Inside the Beltway: Mustering through inauguration depression

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Got inauguration depression? It’ll only last another 24 hours or so. In the meantime, here’s advice on passing the time from Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union.

“Pray for our country and our leaders. Turn off the TV and spend quality time with family and loved ones,” Mr. Cardenas tells Inside the Beltway. He also advises disgruntled folks to visit conservative.org and sign up for the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in mid-March, which should be a doozy. And last but not least?

“Get excited about 2016,” Mr. Cardenas adds.

THIRTY-TWO YEARS AGO

“For decades, we have piled deficit upon deficit, mortgaging our future and our children’s future for the temporary convenience of the present. To continue this long trend is to guarantee tremendous social, cultural, political and economic upheavals. You and I, as individuals, can, by borrowing, live beyond our means, but for only a limited period of time. Why, then, should we think that collectively, as a nation, we’re not bound by that same limitation? We must act today in order to preserve tomorrow. And let there be no misunderstanding: We are going to begin to act, beginning today.

“The economic ills we suffer have come upon us over several decades. They will not go away in days, weeks or months, but they will go away. They will go away because we as Americans have the capacity now, as we’ve had in the past, to do whatever needs to be done to preserve this last and greatest bastion of freedom.

“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time, we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden. The solutions we seek must be equitable, with no one group singled out to pay a higher price.

“We hear much of special interest groups. Well, our concern must be for a special interest group that has been too long neglected. It knows no sectional boundaries or ethnic and racial divisions, and it crosses political party lines. It is made up of men and women who raise our food, patrol our streets, man our mines and factories, teach our children, keep our homes, and heal us when we’re sick — professionals, industrialists, shopkeepers, clerks, cabbies and truck drivers. They are, in short, ‘we the people,’ this breed called Americans.”

— From President Reagan’s first inaugural address, Jan. 20, 1981.

THREE PERCENTERS

Here is a telling little number. A very little number, in fact. A mere 3 percent of Americans say things are currently going “very well” in the U.S. now, according to a CNN poll released Sunday. Among Democrats, that number is 5 percent; the response could not be measured among Republicans because it was too low to gauge. Another 46 percent of Americans overall say things are “fairly well” — which includes 71 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of Republicans.

Meanwhile, 36 percent of Americans overall say things are going “pretty badly.” That includes 19 percent of Democrats and 47 percent of Republicans. And alas, 15 percent overall say things are going “very badly,” including 5 percent of Democrats and 24 percent of Republicans.

WIN, LOSE

“That’s the problem with this administration they’re not very gracious winners. And I always said, you know, there’s one thing worse than a sore loser, and that’s a sore winner. And the president’s a sore winner.”

— Rick Santorum on President Obama, to ABC News “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos.

THE HISTORIC PRESIDENCY

“I think the American public wants a solemn ass as a president. And I think I’ll go along with them.”

— Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the U.S., in a remark to actress Ethel Barrymore, April 25, 1925.

WHAT’S HARRY DOING?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has already got his legislative targets lined up for Tuesday, when lawmakers presumably resume working. Mr. Reid has formally outlined his agenda with a series of “privileged” measures he expects to take up, Democratic aides tell BuzzFeed.

“To be sure, the list of bills isn’t an outline of what Reid thinks can actually become law. For instance, the House Republican majority has indicated reform to gun laws could not win approval. Rather, the list is more a declaration of those issues the Senate’s Democratic majority values most highly,” says correspondent Rebecca Berg.

The top 10 bills confirmed to her by Mr. Reid’s office: “Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Sandy Hook Elementary School Violence Reduction Act, Strengthen Our Schools and Students Act, Rebuild America Act, Violence Against Women Act, Putting Our Veterans Back to Work Act, Preparing for Extreme Weather, End Wasteful Tax Loopholes, Clean and Fair Elections Act, and Agriculture Jobs Bill.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 86 percent of registered U.S. voters favor improving enforcement of existing gun laws; 86 percent of Republicans and 85 percent of Democrats agree.

• 77 percent of Americans say it’s likely that gun laws will change this year; 77 percent of Republicans and 78 percent of Democrats agree.

• 71 percent overall say “people will always find guns” to commit violent acts; 85 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of Democrats agree.

• 58 percent overall say there would be less violent crime in the U.S. if “more law-abiding people” had guns; 80 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of Democrats agree.

• 52 percent overall say there is a gun in their household; 65 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of Democrats agree.

• 65 percent of respondents with a gun in their household would “defy law” and keep their guns if the government passed a law to ban firearms; 70 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Fox News poll of 1,008 U.S. voters conducted Jan. 15 to 17.

Vapid observations, churlish remarks to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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