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Inside the Beltway: Publicity prowess
In the fine art of strategic prattle, House Democrats are "outhustling" Republicans, grinding out more press releases than their GOP rivals. An excruciating analysis of the more than 6,200 press releases issued during the first two months of the 113th Congress finds that Democratic representatives have issued statements at a 31.5 percent higher rate than Republicans, and hold 11 of the top 15 spots on the, uh, coveted roster of press release masters.
The 200 Democrats in office have issued 3,342 press releases, compared to 2,952 for their 232 GOP counterparts, says the study by Smart Politics, a political research project at the University of Minnesota.
There is a quirk, though. One Republican can hold her own in the rush to get her message out. The lawmaker who sent out the most press releases of all is Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, who has issued 94 so far this year. The study cites a contributing factor: She is one of the few representatives in the House to simultaneously release statements in English and Spanish.
NO GEEZERS ALLOWED
Young conservatives aspire to school old conservatives this weekend. FreedomWorks hosts its first youth summit for fiscal conservatives younger than 30 on Saturday to discuss "the GOP's failure to connect with younger voters." Indeed, President Obama attracts the young and restless: 66 percent of voters ages 18 to 29 voted for him in 2008; another 60 percent followed suit in 2012. It is a formidable voting bloc, numbering about 46 million.
Motivating them to go to the polls, on the other hand, is tricky business, but one that deft Democrats excel in.
Once the young GOP-sters are done with their discussions and training, they head home "to start growing the movement at a local level," says Whitney Neal, campaign chairwoman for the grass-roots group founded by Dick Armey almost three decades ago, back when today's geezers were young themselves.
"This is not a weekend of preaching to the choir. We are excited to have a candid conversation about the future of the freedom movement from the perspectives of young grass-roots leaders who fall on all different parts of the conservative political spectrum. It should be an interesting weekend," Ms. Neal adds.
"Under fire from flight attendants and others, the Transportation Safety Administration's new rules allowing air passengers to carry small knives, baseball bats, golf clubs, and other sporting goods onto airplanes got a vote of confidence [Wednesday] from the National Arbitrariness Association. The N.A.A., whose stated mission is to 'enhance the randomness, disorder, and confusion of American life,' called the new list of approved items 'just what the doctor ordered.'"
(From a parody news story by New Yorker writer and comic Andy Borowitz)
"Daylight Savings Time is an archaic practice in our modern society. The original reasons for the policies are no longer applicable, and the most cited reason for keeping DST (energy savings) has never been shown to be true. Also: It's really annoying."
(From a White House petition to eliminate daylight savings time, which drew close to 2,000 signatures in 24 hours)
DELIVERING THE POST OFFICE
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of a continuing resolution? One lawmaker is coming to the defense of the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service following news that a House GOP spending bill directs the service to continue delivering mail six days a week, countering Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe's plea to discontinue Saturday service, thus saving his agency $2 billion a year.
"This is the worst of Washington. Here Congress is unable to pass reforms that would enable the Postal Service to operate and not be a burden to taxpayers, and yet Congress also continues to interfere and not allow the Postal Service to make the decisions it believes are necessary to operate viably in the future," says Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican.
"If this action is carried through, Congress will be hamstringing the Postal Service, hastening its demise and probably adding additional financial burdens to U.S. taxpayers."
"Can't anybody here play this game?" legendary baseball manager Casey Stengel once lamented during spring training for his abysmal New York Mets teams of the early 1960s. A new Economist/YouGov poll conducted March 2 to 4 says that many Americans apparently have a similar question they'd like to ask regarding government in the nation's capital.
Only 24 percent say things in this country are on the right track, while 61 percent say things are heading in the wrong direction, with Congress getting the brunt of the blame: 74 percent of registered voters disapprove of the job lawmakers are doing, up 8 percentage points in the last week, the pollsters report.
Eighty percent of the respondents, incidentally, "approve of the Obama administration using drones to kill high-level terrorism suspects overseas, even if those suspects are American citizens."
POLL DU JOUR
• 61 percent of Americans support a 5 percent cut in overall federal spending this year.
• 76 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of conservatives, 57 percent of Democrats and 50 percent of liberals agree.
• 60 percent of independents, 59 percent of moderates, 70 percent of men and 54 percent of women also agree.
• 34 percent of Americans overall agree with an 8 percent cut in overall military spending.
• 23 percent of Republicans, 26 percent of conservatives, 47 percent of Democrats and 49 percent of liberals agree.
• 33 percent of independents, 36 percent of moderates, 39 percent of men and 30 percent of women also agree.
Source: An ABC News/Washington Post survey of 1,017 U.S. adults conducted Sunday.
• Parody news stories, strategic prattle to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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About the Author
- Inside the Beltway: An agenda-free Easter
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