- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 29, 2013

What? Something else was going on besides the House Republican war on Obamacare? Well, yes. Conservatives displayed newfound resolve and grit at the Conservative Political Action Conference in St. Louis on Saturday, an intense one-day gathering in Missouri that attracted scores of lawmakers, public officials and astute heavyweights. Among their messages to an enthusiastic audience:

“To the mainstream media and Democrats in Congress, I apologize. But I’m not playing nice anymore. (American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas)

“Our government is broken, but we the people can fix it. We have to show our friends and enemies that we are the land of the free, because we are still the home of the brave.” (Oliver North)

“The best storyteller wins elections. Republicans have to engage the soul of the country.” (Rick Santorum)

“We don’t need to become Europe, we just need to be America again.” (Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback)

“I believe the answer to our economic ills will not be found in Washington, it’ll be found among the states.” (Texas Gov. Rick Perry)

“If we stick to principle, if we remember what it is we are about and what it is we want to accomplish, and if we organize around those principles and stand for them, people will stand with us.” (Washington Times opinion editor and former National Rifle Association President David Keene)

“We want one thing from the government: We wish to be left alone.” (Americans for Tax Reform founder Grover Norquist)

Mr. Cardenas, incidentally, also revealed that the 41st annual CPAC will be held in early March, once again at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, on the banks of the Potomac River near Washington.

“I hope and pray that each of you leaves here today more determined than ever to join the fight, even more committed to the restoration of America’s greatness, emboldened by the knowledge that God will bless our mission just as God blesses all of America,” Mr. Cardenas told the departing audience.

GOD IS NOT THE CO-PILOT?

“The U.S. Air Force Academy has removed the words ‘So help me God’ from some written materials, including the oath administered to USAF inductees based upon the objections of a single atheist,” says Tom Fitton, director of Judicial Watch, who notes that his watchdog group has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Defense Department to obtain the official records showing what — or who — is behind the decision.

Unilaterally removing ‘so help me God’ from Air Force Academy materials is at odds with our nation’s history, the rule of law, and the fundamental values of the American people,” Mr. Fitton observes. “We want to get to the bottom of this controversy and it is a shame we had to go to court to try to get past the Pentagon’s stonewall.”

LET THE GAMES BEGIN

So the Affordable Care Act gets rolling. So what? Some say it could eventually benefit the Republican Party.

“What is the real advantage to delaying the collapse of Obamacare? Let the grisly damage show itself now — in time for 2014 elections!” tweeted talk radio host Neal Boortz on Sunday.

THE $284 MILLION DIFFERENCE

“The other side has already spent a whopping $400 million in anti-Obamacare TV ads. We don’t have to beat that, but we need to have the resources to fight back,” points out a fundraising outreach released Sunday from Organizing for America, the aggressive grass-roots organization that grew out of President Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Interesting, though. According to calculations from The Associated Press, the Obama administration has spent “at least $684 million” on public campaigns and broadcast ads to promote the Affordable Care Act. Yes, those were taxpayer funds.

MCCAIN’S NEW EMPLOYEE

“Sen. John McCain has hired Elizabeth O’Bagy, the Syria analyst in Washington who was fired for padding her credentials,” notes a dispatch from Foreign Policy. “She begins work Monday as a legislative assistant in McCain’s office.”

This is the same Ms. O’Bagy who worked for the Institute for the Study of War. Her Wall Street Journal op-ed published Aug. 31 in favor of U.S. military intervention in Syria generated headlines after Secretary of State John F. Kerry and the Arizona Republican referred to it, strongly advocating the same tactics. Ms. O’Bagy, however, had falsified her academic credentials and then lost her position with the institute. There were other factors.

“O’Bagy represented herself in media as an unbiased observer who had found that Syria’s rebellion is mostly moderate, and not Islamist, even while she worked with the Syrian Emergency Task Force, which openly advocates for increasing U.S. involvement in Syria’s civil war,” points out Bryan Preston, a Pajamas Media columnist. “But she also vouched for a group that published anti-American material on social media.”

Her hire is “among the most bizarre imaginable,” Mr. Preston says.

“Elizabeth is a talented researcher, and I have been very impressed by her knowledge and analysis in multiple briefings over the last year,” Mr. McCain said in a statement. “I look forward to her joining my office.”

VENTURA-STERN 2016

Five months ago, former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura announced he was mulling a run for president in 2016. The former pro wrestler may be moving closer to a declaration of same. He will soon embark on a national tour for “They Killed Our President: 63 Reasons to Believe There was a Conspiracy to Assassinate JFK,” his latest book, to be published Tuesday. “I’ve done my own research from Dallas to Havana,” Mr. Ventura says.

But wait. He’ll also begin his tour in the New York City area, which may or may not tie in with this news:

“Jesse Ventura and radio personality Howard Stern are set Wednesday on Stern’s radio show to discuss the serious possibility of a 2016 presidential run,” says Alex Jones, a syndicated talk radio host who enjoys connecting the proverbial dots, and is the founder of Infowars, an investigative news site.

“Ventura made it clear this is very serious and not a stunt, and that the two are in real talks for a 2016 Ventura-Stern ticket,” he adds.

“Sounds silly, yes, but anything would be better than Hillary ‘16,” notes a headline at Fark.com, the cheeky news aggregator.

POLL DU JOUR

• 61 percent of Americans trust “the American people” to make judgments about political issues; 57 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of independents and 68 percent of Democrats agree.

• 78 percent of Americans trusted the American people to make judgments about political issues in 2003; 76 percent of Republicans, 78 percent of independents and 73 percent of Democrats also felt that way in 2003.

• 46 percent of Americans overall currently trust U.S. politicians; 42 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of independents and 39 percent of Democrats agree.

• 60 percent of Americans trusted their politicians in 2003; 61 percent of Republicans, 78 percent of independents and 73 percent of Democrats also felt that way in 2003.

Source: A Gallup Poll of 1,510 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 5-8 and released Friday.

Clarifications, obtuse conclusions to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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