- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 24, 2013

“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

What do the world’s leaders and their spouses have for lunch? Not necessarily the same things, according to menus from the 68th U.N. General Assembly’s noontime meals in New York City on Tuesday.

Fifty spouses, including first lady Michelle Obama, journeyed to a Harlem museum for a luncheon catered by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson. On their plates:

Arugula salad, roasted apples, cornbread croutons and pecans with a chanterelle mushroom vinaigrette; shrimp and dirty rice with pumpkin sauce, collard greens and curry leaves; banana pudding parfait, almond cookies and huckleberry sauce.”

And back at the U.N., the powerful set enjoyed:

Tuna tartare with avocado, baby greens and cheese crisp with grapefruit, veal osso bucco in a truffle-veal jus, salted caramel chocolate mousse and biscotti with mango sauce.

SEEKING CONSERVATIVE VETS

“We have an extreme shortage of veterans who are conservative in our government. It’s no coincidence that the suffocating liberal policies of years past have come from those who haven’t served in Iraq or Afghanistan,” says a very emphatic Allen B. West, who served 22 years in the Army.

He points out that 20 percent of the current Congress has served in the military.

Barack Obama doesn’t know what it’s like to put his life on the line for freedom. Nancy Pelosi has never surrendered an ounce of comfort for her country. Bill Clinton only knows how to make decisions from a desk chair,” the former Florida congressman says in an email to those who support vets either running for office or interested in doing so.

‘With our World War II veterans no longer having an influence in Congress, we’re quickly losing the Greatest Generation and the values of hard work and sacrifice they taught us,” he adds. “We face a great catastrophe if we don’t do something now to bring in more conservative veterans to lead this country.”

THE PRACTICAL MR. SCOTT

The Affordable Care Act is “the Unaffordable Care Act” says Sen. Tim Scott. “I am opposed to funding Obamacare, plain and simple, and my votes this week will reflect that.” But he’s still troubled by the lack of fiscal sanity of Capitol Hill.

“Short-term, month-to-month budgeting is no way to run a government. Even if we manage to avoid a government shutdown by early next week, we will be debating the same question in just a few short months,” the South Carolina Republican says. “We can’t continue to place a Band-Aid on Washington’s failure to pass a responsible, long-term budget.”

Lawmakers have forgotten sensible kitchen table-style budgeting, he says, moving from crisis to crisis, governing by continuing resolution.

“Congress hasn’t completed all 12 regular spending bills on time since 1997. And this year, Congress hasn’t yet passed any of these bills,” Mr. Scott says, adding, “A big part of the solution here is not rocket science: Pass a budget. Pass all 12 appropriations bills. Show some fiscal foresight.”

POLL DU JOUR

74 percent of Americans say that insurance purchased through a health insurance exchange will be expensive.

71 percent say health care exchanges will be difficult to understand.

70 percent of Americans say they are not sure what the term “health insurance exchange” means; 48 percent are “not at all sure” what the term “health insurance exchange” means.

67 percent say that “helpers or navigators” for state-sponsored” health care exchanges will be helpful.

35 percent say the term “exchange” means each state will offer a choice of health plans.

12 percent say the term means private insurance companies will offer the health plans.

Source: A Harris Poll of 2,044 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 13 to 17 and released Tuesday.

Helpful hints, conflicting information to jharper@washingtontimes.com.