- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 17, 2014

The effort to purge the word “Easter” from public egg hunts continues. But wait. Politicians may get banned from the springtime doings as well. Take the traditional Easter parade, for example, long a bastion of women in swell hats and men in their Sunday best. In Canada, it’s complicated. A local neighborhood in Toronto has declared its annual parade to be a “political-free zone” that only caters to local families, not agendas. Politicians have been forbidden by organizers from strolling in the parade and peddling their policy wares.

Which could prove an inconvenience for oft-exuberant Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, the proud possessor of 10,000 chocolate Easter eggs which he acquired to hand out during the aforementioned parade. It is no longer part of the script. Mr. Ford, who doled out sweets in the parades of yore, demonstrated his dismay by wheeling out a pallet of the rejected eggs to show reporters.

“What can you do?” he sighed. “If they don’t want us there, they don’t want us there.”

Ordinary citizens are striking back elsewhere as well. After a controversial political booth caused a hubbub at a local autumn festival in southwestern Pennsylvania, disgusted local officials declared that future community events would be politics-free. That includes the upcoming Easter egg hunt in the wee township of Cecil.

Revelers will be prohibited from wearing political attire or distributing political materials, this according to a motion approved 3-2 by the town’s board of supervisors, including Chairman Andy Schrader. He vows to keep township functions “family-friendly and enjoyable, without exposing the public to political rhetoric.”

OBAMACARE TAINTS THE MIDTERMS

It is the stuff of Republican dreams. Poll numbers consistently have revealed that a majority of Americans are not keen on Obamacare. Now the numbers reveal something else.

“Obamacare hate threatens Democrats in midterms,” says pollster John Zogby.

President Obama got some chilling news from a recent USA Today/Pew poll. Americans who oppose his health care law say they are significantly more likely to vote in November than those who support it. Democrats can lose the Senate if those numbers hold,” he observes.

“On the other hand, the poll’s sample included 42 percent self-identified Republicans and 39 percent self-identified Democrats. This pollster knows that party identification changes over time, but not like an earthquake on the San Andreas Fault,” Mr. Zogby continues. “Nonetheless, Democrats are going to need those new health care beneficiaries to come out in droves to vote, and it looks like it could take some convincing.”

‘GRAB A BITE WITH KARL’

Club sandwiches? Fancy little steaks and a Caesar salad? “Grab a Bite with Karl Rove,” proclaims the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is offering the master strategist as a luncheon companion in the near future. Mr. Rove, apparently, still has a certain cachet.

“You’ve seen him on Fox News or read his seasoned opinions in The Wall Street Journal. He’s one of the most prominent GOP strategists and a powerful voice for conservatives across the country,” the organization says in their pitch. “As the GOP gears up for the 2014 midterms, we’re elated to offer the opportunity to sit down for lunch with the ‘architect’ of George W. Bush’s victorious 2000 and 2004 campaigns, renowned for their advanced design and clever strategy.”

The lunch location is unnamed, though it will be in the nation’s capital. The raffle, which does not require a campaign donation, includes airfare and a night’s hotel stay in Washington. The contest closes on May 16.

WALKER ON THE RUN

“Walker in 2016?” The headline has at last appeared, proof that the news media have finally noticed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and could very well give him the same scrutiny that fellow Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey received when his White House intentions became apparent.

“But Walker is a less inviting target than Christie. Walker carries himself with more humility and less bravado, which isn’t difficult. And he has been cautious in speaking about issues that don’t relate directly to Wisconsin,” points out Powerline columnist Paul Mirengoff.

Mr. Walker launched his official re-election campaign on Tuesday with some heartland touches, introduced to an appreciative crowd by his wife Tonette and clad in jeans and a red work shirt.

“We want to reduce the dependence on government and increase the dependence on hard work and pride,” he told local fans. Such tactics, along with Mr. Walker’s relentless quest to bring business to his state, have already given Mr. Walker a healthy lead over Democratic challenger Mary Burke in two new polls of Wisconsin voters.

“I expect that, with a solid victory in November, Scott Walker will become the effective front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination. By effective front-runner, I mean the most likely nominee, assuming he wants the nomination — not necessarily the Republican who polls the best in early surveys,” says Mr. Mirengoff.

SIMPLE TRILLION DOLLAR MATH

Some years back, a cheeky bumper sticker proclaimed: “Don’t tell President Obama what comes after a trillion.” That was in the days when the concept of “trillion” was a novelty, an unthinkable figure. Now it is part of the vernacular.

“I know the national debt isn’t supposed to matter, at least, so some well-placed pundits in the media tell me. But it’s hard to head off a modicum of concern when I glance at the figures,” says Reason columnist J.D. Tucille, who actually took the time to consult the most current Treasury Department figures to reveal all.

The latest notation on “total public debt outstanding” reveals the figure to be $17,539, 023,466,494. Ten years ago, it was $7.1 trillion.

“At some point, you have to think that it’s going to occur to people that the United States government seems neither willing nor able to stop borrowing, and to start paying the sum down, even a little bit,” Mr. Tucille observes. “The ‘stop borrowing’ part would be a good start. But that’s a lot of money to pay back. And eventually, the bill will come due.”

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For sale: The Cott House, romantic style home built 1830, located on “Victorian Old Town Market Street”, Wheeling, West Virginia. Living area: 4,200 square feet; detached three-car garage, three stories with English basement. New air conditioning and heating installed, some rewiring completed. Original bricks, pocket doors in place; original fireplaces and surrounds, many original doors and decorative wood, shutters “in the basement.” Price: just $35,000. Information through the Vandalia Heritage Foundation (Vandalia.org).

POLL DU JOUR

51 percent of U.S. voters have an unfavorable opinion of President Obama; 87 percent of Republicans, 54 percent of independents and 14 percent of Democrats agree.

46 percent of voters overall have an unfavorable opinion of the Democratic Party; 84 percent of Republicans, 50 percent of independents and 8 percent of Democrats agree.

45 percent overall have an unfavorable opinion of the Republican Party; 12 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of independents and 76 percent of Democrats agree.

45 percent overall have an unfavorable opinion of the tea party; 25 percent of Republicans, 45 percent of independents and 64 percent of Democrats agree.

45 percent overall have an unfavorable opinion of the Hillary Clinton; 76 percent of Republicans, 48 percent of independents and 12 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Fox News poll of 1,012 registered U.S. voters conducted April 13-15.

Happy Easter, and thank you for reading The Beltway.

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