. Give us the bird," Mr. Russell adds.
Freedom still sells? You betcha. Talk that the United States is no longer a player in global business is ill-founded, say those who cite the nation's prowess in intellectual property rights and licensed products. America-centric clothing, sporting goods and even theme parks are licensed worldwide to the tune of $2 billion per year, according to industry sources. Though some in the Middle East decry the "decadent American way of life," Disneyland still could end up in Dubai, says Danny Simon, a Los Angeles-based licensing industry veteran who has shepherded the branding of merchandise based on the star power of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, among many sources. The old American "brand" is alive, well and profitable.
"Practically speaking, the American lifestyle can actually be thought of as the American brand. Internationally, it conveys a way of living in which individuals have freedom to pursue the life they choose. This manifests itself by total access to a broad range of products and services. In addition to the notion of choice, embedded in the American brand is the perception that the opportunity to succeed is something attainable by anyone and is not just the province of the privileged," Mr. Simon tells Inside the Beltway.
"While it is conventional wisdom to think that entire nations — for example, many Middle East countries — hate everything American, this is simply not true, given the universal popularity of American media. Obviously there are detractors of America in certain regions of the world. However, there are even more who embrace the American brand. Their interest in American culture, as portrayed through American films and television programs, is actually a very clear endorsement of what our country represents."
THE MASSIVE MENU
Three cheers for Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Subsistence, which will provide a perfectly swell Thanksgiving dinner for troops in more than 200 locations in Afghanistan. The menu, which has been in the works since May, will send 60,000 pounds of beef, 20,000 pounds of ham, 45,000 pounds of turkey, 28,000 sweet potatoes and 5,800 pies on their way to those in harm's way, and with good wishes.
"I know the feeling of missing family and friends while on deployment," says U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Patricia E. Wolfe, acting commander. "Our workforce takes great pride in ensuring deployed war fighters have a taste of the holidays while they are protecting our freedoms."
The agency began work in 1800 as the Schuylkill Arsenal in Philadelphia, incidentally, and now annually distributes $14 billion a year in food, uniforms, protective equipment, medical supplies, repair parts and equipment to troops.
POLL DU JOUR
• 72 percent of U.S. voters say President Obama should "work with" Republican leaders; 93 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of Democrats agree.
• 67 percent of voters overall say Republican leaders should work with Mr. Obama; 46 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of Democrats agree.
• 26 percent of voters overall say GOP leaders should "stand up" to Mr. Obama; 50 percent of Republicans and 7 percent of Democrats agree.
• 21 percent of voters overall say Mr. Obama should "stand up" to GOP leaders; 3 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of Democrats agree.
• 31 percent of voters overall say partisan relations will improve in the next year; 16 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 1,206 U.S. voters conducted Nov. 8-11.
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