- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 24, 2014

Gentlemen and ladies, start your engines. The season has started. By the time Sunday rolls around, conservatives in three states will be charged up, ready to rumble and eager to convince press and public that the 2014 midterms will yield some sweet victory for the Grand Old Party — 2010 style. On the radar: a trio of major political rallies in Oklahoma, Nebraska and Iowa showcasing grass-roots “GOP rock stars” who cheerfully intend to draw attention to promising conservative hopefuls in each state.

Yes, Sarah Palin will be at all three events. And everybody has a crowded itinerary. Consider that on Thursday, the former Alaska governor was in Tulsa, Okla., for a “Rally for Liberty” with Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah, an event to draw support for T.W. Shannon, former Oklahoma House Speaker who’s now running for the U.S. Senate seat.

“Thomas Jefferson said when the people fear their government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty. If conservatives in Oklahoma and across America will unite, we can protect our God-given liberty, and take back this country,” says Mr. Shannon.

Moving on, Mrs. Palin then journeys to North Platte, Neb., on Friday to join forces again with Mr. Lee, along with former Nebraska Gov. Kay Orr, this time on behalf of U.S. Senate hopeful Ben Sasse.

Some side trips are also tucked in Saturday. There’s an additional stop for Mrs. Palin at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Indianapolis, where she’ll join Oliver North and Alabama for a “Stand and Fight Rally.”

Mr. Cruz will head to New Hampshire, land of pine trees, crystal lakes and non-stop politics. He’ll attend a Lincoln Day dinner with local Republicans, this at the Grand Summit Resort atop Attitash Mountain in scenic Bartlett.

The circuit is complete Sunday when Mrs. Palin arrives in Des Moines, Iowa, for an all-female finale: the “Heels On, Gloves Off Rally,” organized by She-Pac, a conservative political action committee intent on supporting conservative women running for public office. In the cast: Mrs. Palin, Mrs. Orr, Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Joni Ernst, also a U.S. Senate hopeful in the Hawkeye State.

“Republicans have a chance to send conservatives to Washington who don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk when it comes to standing up for conservative values,” says Tim Crawford, treasurer of SarahPAC, a 5-year-old political action committee that maintains the Republican Party is “at the threshold of a historic renaissance.”

AN NRA MOTHER SPEAKS

It’s going to be interesting in Indiana. Activists with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America plan three days of protest-themed events in close proximity to the aforementioned NRA meeting. On Friday, the mothers — who are affiliated with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Every Town for Gun Safety initiative — will release an investigative report, along with a video spot advocating gun reform. On Saturday, they’ll stage a “stroller jam” rally to end gun violence, and on Sunday the group will display quilts made from fabrics belonging to “victims or survivors of gun violence.”

Catherine Mortensen, an NRA spokeswoman, has this response.

“I am a mother. I have children. No organization in the world does more than the NRA to promote gun safety and gun education,” she tells Inside the Beltway. “The giant share of our annual budget of $300 million is spent on programs that promote gun safety, education and training. We have 93,000 instructors, and more in the law enforcement field. We reach about 800,000 people a year for our gun safety programs.”

Mrs. Mortensen continues, “27 million school-age children have been through our Eddie Eagle Gun Safe program. That’s what the NRA does, it’s who we are. Michael Bloomberg’s efforts would leave law abiding mothers defenseless. We know that universal background checks won’t work because criminals don’t subject themselves to background checks, and they never will. We have enough laws. Now we need stricter enforcement.”

CULTURAL MOMENT

“The Barack Obama College Preparatory High School”

New “selective enrollment” public school to be built in at the corner of Division and Halstead Streets in Chicago, to open in 2017, according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“I think the president considers this a shovel-ready project,” he said Thursday. “I’m not going to put words in his mouth, but he knows about it and he’s excited about it.”

WALKER COULD WALK TO A RUN

Wisconsin voters appear to be happy with their current leadership. Gov. Scott Walker currently leads his Democratic challenger Mary Burke, 48 percent to 45 percent. So says a new Public Policy Polling survey. A Walker victory in November would be significant; analysts have already framed his campaign and re-election as a full dress rehearsal for a possible White House run in 2016.

Ms. Burke’s approval numbers have been up, and her name recognition has increased, the poll found.

“Nevertheless Walker has shown that he will be tough to beat,” an analysis of the findings proclaims, citing Mr. Walker’s 50 percent approval rating among all voters. He has the support of 93 percent of Republicans, a near equal amount of conservatives, 45 percent of independents and 41 percent of moderates. Even 12 percent of both liberals and Democrats give him the thumbs up.

“This poll pretty much sums up the Wisconsin governor’s races over the last four years,” said Dean Debnam, president of the polling group. “It’s always close, but Scott Walker always has the upper hand.”

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For Sale: The Old Tavern House, built in 1797 in Dublin, N.H.; also served as an inn, the first post office and town clerk’s office. Four corner bedrooms, four bathrooms, 4,300 square-feet of living space. “Hip roof” Colonial with center hall, completely updated, new roof, new heating system, custom cabinets and appliances in kitchen. Back ell with kitchenette has space for “art gallery,” in-law apartment or home business. Detached three-car garage and barn with open bays.

Price: $289,000 through Petersonrealestate.com

POLL DU JOUR

53 percent of likely U.S. voters think neither party in Congress “is the party of the American people.”

52 percent of Republicans, 44 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of unaffiliated voters agree.

47 percent say the Democratic Party has a “plan for where it wants to take the nation.”67 percent of Democrats agree.

30 percent of voters overall say the Democrats do not have a plan; 23 percent are undecided.

38 percent of voters overall say the Republican Party has a plan for the nation. 56 percent of Republicans agree.

40 percent of overall say Republicans do not have a plan; 22 percent are not sure.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports poll of 1,000 likely U.S. voters conducted April 19-20.

Bodacious banter, chit chat to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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