Inside the Beltway: A GOP charm offensive toward the American public?

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Vilifying Republicans has become a cottage industry among Democrats who are under the impression that aggressive, insulting talk about one’s political rivals is a sign of authority and purpose. Yeah, well. Strategically placed White House claims that the Grand Old Party is “reckless and irresponsible” have gone on for days. The news media has chronicled every barb and sting. But one longtime observer of political theater says the Grand Old Party could capitalize on the trend.

“I propose it’s time to mount a Republican ‘charm offensive.’ Don’t laugh,” declares Roger L. Simon, founder of PJMedia. “Here’s what I mean. Mount a charm offensive toward the American people. Start to seduce them. Almost everyone believes in conservative ideas, especially in the economic area, when they stop to think about it.”

Mr. Simon continues, “Stop yelling and screaming about President Obama and calling him the worst president in history, even if he is. Stop fulminating against Harry Reid and Eric Holder and the rest of the abysmal crew. Stop even excoriating the execrable Democrats in Congress who just voted themselves exemptions from the Orwellian Affordable Care Act that you can’t have.”

Republicans should treat liberals like “misguided children” in a folksy way, he advises, as Ronald Reagan once did in a 1980 presidential debate with then-President Jimmy Carter. With steely resolve and friendly grin, Reagan told Mr. Carter, “There you go again,” which became an iconic phrase of the era.

“Approach it this way,” Mr. Simon advises the GOP. “And do it smiling. In other words, co-opt America. It’s waiting for it. And it needs it.”

AND THE MAYORS CHIME IN

Hey, why not make a little political hay while you can?

“Regardless of what happens in Washington, the nation’s mayors will continue to lead, balancing budgets and solving problems. We do not have the luxury of turning our backs on our residents,” declares Scott Smith, mayor of Mesa, Ariz., and president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which represents some 1,295 mayors around the addled nation.

“We are pragmatic doers who believe in rolling up our sleeves, finding common ground on even the most difficult of issues and getting things done for the good of the whole. We encourage Washington to do the same.”

THE MOST TELLING NUMBERS

OK, now this is from a CNN poll released Tuesday: 52 percent of Americans say that the Affordable Care Act is a “disaster waiting to happen.” Here’s who agrees: 85 percent of Republicans, 76 percent of conservatives, 19 percent of Democrats, 16 percent of liberals, 60 percent of independents, 46 percent of moderates, 88 percent of tea party supporters, 54 percent of men, 51 percent of women, 33 percent of “nonwhites,” 57 percent of whites, 41 percent of urban residents and 62 percent of rural residents.

More numbers in today’s Poll du Jour at column’s end.

FULFILLING THEIR PROMISE

Republican senators get some applause for a change.

Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, all of these guys were all elected running against Obamacare, promising constituents they would do everything they could to end it. What would you do, break that promise to your constituents? They want them to act like this. I see it all day on Twitter. ‘Thank you, Ted Cruz for standing up for us.’ ‘Thank you for trying to put an end to this.’ “

— CNN’s “Crossfire” analyst S.E. Cupp, during a vigorous discussion about congressional Republican behavior with her fellow analyst Van Jones.

OH-H-H CANADA

Nobody has managed to rewrite, sanitize or politicize the original lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner” in the name of political correctness. Well, not yet, anyway. This is not the case with our good neighbors to the north, however, where a group of high-powered ladies seeks to rewrite “O, Canada,” the national anthem, in more “gender neutral terms.”

Former Prime Minister Kim Campbell, author Margaret Atwood and a host of former and current lawmakers and educators are troubled by the majestic lines, “O Canada! Our home and native land! True patriot love in all thy sons command.” Uh-oh. “Sons.” There’s the problem: the women want the final words to read “in all of us command,” claiming it’s closer to the original lyrics of yore.

“Women are still facing gender equality issues every day. Our National Anthem should reflect what women of the past fought for and like them, we should not settle for the status quo, but rather continue paving the way toward an inclusive Canada,” the ladies reason, in an online rationale of their quest.

They should remember, however, that “gender equality” has come to mean a great more these days, what with transgender folk and others a presence on the gender identity radar. Ms. Campbell and company better make room for an extra lyric.

NEW WILL AT FOX NEWS

As in George Will. The brilliantly reasonable columnist and veteran analyst has departed his perch at ABC News to join forces with the Fox News Channel to offer his observations on the network’s daytime and prime-time programming.

“His wisdom is enduring and his achievements are far too long to list,” says Michael Clemente, executive vice president of news at Fox.

Mr. Will, 72, previously served as a panelist for ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” and was the Washington editor of National Review, among many other things.

USE IT OR LOSE IT

There’s collateral damage amid the stalled budget battle and the bombastic close of the fiscal year. A new University of Chicago study examining federal procurement data reveals hard economic evidence that the proverbial “use-it-or-lose-it” spending sprees in federal agencies are very real — with expenditures nearly five times higher as the fiscal year ebbs away.

“Faced with uncertainty over future spending demands, there’s an incentive to build up a rainy-day fund over the first part of the year, followed by a rush to spend it on lower-quality projects at the end of the year,” says assistant economics professor and study co-author Neale Mahoney.

“Our model confirmed three things,” Mr. Mahoney notes. “First, an organization with a fixed period in which it must spend its budget resources — like the federal government — sees a surge of spending at the end of the year. Secondly, such spending is of lower quality, and third, permitting the rollover of spending into subsequent periods leads to higher quality.”

POLL DU JOUR

52 percent of Americans say that the Affordable Care Act is a “disaster waiting to happen:” 85 percent of Republicans and 19 percent of Democrats agree.

45 percent overall say the health care law is “complex but will eventually work”; 11 percent of Republicans and 79 percent of Democrats agree.

41 percent overall say their family will be “about the same” under the new health care law; 27 percent of Republicans and 56 percent of Democrats agree.

40 percent overall say their family will be “worse off”; 65 percent of Republicans and 13 percent of Democrats agree.

37 percent overall say the legislation “will not help any one in the country; 59 percent of Republicans and 16 percent of Democrats agree.

17 percent overall say their family will be better off; 4 percent of Republicans and 29 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A CNN/ORC poll of 803 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 27 to 29.

Polite chitchat, the pitter patter of applause to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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