- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The tea party realm is not exactly thrilled with Rep. Paul Ryan’s 102-page federal budget proposal, a meticulously crafted document open to interpretation. The Republican National Committee frames it as evidence that the GOP is the “party of solutions,” while President Obama proclaims it a “stinkburger.” All that aside, fiscal conservatives in the heartland tend to look askance at the complicated maneuvers and fancy language on Capitol Hill and instead opt for kitchen-table solutions. The Tea Party Patriots, in fact, have a simple remedy for the nation’s money woes, minus the dialogue and paperwork.

Simply shave one penny from every dollar spent, the grass roots folk say.

“Congress doesn’t need a 12-step program to cure its addiction to overspending,” says Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Patriots, who argues that the minimal method could yield big results.

“We can balance the federal budget in about five years, and in the process, restore fiscal sanity to congressional spending. By spending one penny less next year out of every dollar the government spends, we set the nation on the right course to a debt-free future with a realistic, reasonable and measured approach to fiscal policy,” she said.

See what all the fuss is about: Mr. Ryan's “Pathway to Prosperity” proposal is available for public scrutiny at Budget.house.gov

THE BLANKLEY SCHOLAR

The search is on for an singular scholar to fill the Tony Blankley Chair for Public Policy and American Exceptionalism, a new academic fellowship offered by the Steamboat Institute, a Colorado-based nonprofit dedicated to lower taxes, limited government, free-market capitalism, individual rights and a strong national defense.

The late Blankley, a cheerful, insightful and consistent conservative force, oversaw the editorial section of The Washington Times for six years and was a press secretary to then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

“Essentially, we’re looking for the next Tony Blankley. He was a man who could articulate public policy in broader terms, and a way that many, many people could understand,” Jennifer Schubert-Akin, chairman and CEO of the aforementioned institute, tells Inside the Beltway.

“We’re also not specifying an age range for applicants. We’re looking for an emerging thought leader here. Yes, it could be a college student or a graduate student, but it could be someone in their 40s or older. We’re open, and seek somebody who needs a little help getting their ideas out there.”

Applications will be taken until June 30. The selection committee includes Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican; Mr. Gingrich and his wife, Callista Gingrich; Reagan administration Attorney General Edwin Meese; U.S. Senate hopeful Ed Gillespie; pollster Frank Luntz; columnist Amity Shlaes; and none other than Thomas P. McDevitt, chairman of The Washington Times. Find information here: Steamboatinstitute.org

ON THE RADAR

“The Ethos and Profession of Intelligence”

A conference organized by the CIA and Georgetown University in mid-June, showcasing heavyweights who must concoct a workable balance between the ongoing call for transparency and the ever-present need for, well, actionable intelligence in a dangerous world. “This conference will give attendees new perspectives on the Intelligence community and how the IC can best serve the open society it defends,” organizers say.

PERRY SEEKS THE FALLEN

A singular experience is coming up for Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He departs on Saturday for the Republic of Palau, where many thousands of U.S. forces saw fierce fighting 70 years ago on the islands of Peleliu and Angaur. The republic is located a good 4,600 miles west of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean. Mr. Perry is joining the BentProp Project, an independent group that has indexed crash sites of 29 American aircraft — Corsairs, Avengers, B-24s and others — and now seeks information on some 80 U.S. Army Air Corps and Navy airmen who are still missing in action.

“Somewhere in the waters of Palau, or deep within its marshy jungles, lie the answers some families have been waiting generations to hear,” Mr. Perry said. “I’m honored to lend a hand.”

The expedition is privately financed; no tax dollars in use here. Mr. Perry will be joined by a number of vets, including World War II vet Romus Valton “R.V.” Burgin, who served as a mortar man in the First Marine Division, and former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell. A documentary film is also in the works; Mr. Perry recommends the organization’s site, BentProp.org

A LIBERTARIAN MOMENT

The Libertarian Party has some promising news: State balloting records now show that there are 368,561 registered Libertarians, compared with 330,811 in 2012, an increase of more than 11 percent.

Where has the Libertarian inclination struck most? The states with the largest percent increases were Idaho (up 161 percent), Wyoming (68 percent), Nebraska (55 percent), and Louisiana (33 percent).

“Maybe it’s our across-the-board message of ‘more freedom, less government,’” reasons party Chairman Geoffrey Neale.

THE BRIDGE GOES UP

The campaign trail is becoming a very complicated place. American Bridge 21st Century, a progressive political action committee founded by David Brock in 2011, can’t wait for the Republican National Committee to decide which city gets to host the party’s massive presidential convention in two years. Will it be Denver, Dallas, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Kansas City or Las Vegas? All are under consideration. The American Bridge is already assembling a squad of videographers to record GOP candidates in mid-gaffe, and has already activated a website to showcase it all.

“While the Republican Party debates where to hold the Republican National Convention in 2016, American Bridge is preparing our team of researchers and trackers to capture the action, no matter what city they choose,” the organization advises. “In making their selection, Republicans would do well to remember that Las Vegas is already the city with the most cameras per capita of anywhere on the planet. What’s another two or three dozen American Bridge trackers added to the mix?”

The organization offers this message to prospective contributors, meanwhile: “Attending a town hall or rally? Record it on your smartphone and send it to us. Receive a robocall or a piece of mail from a Republican candidate or conservative organization? Send it to us. Have a tip for our research team to look into? Send it to us. Basically, if there’s anything a Republican candidate has said or done that voters should know about, we want to hear about it.”

POLL DU JOUR

76 percent of Americans say there should not be jail time for possession of small amounts of marijuana; 69 percent of Republicans, 79 percent of Democrats and 78 percent of independents agree.

67 percent overall say government policy should focus on treatment for illegal-drug users; 51 percent of Republicans, 77 percent of Democrats and 69 percent of independents agree.

54 percent overall say marijuana should be legalized; 39 percent of Republicans; 63 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of independents agree.

54 percent overall are concerned that legalization will lead to more underage use; 66 percent of Republicans, 48 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of independents agree.

26 percent say policy should focus on prosecuting the drug users; 42 percent of Republicans, 18 percent of Democrats and 24 percent of independents agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center Poll of 1,821 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 14-23 and released Tuesday.

• Churlish remarks and press releases to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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