- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 7, 2013

Just when the din of liberal politics reaches epic proportions, along comes an event that clears the air. Such is the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Friends of the Family Banquet” on Saturday evening, which is a formidable and straightforward force indeed, assembling at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

On hand to talk things out with 1,000 pastors and grass-roots folk: Sarah Palin, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Rep. Steve King of Iowa, plus Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Iowa Republican Party national committeeman Steve Scheffler, Faith & Freedom Coalition Chairman Ralph Reed andEagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly.

While the group describes its mission as “a battle to take back our state and country,” this is definitely a family event, and a scrumptious one.

“No fancy hotel food here, and none of that rubber chicken,” a spokesman tells Inside the Beltway. “We’ll be serving roast beef and good roast chicken, green beans, coleslaw, those wonderful cheesy kind of potatoes, ice cream, cookies, lemonade and coffee.”

FAT CHANCE

Is the government now regulating comfort food and that luscious goodness of say, pizza and bakery delights? Some see it that way. A Pew Research Center poll released Thursday found that 52 percent of Americans oppose the FDA restrictions on the use of trans fats. The number is 60 percent among Republicans and 71 percent among tea partyers. Among fastidious Democrats, 52 percent approve of the measure.

HOLLYWOOD VS. MCCONNELL, THE SEQUEL

Sixty top Hollywood stars — we’re talking Jerry Seinfeld and Ben Affleck here — have contributed to the $2.5 million campaign chest of Alison Lundergan Grimes, age 34 and a Democrat who is challenging Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, in 2014. Not good for the Blue Grass State, perhaps.

“You couldn’t find a collection of people anywhere in America who are more hostile to Kentucky values and conservative principles than the ones on Alison Lundergan Grimes’ major donor list,” Allison Moore — Mr. McConnell’s campaign manager — tells Inside the Beltway.

“It sure is curious that she spends all her time chatting with professed enemies of coal, Obama enthusiasts and noted Hollywood liberals but can’t say a word about what she believes back in Kentucky,” Ms. Moore observes.

A FUNDAMENTAL OBAMACARE MISTAKE

While the Obamacare tinkering and fix-it phase continues until month’s end, observers plumb the meaning — or meaninglessness — of it all.

“Obamacare shouldn’t have been managed like a campaign,” points out Bloomberg News columnist Megan McArdle.

“The architects of the law demanded an enormously ambitious software project on an impossibly hubristic deadline. Whatever slim chance this had of working was ultimately doomed — not by Republicans, but by the administration’s own paranoid and self-destructive decisions to manage a software project as if it were a top-secret campaign strategy rather than a mission-critical component of the most ambitious federal entitlement expansion in almost 50 years,” Ms. McArdle says.

SAY AMEN SOMEBODY

He led 417 spiritual crusades, preached to an estimated 210 million people, prayed with every U.S. president since Harry Truman, and gave the invocations at nine presidential inaugurations. That would be Billy Graham, who turned 95 on Thursday, at a party in Asheville, N.C., with a guest list that included Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Greta Van Susteren and former President Bill Clinton.

The pastor is also delivering “The Cross: My Hope for America,” what he calls his last message to the nation, saying, “Our country’s in great need of a spiritual awakening.”

It already is available online at Myhopewithbillygraham.org and on YouTube, and will be shown on Fox News, TBN and other cable networks plus local broadcast stations at multiple times over the weekend.

FOR THE LEXICON

“The Washington Football Franchise”

— A suggested new name for the Washington Redskins from Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, who believes that the team is guilty of “disrespect to the indigenous people of the country” and that a boycott is in order.

The Minnesota Vikings, incidentally, hosted the Redskins on Thursday night.

“Some people will do anything to get Bob Costas to invite them for an interview. But should Mayor Rybak be looking at his hometown team before starting to criticize others?” ask the editors of Twitchy.com, which tracks the oft cheeky Twitterverse.

The name Vikings conjures up all sorts of images in its own right, the editors of the website point out.

KLAYMAN RETURNS

The White House now has one more protest to consider. The National Park Service has granted an assembly permit to the Reclaim America Now Coalition in Lafayette Park, that rarified real estate just across the street from the White House. The daylong event on Nov. 19 will “protest the Obama administration’s continuing failure to take into account and redress the grievances of the American people,” says organizer Larry Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch and a watchdog attorney who closely monitored the Clinton administration back in the day.

“The demonstration will also address President Obama’s cover-up of various scandals,” notes Mr. Klayman, adding that speakers include Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, former Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia and former U.N. Ambassador Alan Keyes.

“A list of demands of legitimate grievances will be presented to President Obama and other government leaders, which they can remedy or resign from office,” Mr. Klayman says. “As our Founding Father and second president [John Adams] declared, ‘When the government fears the people, there is liberty.’ We welcome persons from all spectra of society to join us in this quest to reclaim freedom for the masses.”

See their outreach here: Reclaimamericanow.net.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

At auction: Mansion and all contents, located in Southwest Ranches, Fla., 25,000-square-feet gated custom home on 10 acres with east and west wings; 7 bedrooms, 8 full baths, 2 half baths, elevator, 30-foot vaulted “cathedral-style ceilings,” four-car garage, swimming pool, separate guest house currently used as museum. Press reports say the 60-something owners are “downsizing.”

Also for sale: fine art, Oriental rugs, sports memorabilia, Asian antiques, bronze statuary, plus “his and hers Rolex watches.” Previews begin Nov. 17, bidding starts at $5 million.

Information from Auctioncompanyofamerica.com

POLL DU JOUR

48 percent of Americans say they have “a great deal or quite a bit” more interest in news about politics and elections than they did four years ago.

28 percent say they now only have “some interest” in politics and elections.

21 percent now have no interest in the two topics.

Of the group with no interest: 73 percent say it is because of corruption of politicians, that they “are out of touch” and argue too much.

32 percent say they are not interested because of personal reasons like boredom, apathy or frustration.

25 percent say the political system is “broken” and ineffective, and they feel “powerless.”

4 percent say they don’t have the time to follow politics.

Source: An Associated Press/GFK poll of 1,227 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 3 to 7 and released Thursday.

Tip line always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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