Inside the Beltway: The GOP and the ‘Mile High Club’

There’s data for everything. Tucked away in a new Public Policy Polling survey on airline travel was this question to 800 registered voters: “Are you a member of the Mile High Club?” Well fasten your seatbelts, folks. Republicans win this one.

Let us consider the proverbial Mile High Club — a lurid concept from the carefree days of yore. For the uninitiated or disinterested, the Mile High Club has been whispered about since the biplane era, and signals that someone has had, uh, sexual activity while in flight. A few private airlines actually offer this service as if it were a parachute jump, and the legality of it has come under scrutiny.

But back to the poll. Here’s what it revealed: 87 percent of Americans say they are not a member of the Mile High Club. That number includes 90 percent of independents, 88 percent of Democrats — and 83 percent of Republicans.

And a few more numbers: 96 percent of the “very liberal” are not members. But 82 percent of the “very conservative” say they are. And last but not least, 92 percent of those who voted for President Obama are not members of the Mile High Club, compared to 84 percent of those who voted for Mitt Romney.

PHONY BALONEY

“Phony scandal” has gotten considerable play in the news after both President Obama and White House spokesman Jay Carney dwelled upon the phrase, as both a Republican-bashing device and a conversation changer. In the past 48 hours, the “phony scandal” has turned up more than 16,000 times in assorted Google news accounts.

“With an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball,” the president said in a recent economic address. And while he didn’t spell out which scandals were faux, most journalists interpreted it to mean the big four: NSA, IRS, Benghazi and Justice Department surveillance of The Associated Press.

Fox News, meanwhile, has accused the White House of “phony transparency.” A chorus of GOP lawmakers protested the speech. And some explained the political mechanism that was actually at work.

“The president has moved into the realm of postmodernism where truth is optional, and all that matters is a narrative,” points out Thomas Lifson, editor of the American Thinker.

“His narrative is now set, and we can expect future speeches to mock the Republicans with the trademark sarcastic condescension that marks his humor when turned on his political enemies. Going on the offense, attacking the truth-seekers is a classic defense when you have no case,” Mr. Lifson observes.

DIALING FOR DEMOCRATS

Organizing for Action, the aggressive grass-roots group that grew out of President Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign, is asking its 3 million members to call the office of House Speaker John A. Boehner and other members of Congress, then report back what happened.

“Who did you call? How did your call go?” asks the specially designated website created just for that purpose.

“Pick up the phone right now and call Speaker Boehner’s office to tell him you want to see him bring comprehensive immigration reform to a vote in the House. Then — and this part is important — let us know how the call went,” immigration campaign manager Emmy Ruiz advises in a mass email.

“Over the next few weeks, we’ll be calling out representatives who are refusing to act on immigration reform, and rallying behind the ones who are fighting with us to pass the biggest reforms of our immigration system in decades,” she adds. “This is too important, and Congress has stalled for too long. We don’t know when we’ll get another chance like this — so let’s go.”

‘CENSORING’ IRS NEWS

A coalition of conservative leaders insist that liberal broadcasters have compromised coverage of the IRS matter that revealed the federal agency had singled out the tax status of certain conservative groups.

Radio host Rush Limbaugh, Citizens United President David Bossie, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell have banded together to demand that ABC, CBS and NBC “stop censoring” news of the IRS.

“The liberal media’s refusal to cover the IRS scandal — more than the NSA scandal, more than DOJ’s surveillance of journalists, more even than the tragic loss of life in Benghazi — cuts to the very heart of their corruption,” the five say in a joint statement. “No fair, objective journalists can look at the facts of this flagrant abuse of power and not conclude that it is a massive political scandal deserving of constant, merciless scrutiny.”

Initially, coverage was decent, according to a Media Research Center analysis. The networks aired 96 stories on the IRS in the first two weeks, from May 10 through 23. By late June and July, only one 90-second story aired on CBS, though “multiple new IRS scandals emerged to feed the news cycle,” the five point out, citing $70 million in bonuses to IRS agents, insider contracts and credit cards abuse.

A congressional hearing also found that the IRS chief counsel’s office “appears to have been directly involved in the IRS’s scheme to target tea party and conservative groups. This shatters the story that this was a scandal orchestrated by two IRS agents in Cincinnati,” the conservatives conclude.

ANOTHER FORGIVING WIFE

It is the week for wives to stand by their errant spouse. There’s much public attention on Huma Abedin, who has sworn continued allegiance to Anthony D. Weiner despite his sexting habits and lurid photos. Now, Geraldo Rivera’s fifth wife has stepped forward to publicly forgive her husband after he tweeted a nearly nude image of himself in a strategically placed bath towel in the wee hours of the morning last weekend. Unintended comedic repercussions followed, along with comparisons between himself and Mr. Weiner.

There is some room for that. In January, Mr. Rivera announced he was “truly contemplating” a quest for U.S. Senate in New Jersey, running as a “modern Republican.” It earned him an on-screen title of “Senator Rivera?” during a later appearance on Fox News.

Time marches on. During an appearance on her hubby’s radio show on Wednesday, wife Erica Rivera, 38, revealed she initially was disturbed by the suggestive image he had shared with the world. But things change.

“I clearly have the hottest 70-year-old husband in the world, and now the whole world knows it, too,” Mrs. Rivera reasoned.

POLL DU JOUR

82 percent of U.S. voters fear the U.S. is “losing some of its standing in the world”; 91 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of Democrats agree.

79 percent of voters overall agree that the “U.S. is the greatest country in the world”; 83 percent of Republicans and 78 percent of Democrats agree.

74 percent overall disapprove of the job Congress is doing; 76 percent of Republicans and 70 percent of Democrats agree.

47 percent disapprove of the job President Obama is doing; 82 percent of Republicans and 12 percent of Democrats agree.

35 percent overall are satisfied with “the way things are going” in the U.S.; 18 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Fox News poll of 1,017 registered U.S. voters conducted July 21 to 23.

Tip line always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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