You are currently viewing the printable version of this article, to return to the normal page, please click here.

Inside the Beltway: GOP adults in the room

- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 22, 2013

"Anti government ideologues," "wolf in wolf's clothing," "legislative arsonists," "totally irresponsible, completely juvenile," "destructive."

And so goes House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's assorted descriptions of some Republicans or Republican activities, uttered by the California Democrat in a single interview with CNN on Sunday.

Diminished civility and aggression may be part of the latest White House marching orders as House Republicans wrangle over the Affordable Care Act and government funding.

It is all hands on deck for the Democrats. But as any pollster will reveal, voters are weary of partisan divides, legislative gridlock and strategic sniping. Now may not be the time for the Republicans to embrace or escalate such tactics, which can ultimately prove repugnant to Americans seeking more from their leaders.

The Grand Old Party might simply brace for impact, then respond as the adults in the room — with backbone, reason, measured tones and a clear plan.

The din grows, though. Organizing for Action, the grass-roots activist group that grew out of the Obama 2012 campaign, is already upping the ante, noting in a new fundraising outreach, "Instead of being a leader who finds common ground, House Speaker John Boehner has put the people with the crazy plan in charge. He's basically daring you to fight back."

President Obama himself struck a potentially unpresidential tone during a visit to a Missouri auto plant Friday. He was mighty vexed with House Republicans after they voted to keep the federal government open while defunding the health care law.

"They're not focused on you. They're focused on politics. They're focused on trying to mess with me," he told his audience, also noting that the GOP was "holding the whole country hostage."

CHINA FRIES

Note to MacDonald's, Burger King, et al: the Chinese beat you to it.

After three years of research, Beyondte — a manufacturer based in Shenzhen, China — has perfected a vending machine selling hot french fries quick-cooked in either vegetable oil or "beef fat," with three different sauce options. The fries are ready in 90 seconds; the cost is around $3.50.

Introduced in August, the device is already popping up in Belgium, Croatia, Iran and Chile.

"The company is looking for big venture capital to deploy their global strategy," spokesman Jiang Junping says.

And one other moment to consider: the Wanda Group, a Qingdao-based group that bought the AMC theater franchise last year, announced an $8.2 billion film investment plan Saturday that's meant to make China's movie industry the largest on the planet in five years.

Among the many luminaries on hand in northeast China for the announcement: Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicole Kidman, John Travolta, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Harvey Weinstein, "there to show moral support," according to the Hollywood Reporter.

CONNECTING THE CLINTON DOTS

Now that Anthony D. Weiner's mayoral bid has finally come to a stop, his wife Huma Abedin, has resumed her role as a longtime adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton. Ms. Abedin recently surfaced in Philadelphia with the former secretary of state when Mrs. Clinton received a "Liberty Medal" from the National Constitution Center, presented by none other than Jeb Bush.

But wait. Ms. Abedin was also spotted over the weekend having a ladies' power lunch with media diva Tina Brown, who left her perch as editor of the Daily Beast 12 days ago to found her own company.

"It seemed like a serious business lunch," a source told the New York Post.

An expensive one, too. It was staged at a chichi raw bar and sushi palace in Manhattan's SoHo district where the oysters run $4 each, a bowl of New England clam chowder is $13 and an entree order of cod and lentils will set one back $27. This is lunch, mind you. But no matter.

"Brown recently left her post at the Daily Beast to start her own conference business. Could she be trying to work Huma to get to Hillary? Or perhaps Brown is pitching herself for a role on a future Clinton presidential campaign," the Post speculated.

Sounds like all of the above.

CLINTONPALLOOZA

New York City will be decidedly Clinton-centric on Monday, meanwhile. Former President Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton and daughter Chelsea Clinton will be the stars of the much ballyhooed, four-day Clinton Global Initiative that touts a theme titled "Mobilizing for Impact" and brings 1,000 global-minded glitterati to a Times Square hotel to talk about — global things?

Well, yes. And no. President Obama's protective push for the Affordable Care Act will be center stage.

Come Tuesday afternoon, Mssrs. Obama and Clinton "will engage in a conversation about the benefits and future of health care reform in America and access to quality health care around the globe," a foundation program guide notes. The session will be moderated by Miss Clinton, who also hosts her own panel on preventative health tactics.

Also in the huge throng this week: Al Gore, Valerie B. Jarrett, senior adviser to Mr. Obama; Susan E. Rice, national security adviser; Gene Sperling, director, White House National Economic Council; John Podesta, chairman of the Center for American Progress; New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, actor Sean Penn, singer Bono, Bill and Melinda Gates and Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook.

BUMPER PATROL

"Your life is not my fault. My life is not your business."

Bumper sticker spotted near Enid, Oklahoma.

MUELLER'S NEW LIFE

He took over as FBI director on September 4, 2001, a week before terrorist attacks on American soil changed the nation. Robert Mueller served a dozen more years before stepping down on Sept. 4, the longest-serving director since J. Edgar Hoover.

Now what?

A Vietnam veteran, Purple Heart recipient and former Justice Department litigator, Mr. Mueller is returning to the practice of law. He also will become Georgetown University's first "distinguished executive-in-residence," serving as an unpaid faculty and student adviser unaffiliated with any specific academic department.

"There are four areas that I'm interested in — national security, cybersecurity, organizations in transition and leadership," Mr. Muller says, adding that he looks forward to being associated with a university with "Jesuit values, dignity and integrity."

POLL DU JOUR

57 percent of Americans say "better mental health care" would play stronger role than stricter gun laws role in preventing mass shootings in the U.S.; 74 percent of Republicans and 43 percent of Democrats agree.

52 percent of Americans say stricter gun laws will not make a difference in preventing future mass shootings; 59 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of Democrats agree.

40 percent overall say that making gun laws stricter would help prevent such events; 14 percent of Republicans and 62 percent of Democrats agree.

48 percent say gun control law should be made more strict; 20 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of Democrats agree.

29 percent overall say the laws should not change; 46 percent of Republicans and 17 percent of Democrats agree.

16 percent say the laws should be made less strict; 29 percent of Republicans and 3 percent of Democrats agree.

45 percent say the days following a mass shooting are "the right time" to have a national discussion about gun laws; 19 percent of Republicans and 65 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A YouGov/Huffington Post survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 17-18.

Sighs and complaints to jharper@washingtontimes.com

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.