- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 27, 2014

It’s all right there in the title of Rick Santorum’s book: “Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommitting to an America That Works.” The former Pennsylvania senator and presidential hopeful estimates there are about 6 million of those hard-working stalwarts out there, with much on their minds. And the Republican Party could be overlooking them, he warns in the book, published Monday by Regnery and a convincing signal that Mr. Santorum is not done with his quest for the White House.

“In 2012, a mass of blue-collar voters, enough to have tipped the balance of the Electoral College in favor of the Republican candidate, simply stayed home on Election Day. Why? Despite their deeply conservative values, they had lost faith that the Republicans spoke for them and had their backs,” Mr. Santorum argues.

“Enough with pandering, enough with focusing on business owners to the exclusion of everyone else — the vast majority of Americans — who work for them. Republicans need to regain the trust of the hard-working members of every family, church and community across America whose most immediate problems are lack of jobs and opportunity,” he continues.

The author, meanwhile, is CEO for Dallas-based EchoLight Studios, which produces and distributes faith-based “redemptive media” and feature films, a position he took 10 months ago.

Mr. Santorum, 55 and the father of seven, remains unapologetic about his pro-life, pro-family, pro-faith beliefs and his traditional values; indeed, he acts on them. At the height of his 2012 presidential run, Mr. Santorum suddenly bolted from the campaign trail to be at the bedside of his young daughter, Bella, who suffers from a genetic disorder and had taken ill. He has not shied away from Second Amendment issues either.

“A well-armed family is a safe family. A well-armed America is a safer America,” Mr. Santorum told CBS “Face the Nation” Sunday.

CONGRESS SLOUCHES BACK TO WORK

It could be a lazy Monday for the U.S. Congress, which comes drifting, meandering and slouching back to Capitol Hill after a two-week vacation. Wait, they’re not racing down the hallowed halls, eager to legislate? Apparently not. Among the headlines in the last 24 hours heralding the moment when lawmakers open their shop doors for business:

“Congress returns to work to do the bare minimum” (Associated Press); “Curb your enthusiasm about progress in upcoming Congress” (USA Today); “A consensus in Washington but not action” (The New York Times); “Congress returns to Capitol Hill with full agenda, but limited desire to make big changes in election year” (Fox News).

The critics point out that issues like immigration, tax reform and the Keystone XL pipeline will languish. “Veto bait,” points out Andrew Taylor, an AP political writer.

The public is watching, and they continue be irked with the cautious Congress. A mere 9 percent of likely voters say incumbents should be re-elected in November, according to a new Rasmussen Poll, a finding that could bode well for tea partyers who hope that the 2014 midterms will be a repeat of 2010, when the grassroots took over established GOP turf.

Meanwhile, voters also think elected officials are not worth it. Seven out of 10 say members of Congress are “paid too much,” this according to a new YouGov survey of 1,000 respondents. The sentiment is common: 67 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of independents agree.

MIA LOVE’S MOMENT

Her campaign website is Love4Utah.com — that would be tenacious conservative Mia Love, who lost to Rep. Jim Matheson, Utah Democrat, in 2012. He is retiring, and she is just getting started. The former mayor of Sarasota Springs has secured her place on the November midterm ballot, on Saturday garnering the support of 78 percent of the assembled Republican delegates in the newly designated 4th District that includes Salt Lake and Utah counties.

Mrs. Love promised the eager crowd that she would take on “that Godzilla we call the federal government,” adding, “This process makes you better. I think — I know — we came out stronger.”

She has won the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and former Florida Rep. Allen West, among others.

“With Jim Matheson’s retirement, Republicans are poised to pick up this congressional seat and there is no better candidate to lead the charge than Mia Love,” says National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden.

A TIMELY REMINDER

Victory is not always immediate, even in the age of instant gratification. Consider this hint on the trajectory of the war on terrorism, from former British Prime Minister Tony Blair

“I think we’ve got to recognize one thing very, very clearly. This is a long battle, right? The best way to look at this is to take an analogy probably with something like revolutionary Communism or even Fascism. In other words, this ideology, it’s not going to be defeated by an engagement in Afghanistan, in Iraq, or even in these individual arenas. It’s going to be defeated over a long period of time.”

Mr. Blair made his comments on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

ON THE HOME FRONT

Though some pine to do it, brewing beer at home is just too complicated, observes Michael Wolf, a consumer analyst and Forbes contributor. This has all changed, though. Seattle-based Picobrew has developed a countertop “beer-brewing appliance”. No, really. It’s a $1,699 device that’s the size of a microwave oven, with an optional high tech mini-keg. Preorders are being taken; shipping begins in September.

Instructions from the maker: “Just add water, grain and hops.” Find it here: Picobrew.com

A QUESTION FOR SENATOR WARREN

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has not forgotten that exactly two years ago, news surfaced that Sen. Elizabeth Warren had been “touted” as a minority — specifically a Native American — during her time as a Harvard law professor. The GOP official still wants more details from the Massachusetts Democrat, now that she has released a significant memoir and struck a few presidential postures.

“With Elizabeth Warren challenging Hillary Clinton for the liberal mantle of the Democrat Party, we’re calling on Warren to release her full employment records from Harvard University,” says Mr. Priebus.

“For two full years, Warren’s stonewalling of the media has left more questions than answers, and the only way to put this issue to rest once and for all is by finally releasing her personnel records. Americans deserve to know if Warren claimed that she was 1/32nd Cherokee Indian in order to gain minority status so she could get a teaching position at Harvard University,” Mr. Priebus said.

POLL DU JOUR

• 59 percent of Americans say maintaining “good relations” with Russia is more important than punishing the nation; 41 percent disagree.

• 55 percent say the U.S. should not get involved in Russia’s dispute with Ukraine; 24 percent are not sure, 21 percent say the U.S. should step in.

• 40 percent say the U.S. should impose economic sanctions on Russia, 37 percent say the U.S. should maintain diplomatic negotiations with Russia.

• 39 percent say that a year from now, Ukraine will be part of Russia; 26 percent say Ukraine will still be an independent nation then.

• 30 percent say the U.S. should provide economic aid to Ukraine, 18 percent would provide military weapons, 7 percent would send U.S. troops to Ukraine.

Source: A YouGov poll of 998 U.S. adults conducted April 19-21.

Impatient banter, long sighs to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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