Inside the Beltway: Still crying for Rep. Paul Ryan

Republicans apparently have not forgotten the earnest face and serious economic insights of Rep. Paul Ryan. The former vice presidential hopeful bests potential 2016 presidential contender Sen. Marco Rubio and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in theoretical matchups with Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Hillary Rodham Clinton, says a new Quinnipiac University poll of registered votes. The numbers:

In a match with Mrs. Clinton, 81 percent of Republican voters would vote for Mr. Ryan, 76 percent for Mr. Rubio and 74 percent for Mr. Christie.

Against Mr. Biden, 88 percent of the GOP voters would pick Mr. Ryan, 84 percent Mr. Christie and 83 percent Mr. Rubio.

GEEZERS AND UPSTARTS

“If Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids,” growled Sen. John McCain following the filibuster heard ‘round the world, or at least through the hallowed halls of Congress.

Indeed, Sen. Rand Paul’s 13-hour marathon on the subject of drones rankled the Arizona Republican — but not those aforementioned kids.

Sen. McCain’s ideas are literally a dying breed in the Republican Party,” insists Jeff Frazee, executive director of Young Americans for Liberty, which boasts 125,000 members on dozens of college campuses. “These ‘libertarian kids’ are the future. It’s just a matter of whether or not the GOP will stand with Rand and remain relevant, or turn their backs on the next generation and die with McCain.”

Harsh words for Mr. McCain, 76, not so much for Mr. Paul, age 50. The situation also has resonated with tea partyers, long fond of rogue behavior.

“The leadership shown by Sen. Paul and other senators like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio is what the American people long to see in their elected representatives,” says Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots. “We applaud them for articulating American principles under scrutiny and potential criticism.”

WHITE HOUSE MATH

About those spending cuts. ABC News estimates that President Obama will save $18,000 a week by canceling public tours of the White House. Hmmm. Big deal. Mr. Obama could save 10 times that in 60 minutes by foregoing flights aboard Air Force One, which costs $179,750 an hour to operate, this according to a Congressional Research Service report.

AN AMERICAN POPE

“An American pope may be an idea whose time has finally come,” says Forbes contributor Thomas Basile, who points out that the U.S. remains a charitable mother lode of benefit to the church; American Catholics contributed $70 million to the Holy See in 2011.

Mr. Basile also reasons that a forward-thinking U.S. pontiff could be a fundraising dynamo on his own, and be quite at home in a 24/7 media culture. But there’s more.

“America’s first freedom is the Freedom of Religion,” Mr. Basile observes. “An American pope is uniquely positioned to drive a message of freedom on behalf of the church and all people of faith around the world. The message of religious freedom delivered by the Holy See is one that has universal importance, particular in regions where governments and religious extremists imperil Christians or political dissenters. The American church’s present fight against intrusions on the rights of conscience over Obamacare’s mandates also gives an American Pope increased credibility in articulating the importance of standing up to secular institutions and other forces that seek to reduce freedom.”

THE RIGHT ADDRESS

A very rare copy of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettyburg Address comes up for air at the Library of Congress for six short weeks. The public can take a peek at the “John Hay copy” of the address from March 22 to May 4, as part of the library’s major “Civil War in America” exhibition.

The address, which Lincoln delivered at the dedication of a national cemetery at Gettysburg on Nov. 19, 1863, is recognized as a literary masterpiece.

“In three short paragraphs — some 270 words — Lincoln proclaimed the principles upon which the nation was founded, honored the men who had given ‘the last full measure of devotion’ in its defense, and challenged all citizens to a renewed commitment to freedom and democracy,” the exhibit organizers note.

The Hay copy is one of five known drafts; two are at the Library (Loc.gov), and one each is held by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Cornell University Library, and the White House.

ONE IN 9.2 QUINTILLION

President Obama may not know what comes after a trillion, but college basketball fans need to be familiar with a quintillion. It has 18 zeroes.

March Madness looms, along with guessing frenzy. Fans hoping to nail the perfect NCAA bracket of college basketball championship matchups have a long road in front of them says Jeff Bergen, a DePaul University mathematics professor and a lifelong collegiate basketball fan. He has figured out the odds. They are not so good.

“The odds of picking a perfect bracket are less than 1-in-9.2 quintillion,” the professor declares. “For those with a solid knowledge of the history of the NCAA tournaments, the odds of picking a perfect bracket increase greatly but still involve numbers with lots of zeroes.”

He’s ready to put his calculations where his mouth is. Mr. Bergen demonstrates the math on YouTube at bit.ly/AteRMp.

POLL DU JOUR

• 74 percent of U.S. voters are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. today.

• 44 percent trust Republicans in Congress to handle gun control policy; 42 percent trust President Obama.

• 43 percent trust Republicans to handle the federal budget deficit; 41 percent trust Mr. Obama.

• 41 percent trust Republicans to handle health care; 46 percent trust Mr. Obama

• 40 percent trust Republicans to handle the economy; 44 percent trust Mr. Obama.

Source: A Quinnipiac University poll of 1,944 registered U.S. voters conducted from Feb. 27 to March 4.

Tip line always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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