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Inside the Beltway: Mitt Romney in seven words

- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 3, 2013

"He would have been a fabulous president."

— Ann Romney on her husband Mitt, to Fox News anchor Chris Wallace.

WHAT $52,000 WILL BUY

House Speaker John A. Boehner has done the dizzying math: "In the nearly four years since Senate Democrats last passed a budget, government spending has driven our national debt up past $16 trillion. That's more than $52,000 for every man, woman, and child," he says.

Mr. Boehner has suggestions on what people could do with an extra $52,000, based on exacting consumer costs gleaned from federal statistics, pollsters and other sources. One could buy an annual NFL season ticket — for the next 67 years, for example. The amount could also cover groceries every week for the next seven years, or home maintenance for the next quarter-century. The money could cover all car maintenance, gas and insurance for five years.

On the practical side, the taxpayer could put a down payment on a house, pay down a mortgage, pay the rent for the next four years, pay off personal debts and student loans or start up a business.

"It's time to focus on the real problem here in Washington, and that is spending," Mr. Boehner says, as he has said plenty of times.

A SUNDRY THOUGHT

"I wish he governed like he campaigned."

— California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom on President Obama, to HBO host Bill Maher.

CUT THE $1 BILL

Suggestions for federal spending cuts is a kind of cottage industry in the nation's capital. The granddaddy of them all, perhaps, comes from Citizens Against Government Waste, which just issued "Prime Cuts," a list of 556 recommendations that would save taxpayers $580.3 billion in the first year and $1.8 trillion over five years, the watchdog group says. Among their suggestions: replace the $1 paper bill, which has a life span of 21 months, with a $1 coin, which lasts 30 years and could save $146 million in production costs annually.

They would also eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, privatize the Postal Service and suspend federal land purchases. The group is particularly keen on ridding the Pentagon of the Medium Extended Air Defense System, which they say is "plagued" with cost overruns of nearly $2 billion and is a decade behind schedule.

"The nation can start on a path toward fiscal sanity," says Tom Schatz, president of the nonprofit organization. He hopes the curious will check out the suggestions here: Cagw.org.

DRONE RIGHTS

Imagine: You spot a drone from a law enforcement agency flying over your house taking videos or photos. Do you have the "right" to destroy it? Almost half of Americans — 47 percent — say why, yes, you do. Another 47 percent say no, leave the drone alone. So says a Reason/Rupe poll released Friday, which also revealed that 50 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats say citizens do not have the right to destroy the device under such circumstances.

FOR THE LEXICON

"Sequestergeddon" (National Review), "Spendocapalypse" (The Atlantic), "Sequester-palooza" (The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Ky.; Defense News)

MARCHING THROUGH MARCH

"While some may be disheartened by the results of November's elections, conservatives found themselves in a similar situation after President Obama first took office in the spring of 2009. The cause of conservatism dramatically reasserted itself in the 2010 elections, with conservative legislators winning an unprecedented number of elections nationwide. We can come back even stronger in 2014, but only if we start our march toward victory now," observes ever-vigilant Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union.

Yes, like right now.

The Democratic Party already has a running start on 2014, relentlessly shaping the political narrative and retooling grass-roots support. Republicans must write their own narrative or it will be written for them. But of interest: There will be much fodder in the woeful realities of White House spending, the federal debt, the follies of Obamacare and America's sullied image abroad.

Meanwhile, Mr. Cardenas and company recently issued their list of the most conservative lawmakers who defend America's founding principles.

The top five in the House: Republican Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Diane Black of Tennessee, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Paul C. Broun of Georgia and former Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana. And the top five in the Senate: Republican Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, and Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, both of Kentucky, and former Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, who did not seek re-election in 2012.

Find the considerable data — which has sparked some quibbling — here: Conservative.org.

POLL DU JOUR

• 81 percent U.S. voters are "fed up with" the federal budget deficit; 93 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of Democrats agree.

• 79 percent of voters overall are fed up with "too much government spending"; 95 percent of Republicans and 65 percent of Democrats agree.

• 78 percent overall are fed up with "gridlock in Washington"; 82 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of Democrats agree.

• 62 percent overall say media coverage of Washington focuses on "silly issues of little importance"; 75 percent of Republicans and 49 percent of Democrats agree.

• 26 percent overall say the Obama administration has been "more open and transparent" than the George W. Bush administration; 8 percent of Republicans and 48 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Fox News poll of 1,010 registered U.S. voters conducted Feb. 25 to 27.

• Polite applause, clever repartee to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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