Inside the Beltway: Republicans for the little guy

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The Grand Old Party is still sorting out a strategy as the 2014 midterm elections loom on a not-so-distant horizon; keep in mind that the new year dawns in a mere 14 days. That’s about 336 hours away, folks.

And here is the script at this point: Republicans pine for unity and an authentic message that is good for the long march. They hope to prove they are a powerful, canny, loyal old dog with institutional knowledge and some very new tricks. The GOP also ponders proverbial big-tent thinking and seeks new standard-bearers, though the party still guards the family jewels. They are ready to walk softly and surely, and carry a big stick.

And here’s one more thought: “re-branding the GOP from the party of big business to the party of the little guy,” suggests John Fonte, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a National Review contributor.

Barack Obama’s most effective campaign argument in 2012 was that Mitt Romney represented corporate America while the president and his party were fighting for ordinary Americans,” Mr. Fonte says.

“Business leaders and conservatives often join forces for pragmatic gain on significant issues such as Obamacare, taxes, trade policy, cap-and-trade proposals, and other environmental and government regulations. This issue-by-issue alliance is tactically useful to both groups and no doubt will — and should — continue,” he observes.

“Republicans as a party, however, and conservatives specifically, should not be subservient to corporate interests on core issues. The American electorate must come to view Republicans as the party of the middle class rather than the courtiers of big business. The GOP brand must change,” Mr. Fonte adds.

THE HILLARY FLIGHT PLAN

“Fundraising activity and personnel shifts at two super PACs backing Hillary Clinton for a 2016 presidential run appear to be heating up — though Clinton still hasn’t announced whether or not she’ll run for office in 2016,” says Brandon Conradis, an analyst with the Center for Responsive Politics’ Open Secrets, which tracks political fundraising.

Ready for Hillary, the splashy undertaking founded by former advisers to Mrs. Clinton, has raised $1.3 million over the past year, and counts the Soros Fund Management — chaired by billionaire philanthropist George Soros — and Wells Fargo Advisors among its biggest contributors, Mr. Conradis says.

“Some of the top donors to Ready for Hillary have also been major bundlers for President Obama, including ACORN International co-founder Robert Roche and attorney Dan Berger,” he notes. Priorities USA Action is also emerging a major support for the potential candidate; the group was the main super PAC backing President Obama’s re-election bid.”

And the major takeaway?

“Both groups are starting to draw on Obama’s key fundraisers for support,” Mr. Conradis notes.

FOOD POLICE PERUSE CHRISTMAS DINNER

Sh-h-h. Don’t tell New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. The overseas food police have examined Britain’s traditional Christmas dinner and declared it to be the unhealthiest in all of Europe.

The Brits’ hearty meal consists of fare that also appears on American holiday menus: turkey, roast beef, stuffing, pies. But alas, it also ranks dead last on a list of 20 menus ranked best to worst: The average Christmas diner in jolly old England will tuck into 7,000 calories, 69 grams of fat and 211 grams of carbohydrates, according to Lifesum, a Swedish group that manufactures weight loss apps. France, which leans toward roast chicken and salmon, is in first place, followed by the Czech Republic, where fish soup and cold potato salad are prized.

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