- The Washington Times - Monday, December 9, 2013

It’s never too early for a nice juicy straw poll, particularly if it’s of the presidential variety. The Tea Party Patriots have already drawn 250,000 voters to a survey listing potential 2016 hopefuls of interest to liberty-minded folk. The grass-roots group intends to drawn a million votes by March. Who’s leading this early, early match-up among undeclared candidates?

In front, it’s Sen. Ted Cruz; the Texas Republican has garnered 40 percent of the votes. He’s followed by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky with 21 percent, who is publicly wrestling with a White House run despite misgivings from his wife. In third place is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker with 10 percent. And yes, Sarah Palin is on the roster, drawing 6 percent of the votes. Just under a quarter of the voters indicated they were either undecided or have someone else in mind.

The poll is the proverbial shot across the bow to those who dismiss tea party influence or relevance.

“We need to show the liberal Democrats that we can — and we will — heavily support tea party candidates who are running to replace them,” says Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the organization, which represents 3,500 local groups

“And even more importantly, we need to put liberal Republicans on notice. They need to know that if they don’t toe the line, we’ll replace them as well,” she adds.

AMERICANS CHILLY TOWARD IRAN DEAL

Well, how convenient. Just as Secretary of State John F. Kerry steps before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Tuesday afternoon to quell alarm about the interim nuclear agreement with Iran, voila: a poll reveals that Americans are seriously skeptical about the deal. Committee chairman Rep. Edward R. Royce, California Republican, should take a keen interest in the numbers.

Less than one-third of Americans approve of the deal, says a new Pew Research Center poll; 14 percent of Republicans, 13 percent of both conservatives and tea partyers agree. Half of Democrats and 60 percent of liberals, however, approve the deal.

Meanwhile, 62 percent of Americans overall say Iranian leaders are “not serious” about reducing international concerns about their nuclear program; 77 percent of Republicans and even 49 percent of Democrats agree.

CHENEY CHILLY TOO

No, Dick Cheney doesn’t like the Iran agreement either. “I’m not impressed. I don’t think the Iranians have given up anything,” Mr. Cheney told Fox Business Network host Neil Cavuto on Monday night.

“I have grave doubts. I really do. The Iranians have been down this road before and they stretch out the negotiations. In the meantime, they’re very busy working on improving their enrichment capabilities. And they’ve significantly expanded their number of centrifuges,” the former vice president said.

THE HISTORIC PERSPECTIVE

“When you’re dealing with the Middle East, two thousand years is the normal wait for something to happen.”

— White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater, to Newsweek, Nov. 27, 1989.

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