Inside the Beltway: Observations du jour

“The GOP establishment is so mad they have momentarily stopped attacking Sarah Palin,” declares National Review contributing editor Jeffrey Lord, commenting on Republican reaction to Sen. Ted Cruz and his determination to derail the Affordable Care Act.

“This is a battle to save America and restore the Constitution. A battle for liberty and freedom. Call it ‘The Reaganite Rebellion’ — a full blown showdown between conservatives and liberals over the future of America,” Mr. Lord says. “So who do Republicans attack? Why of course. Ted Cruz.”

Mrs. Palin, meanwhile, has her own suggestions.

“We already have a third party. We have the liberal party, the GOP machine, and then we’ve got the good guys. That is the third party. Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul. Those are the players in the party whom I will support,” she told Fox Business Network anchor Neil Cavuto, this as Mr. Cruz was digging in his “argument boot” heels and delivering a filibuster-style speech before Congress to underscore his revulsion over the health care law.

RATING THE ‘FILIBUSTER’

And the reviews or the Cruz soliloquy? The aforementioned Texas Republican began his oration at 2:41 p.m. Tuesday as cameras rolled and critics critiqued, within minutes of Mr. Cruz’s opening volley. Among the insta-reviews:

“Ted Cruz (R-Ted Cruz) kicks off Ted Cruz awareness raising faux-a-buster” (Vanity Fair), “Can Cruz win by losing?” (Daily Beast), “Ted Cruz launches faux filibuster (CBS News), “The double absurdity of Ted Cruz’s filibuster” (The Atlantic) “Filibuster star Wendy Davis mum on Cruz marathon speech (The Associated Press), “Why the GOP is on Cruz Control” (National Journal).

LERNER-FREE MEDIA

Broadcasters virtually ignored the big news that Lois G. Lerner “retired” with a $50,000 taxpayer-funded pension. She is the IRS official most clearly associated with the agency’s targeting of conservative groups; ABC, CBS and NBC did not give the event even a “single second of coverage,” says a Media Research Center analysis in the immediate aftermath.

The networks were more interested in the new iPhone, the Emmy Awards and Mick Jagger’s impending great-grandfatherhood, the conservative watchdog found, also noting that the related IRS scandal has been out of the news for months. It has been 90 days since ABC last mentioned the story, 89 days for NBC and 61 days for CBS, according to an ongoing count.

The networks hope to provide a “soft landing” for the story, says Brent Bozell, president of the organization.

“In spite of constantly mounting evidence to the contrary — including some of Lerner’s own emails — the media are still dismissing this major scandal as a case of bureaucratic buffoonery. This is a coordinated, politically motivated attack by a powerful government agency on American citizens, plain and simple,” Mr. Bozell declares.

“Lerner is at the dead center of the worst scandal since Watergate, and the very people she targeted for IRS harassment are now on the hook for her pension. Few people in America today deserve more scrutiny from the press than she does,” he adds.

“Her legal troubles are not over. The FBI is conducting a criminal investigation, Congress investigates, and the American Center for Law and Justice is pressing forward with its own lawsuit, brought on behalf of 41 conservative groups in 22 states, to hold Lerner and other senior IRS officials accountable for their unconstitutional abuse of the First Amendment,” points out Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the group.

LUNCH-A-LISIOUS

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