- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ronald Reagan and Elvis Presley, an impossible combination? Not this week. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation is offering a tribute to Elvis on Thursday — an “old time Vegas” gala, complete with Elvis impersonator, seven-piece show band and casino-inspired eats at the spectacular Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

On the menu: Mojo grilled chicken, Italian sausage and cheese-stuffed jumbo mushrooms, short rib pot roast, country style barbecue pork ribs, apple cider coleslaw, buttermilk biscuits and hot apple caramel crumble with vanilla ice cream. Among many offerings.

Did Reagan ever meet Presley? No, according to Phil Arnold of the Elvis Blog, which tracks Elvis minutiae. Elvis met Richard M. Nixon in 1970, and former presidents George H.W. Bush when he was U.S. ambassador to the United Nation in 1971, plus Jimmy Carter when he was governor of Georgia two years later. Presley died Aug. 16, 1977.

“He epitomized America, and for that we shall be eternally grateful. There will never be anyone else like him. Let’s all rejoice in his music,” a gracious Reagan said after the singer’s passing.

THE REPUBLICAN BRAND

The Grand Old Party is displaying its tusks, and trumpeting. Republicans are wrestling with their identity: Should the party embrace a conservative standard bearer or a hybrid with wide voter appeal like, say, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie? The talk is the delight of Democrats and liberal media who insist the party is in disarray.

But behold: Here comes rebranded Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who is feisty, but also emerging as nimble, cheerful and capable of seamless responses.

“A healthy family debate is not a bad thing at all. I don’t think at a time when we just came off of a presidential election that having a party that is just dull and boring is something that is good for not just our party, but for this country. So I think that these debates are good,” a grinning Mr. Priebus told ABC News.

And he had another deft response to criticism of Republicans unified by their chairman’s proposal to boycott CNN and NBC should they produce carefully timed programming on Hillary Rodham Clinton. Democratic National Committee press secretary Michael Czin cautioned that if the GOP hoped to attract more diverse interest, the boycott and a potentially diminished audience would only bring them fewer voters.

“I’m trying to get a hold of a primary process and a debate debacle that, as you know, I’ve called a traveling circus,” Mr. Priebus told ABC. “I’ve got to protect this party and our nominees. We don’t want 23 debate rounds like we’ve had before. And I would just say that entities like NBC and CNN that are moving forward with [shows] about Hillary Clinton are not going to take part in our debates.”

TUSK WORTHY

Some suggest that the Republican symbol needs an update to counter the upstart donkey of Democratic fame. The GOP needs more mastodon, less dutiful circus creature.

“The logo should have a great deal more oomph and dynamism. An improved logo would rampage, trumpeting a challenge to all comers. It should also have a pair of menacing tusks. Then let that damned donkey come rearing up in its face,” proclaims American Thinker columnist Perry Drake.

“Party faithful might feel that the elephant as it is most popularly portrayed is part of GOP history and shouldn’t be tampered with. Naysayers should keep in mind, though, that once you use the word ‘history’ you’ve already lost two-thirds of your audience. America is a today country, especially among the demographic groups the Republican Party hopes to attract,” Mr. Drake observes.

HILLARY IN MOTION

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