Inside the Beltway: The Vegas factor

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Oh, the glory of those campaign days. President Obama visited Las Vegas 10 times last year, proving that Nevada is a swing state worthy of wooing, and that Vegas provides a glittering, effective venue. Naturally, Mr. Obama will journey there Tuesday for his very first trip of the year, a dress rehearsal, perhaps, for another monumental event in a 18 days. But no one is revealing the details about Vegas. Yet.

“The president will travel. You can expect that. He will, as he does, make the case to the American people for the vision he laid out in his inaugural address, and the specifics he will lay out at his State of the Union address on Feb. 12,” suggests White House spokesman Jay Carney.

About that gun ban

“If it just feels good, don’t do it. One reason federal spending is out of control is the enactment of feel-good laws that throw money at a problem without addressing its underlying causes. That’s what’s going on here,” says Maureen Martin, senior fellow for legal affairs at the Heartland Institute.

She’s referring to Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s bill to prohibit the sale, transfer, importation and manufacture of what the California Democrat calls “dangerous military-style assault weapons,” and ban gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

“The ‘assault weapons’ that Sen. Feinstein’s bill would ban are weapons that look scary but are functionally no different than weapons not banned. The banned weapons look like military weapons Rambo would use, spraying hundreds of bullets with one pull of the trigger — these are automatic weapons, and they are already virtually banned. The weapons Feinstein would ban are different: They require one pull of the trigger per shot. This ban is pointless, as demonstrated by the total ineffectiveness of the prior ban,” Ms. Martin continues. “No one wants another Sandy Hook, but the answer is to arm school officials or provide armed guards at schools, not to deprive law-abiding people of weapons for self-defense,” she adds.

40 = 55 million

Organizers for the 40th annual March for Life have advised several hundred thousands of the marchers to politely pick up each and every bit of trash they may encounter along the event route through the nation’s capital on Friday. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are offering their support; there will also a 5-kilometer run to honor march founder Nellie Gray, prayer vigils and a convivial dinner. The pro-life group also is offering a stark central motto this year.

“Our theme includes an equation: 40 = 55M, to signify that in the 40 years since Roe v. Wade, 55 million of our fellow human beings have lost their lives to abortion. Fifty-five million is nearly the population of California and New York combined,” says Jeanne F. Monahan president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund. “Clearly, abortion truly is the human rights abuse of today and our theme this year reflects this reality.”

Learning from Ike

During the 2012 election, there was much discussion about the identity of a “conservative standard bearer” who could propel the Republican Party into the White House. Now there is much discussion about the identity of conservatism itself. One former state representative from the Granite State has a little historic advice.

“Crafting a clear conservative message is easier said than done. Opponents are constantly working to unfairly define the GOP. However, the next chairperson would do well to look to, perhaps, an unconventional source for guidance, Dwight Eisenhower,” says D.J. Bettencourt, who served in the state legislature seven years and is now a New Hampshire Journal columnist.

“Eisenhower enjoyed enormous popularity throughout his successful presidency which, I believe, is attributable to his message strategy. Domestically, Eisenhower stuck to a few broadly conservative themes that resonated across the country,” he observes.

“These themes were fiscal responsibility, small but responsive government, individual enterprise, and future opportunity. Together they framed the Republican Party as effective, inclusive, and forward looking. Ike said, ‘The Republican Party is the party which concentrates on the facts and issues of today and tomorrow, not the facts and issues of yesterday.’ It was a message that attracted Republicans, independents, and discerning Democrats,” Mr. Bettencourt advises.

Parsing Kerry

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