- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 24, 2013

One can’t get much more grass roots than this: Sarah Palin is the keynote speaker Thursday at an agricultural “field day” near Baltic, S.D. — population 1,090 — situated on the scenic banks of the Big Sioux River in the eastern corner of the state. The former vice presidential candidate/potential U.S. Senate hopeful is going no-frills, however, journeying to the heartland accompanied by her youngest daughter.

“It’s an honor to get to travel with my entourage, er, that would be Piper, to be with those who are feeding the nation,” Mrs. Palin said in a Facebook post about the one-day event.

The goal of it all, say organizers Darren and Brian Hefty, who are both rural media moguls and farmers, is to showcase the best ways to raise crops. There’s a free lunch, a free supper and complimentary snack goodies. There’s a corn panel, a soybean panel, and forums on drainage laws, crops insurance and grain marketing. The kids’ area is crowded with games and giant inflatable toys.

“We have several air conditioned tents, as well as a new air conditioned shed and other sheds on the field day site, so we are prepared for the elements — of course, we’re praying for a beautiful day,” the brothers observe.

But it is a big deal, and the ever-canny former Alaska governor knows it. This particular field day is the largest in the Midwest, and Palin fans are many.

“Last year, we had farmers from 24 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. So, if nothing else, if you just talk to farmers all day, you ought to get a pretty good idea what the crop is like everywhere else,” the pair of genial hosts say.

REPUBLICANS IN SUMMATION

“Zero jobs have been created by Obama speeches,” tweets Sen. Darrell E. Issa of California, recalling the 1 hour, 6 minute speech President Obama gave in Illinois on Wednesday, with two more to follow.

Indeed.

“Every time this administration gets mired in scandal, they trot out President Obama to repeat the same empty speech he’s given every other time he wants to change the subject from his failed policies,” says Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who adds, “Rather than flying around giving speeches, President Obama should park Air Force One and start working with us on bipartisan solutions to the serious problems facing middle class families across our country.”

And from Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina: “For years, we have been hearing the same prescription from President Obama — bigger government, higher taxes and more spending. Let’s unleash the potential of small business owners, workers and families by lowering taxes and reducing the size of government. Instead of punishing success, let’s encourage it.”

WIFELY RHETORIC

Observers are still wondering if Hillary Rodham Clinton coached Huma Abedin as she swore allegiance to her husband Anthony D. Weiner despite his ever-unfolding sexting scandal and endless campaign for New York mayor. Ms. Abedin has served as an special adviser to the former secretary of state. Did Mrs. Clinton lend her a hand?

Their jaunty styles are strikingly similar. Here is what then-first lady Clinton told CBS News in 1992 after songstress Gennifer Flowers claimed she once had an affair with Bill Clinton that lasted a dozen years.

“You know, I’m not sitting here — some little woman standing by my man, like Tammy Wynette. I’m sitting here because I love him, and I respect him, and I honor what he’s been through and what we’ve been through together. And you know, if that’s not enough for people, then heck, don’t vote for him.”

And from Ms. Abedin:

“I do very strongly believe that is between us and our marriage. We discussed all of this before Anthony decided to run for mayor. So really what I want to say is, I love him, I have forgiven him, I believe in him, and as we have said from the beginning, we are moving forward.”

Heartfelt transparency, or political tool? Both, likely. But Mr. Weiner followed up with this: “I am pleased and blessed that she has given me a second chance. I’ve been asking New Yorkers to also give me another chance.”

WEINER RESIGNATION BOARD

Who suggests that Anthony D. Weiner abandon his quest for New York mayor? Among those who have issued public statements that essentially say, “enough” already:

The New York Times noted in an editorial, “He has already disqualified himself. Mr. Weiner says he is staying in the mayoral race. To those who know his arrogance and have grown tired of the tawdry saga he has dragged the city into, this is not surprising.”

The New York Daily News, the National Organization for Women and ShePAC, a nonprofit that supports women conservatives running for office, are also saying, uh, please stop, sir.

HILLARY PREVENTION BOARD

Uh-oh. The very aggressive folks at Stop Hillary PAC have evoked some blockbuster words from historic past in their first public video, meant to generate support for their campaign to prevent Hillary Rodham Clinton from running for president. While a Hillary-like voice recites the presidential oath of office, the words Whitewater, Vince Foster, Travelgate, Rose Law Firm and Benghazi flash on the screen.

“There is no doubt Hillary Clinton is running for president and America can’t afford to wait until 2014 or 2016 to stop her and the liberal machine,” says Ted Harvey, chairman of the group; video and information found here: StopHillaryPAC.org.

ARNOLD’S ZOMBIES

Last time Inside the Beltway checked with Arnold Schwarzenegger, he was attracting big names, such as Sen. John McCain and former Mexico President Vicente Fox to people the Schwarzenegger Institute, the policy think tank he established at the University of Southern California. Yes, well. Hollywood’s still calling. Mr. Schwarzenegger will star in the upcoming sci-fi thriller “Maggie,” playing the father of a young woman infected with “walking dead virus.”

But celebrity politics calls, too.

The former governor of California is in Montana this week, filming a documentary on climate change with a built-in background: a troublesome wildfire and an elite team of firefighters who are at work extinguishing it.

POLL DU JOUR

• 83 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing.

• 57 percent would “replace every single member of Congress” including their own representative, if it were on a ballot.

• 57 percent say it’s time to give “a new person” a chance in Congress.

• 50 percent disapprove of the job President Obama is doing.

• 44 percent would prefer a Republican-controlled Congress.

• 44 percent would prefer a Democrat-controlled Congress.

• 44 percent say partisanship and unproductivity make them “most unhappy” with Congress.

• 31 percent say Congress is ignoring middle-class Americans.

Source: An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted July 17-21.

• Accolades and tirades to jharper@washingtontimes.com.