- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It’s pile-on time. “Republican party implodes” has been a popular headline with news organizations and pundits since November, and they continue to use it — with zest. Critics are also fond of these phrases: Republican failure, Republican disgrace, Republican suicide, Republican-assisted suicide and Republican misery, among other dire descriptions in recent coverage.

The Grand Old Party has righted itself, however, and now confronts its failures — either genuine or manufactured by a liberal press — without flinching much. If anything, Republicans reject the role of victimhood in favor of a he-man notion to simply move forward, confident that revelations and victories will emerge to shine against the bleak backdrop. Even an unfriendly press enjoys charting such a trajectory.

In the meantime, here’s the latest narrative about imploding and/or failing Republicans:

“At a time when the Republican Party’s image is at a historic low, 62 percent of the public says the GOP is out of touch with the American people, 56 percent think it is not open to change, and 52 percent say the party is too extreme,” says a Pew Research Center poll released Tuesday.

Republicans, however, have not quite lost the faith. The poll revealed that 36 percent of members themselves say the party is “out of touch,” and 19 percent say it’s too extreme. Another 67 percent say the Republican Party is open to change while 8 of 10 say the party looks out for America’s future.

And some promising numbers: 63 percent of Americans overall say Republicans have “strong principles,” besting Democrats by 6 percentage points in the survey. While 85 percent of Americans say the party has strong principles, 62 percent of independents and 52 percent of Democrats agree.

BIG BUCKS INTACT

Fat wallets still exist in Manhattan. Cash bonuses paid to New York City securities industry employees are forecast to rise by 8 percent to $20 billion this year, according to estimates released Tuesday by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The average bonus, incidentally, was $121,900. Meanwhile, profits for New York Stock Exchange member firms totaled $23.9 billion in 2012, three times what they earned two years ago.

“Wall Street is still in transition, but it is slowly adjusting to changes in its economic and regulatory environment,” Mr. DiNapoli proclaims.

And how.

“The average salary, including bonuses, in the securities industry in New York City edged up slightly to almost $362,900,” the report says. “The disparity between the average salary in the securities industry and the rest of New York City’s private sector narrowed slightly, but it remained wide, at 5.3 times more than the rest of the private sector ($67,900).”

INHOFE’S HOPE

“It is my hope that Sen. Hagel will not want to be known as the secretary of defense responsible for overseeing the gutting of our military and instead will step up and exhibit the leadership necessary to avert this unacceptable outcome.”

— Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, following the confirmation Tuesday of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to the Cabinet position.

BLUE GRASS CRASS

The prime directive at the Louisville-based Kentucky Progress is to block Sen. Mitch McConnell’s re-election when the time comes, and they have openly opposed the Republican for months. Now there’s some trouble, though. The liberal super PAC recently retweeted a message that besmirches former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, the lawmaker’s Taiwan-born wife.

“This woman has the ear of Sen. McConnell — she’s his wife. May explain why your job moved to China!” declared the tweet from independent talk radio host Jeff Rense.

It was one of several tweets that Kentucky Progress included in its outreach, including one that referred to “Chinese money” in state elections, prompting Mr. McConnell’s campaign manager Jesse Benton to demand a public apology from the group for “race baiting.” So far, they won’t budge.

“Progress Kentucky strongly denies that the organization has engaged in any such thing,” executive director Shawn Reilly says. “Benton’s statements are an attempt to divert attention from the fact that Mitch McConnell has engaged in the selling of the American middle class overseas for decades.”

ALARMED BY ALARMISM

Hurray. At last some learned folk will talk sense about rampant public fear-mongering. The astute event of note for Wednesday in the nation’s capital: “Scared to Death: How Government Nannies are Creating a Culture of Alarmism,” presented by America’s Future Foundation and the Independent Women’s Forum.

Their topics: “obesity alarmism, chemical alarmism, environmental and energy alarmism, and agriculture alarmism.”

BILL BLESSES CHRIS

He may not be on CPAC’s roster of keynote speakers as of Tuesday. But New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got a little love elsewhere.

“Americans want authentic. They want to hear at least a little truth. That’s why Chris Christie is so popular, despite being kind of a [expletive]: because people finally sense that he’s a guy who isn’t playing a character. That’s the actual man,” notes HBO host Bill Maher, in his personal blog.

POLL DU JOUR

• 60 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of Democrats prefer Coke to beer.

• 28 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of Democrats prefer beer to Coke.

• 56 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of Democrats say dinner is their favorite meal.

• 48 percent of Republicans and 18 percent Democrats prefer Chick-fil-A as a fast-food restaurant.

• 38 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of Democrats have a favorable impression of vegetarians.

• 42 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of Democrats prefer a regular soda to a diet soda.

• 22 percent of Republican and 21 percent of Democrats consider themselves “obese.”

Source: A Public Policy Polling survey of 500 registered U.S. voters conducted Feb. 21 to 24.

• Righteous outbursts, sly asides to jharper@washingtontimes.com.