- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 3, 2013

It is a new book with a monumental title from Newt Gingrich, and it arrives Monday. “Breakout: Pioneers of the Future, Prison Guards of the Past, and the Epic Battle That Will Decide America’s Fate” singles out enemies and rallies the troops, grass-roots and otherwise. Mr. Gingrich is firm: the culprits are special-interest groups, powerful lobbyists, big government and the extreme thinkers who are determined to control or inhibit innovations that are a boon to the future of the nation.

“Ever-expanding and unaccountable bureaucracy, conspicuous waste of taxpayers’ money, and widespread corruption are a fundamentally wrong model,” Mr. Gingrich says. “That’s how old European monarchies treated their subjects, not how the self-governing citizens of the American republic should be treated.”

He appears to be a determined futurist at heart: Mr. Gingrich is a great believer in technology as a countermeasure to all this unhappiness. He also calls on all citizens to support pioneering “breakout champions” willing to put politics aside and challenge the “prison guards of the past,” he says.

“Americans don’t have to settle for a shrunken future. We can escape from the prison of the past into a future of undreamed opportunity and abundance. All we need is the courage to break out,” Mr. Gingrich adds.

BOOK BUZZ BOMB

Another book looms. Coming Tuesday, it’s “Double Down: Game Change 2012” by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, who hope to provide “an explosive account of the 2012 presidential election, pulling back the curtain to reveal the exhilarating, newsbreaking story behind the headlines for the first time,” says Penguin Press, the publisher. But so far, the biggest buzz in conservative media and elsewhere is erupting over something President Obama reportedly said that has little to do with the campaign.

It’s “click-bait aplenty,” wrote Washington Post political analyst Peter Hamby in a review, referring to all the online clicking that folks do over such fare. “Obama meditating on drone strikes and telling his aides that he’s ‘really good at killing people.’”

FOIA WORLD

Ironically enough, the Obama administration plans to “modernize the administration” of the Freedom of Information Act — FOIA for short — as part of the Open Government National Action Plan, a program that has been in place since 2011 to increase citizen participation and transparency in government. Who knew?

Ironically enough, official FOIA requests to obtain information about the faulty implementation of Obamacare are accelerating. The Republican National Committee wants the exact enrollment numbers. The advocacy group ProEnglish is interested in the use of government funds to translate the health care law into 150 languages. Judicial Watch has filed five requests related to taxpayer funds used to promote Obamacare, those pesky coverage waivers and records of Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan’s role in the health care law while she served as President Obama’s solicitor general.

Now the media’s FOIA machine has rumbled to life. On the list of news organizations seeking information: CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, ABC, the Huffington Post, Reuters, Politico, National Journal and Time magazine. And most delicious of all the requests, perhaps, comes from The Hill, which is tracking the media push:

“The Hill obtained the Health and Human Services FOIA log through a FOIA request,” note Hill health care analysts Patrick Mortiere and Bob Cusack. “Will the media organizations gain this data by mid-November? Highly unlikely,” Mr. Cusack says.

CUCCINELLI NUMBERS: IT’S COMPLICATED

Last-minute poll numbers in the Virginia governor’s race from Christopher Newport University reveals complex dynamics. The survey of 1,185 registered Virginia voters gives Democratic hopeful Terry McAuliffe 43 percent of the vote, Republican Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II 36 percent and Libertarian Robert Sarvis 10 percent.

Numbers to ponder: 11 percent are still undecided. Asked who they would vote for if Mr. Sarvis were not a candidate: 37 percent would support Mr. Cuccinelli and 17 percent Mr. McAuliffe. Thirty-eight percent would not vote. Meanwhile, 33 percent of the respondents are independent, 31 percent Republican, 30 percent Democrats. And 51 percent say they are conservative while 41 percent are liberal.

And in the final dash, just 24 hours before polling places open in Virginia, Mr. Cuccinelli appears at six events in six towns, over a 10-hour period on Monday, appearing with Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and libertarian Republican Ron Paul, who has endorsed the GOP candidate.

“Ken Cuccinelli has always stood for smaller government and limited government. He has consistently and unapologetically worked with the liberty movement in Virginia. His stand against Obamacare shows he is willing to stand up to Washington’s continued abuses on our individual liberties,” Mr. Paul says.

“REAGAN ERA” BACKDROP

Move over 1960s era “Mad Men.” This was inevitable. There have been multiple feature films based on the life and times of Ronald Reagan.

Now Hollywood hopes to at least cash in on the Reagan-era cachet of optimism, he-men and maybe some nifty designer clothing. The Starz Network is developing a drama called “WonderWorld,” and it goes a little like this, according to the network’s CEO Chris Albrecht:

“Set in Ronald Reagan’s America and inspired by one of the biggest undercover operations in FBI history, ‘WonderWorld’ follows two straight-arrow FBI agents as they infiltrate the violent Mob-controlled porn industry of the 1980s, with dire consequences for themselves and their families,” Mr. Albrecht says.

Actor Owen Wilson plays the lead agent; no word if there’s a Reagan character. Yet. Still, there’s always a new version somewhere. Due in February, it’s “Reykjavik,” a dramatization of the 1986 meeting of Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, with Michael Douglas in the pivotal role of Reagan.

THE MONEY OF MARRIAGE

Get married, the economy will benefit. So says one major pollster.

“Married Americans report a daily spending average of $102, followed by $98 among those who are living in domestic partnerships, $74 by divorced Americans, $67 by those who are single and never married, and $62 by those who are widowed,” states a new Gallup tracking poll of 136,000 U.S. adults.

“The U.S. marriage rate has declined in recent years, but recent Gallup analysis shows that it is possible that the marriage rate in the United States will go up in the future, based on a pent-up demand for marriage. Based on the spending habits of married Americans compared with their single counterparts who have never married, such a change could be expected to give a boost to the economy,” the pollster explains.

POLL DU JOUR

21.2 million: number of U.S. military veterans in the U.S.

9.6 million: number of vets 65 and older; 1.8 million are younger than 35.

8.7 million vets age 18 to 64 are currently in the labor force.

7.4 million: number of Vietnam-era vets.

5.4 million: number serving in Gulf Wars, 1990 to the present.

5.3 million: number of vets serving in peacetime only.

2.3 million: number serving in Korean War, 1950-53.

1.6 million: number serving in World War II, 1941-45.

70 percent of vets (14.7 million) voted in the 2012 presidential election.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Noteworthy numbers, grand speculations to jharper@washingtontimes.com.