- The Washington Times - Monday, April 7, 2014

Into the insta-world of contemporary politics comes the weighty “Takeover: The 100-Year War for the Soul of the GOP and How Conservatives Can Finally Win It” — a new book by veteran conservative activist Richard Viguerie, a man with much institutional knowledge. He’s also been an eyewitness to all the machinations for more than four decades. But it goes beyond that.

“One hundred and two years ago, Teddy Roosevelt split the Republican Party to advance his progressive agenda. Progressivism, or big government Republicanism, became the philosophy of the Republican Party’s establishment elite,” the author declares. “Fifty years ago, conservatives began a battle for control of the party. Now is the time for conservatives to finish the job and take back the Republican Party.”

The cavalcade of talent includes Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, William F. Buckley, M. Stanton Evans and Ronald Reagan; chapters include “The selling of Gov. George W. Bush as a conservative;” “Consultants make millions wrecking the GOP;” and “It’s the Primaries, Stupid.” The author is man ready to rumble as “civil war” and division rattle the Grand Old Party.

“One can’t understand the tea party movement unless one understands that it is as much a rebellion against the big-government Republican establishment and the entrenched leadership of the Republican Party as it is driven by opposition to specific liberal policies of President Obama, such as Obamacare or the growth of spending, the deficit and the federal debt,” Mr. Viguerie says.

The 368-page book will be published by WND Books on Tuesday.

RAHM-A-RAMA

This has been chatter off and on that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel could end up a White House hopeful in 2016, either running for president himself, or as Hillary Clinton’s running mate. While the press and even the GOP itself are often fixated by the idea, few have actually gone to Planet Emanuel to seek answers. As in one-on-one.

Not so Issac Chotiner, senior editor of the New Republic, who got the interview, wrote the story and ultimately deems it “stark raving Rahm,” among other things.

“A conversation with Emanuel is a physical experience. When he has strong feelings about a subject — which is often — he frequently sits on the very edge of his chair, emphasizing his point through proximity,” Mr. Chotiner reports. “At one point, he waved his finger inches from my face, Lyndon Johnson — style.”

The pair talked about Mr. Emanuel’s years as a senior advisor in the Clinton White House, the travails of the Republican Party and the differences between Chicago and the nation’s capital.

“When the Obamacare website wasn’t working properly, did you want to be in Washington trying to fix it?” Mr. Chotiner asked.

“You gotta be kidding. You get a freebie question for the ridiculousness of that question,” the mayor replied.

“I was asking about your competitive instinct. You say you like to fix things,” the interviewer explained.

Mr. Emanuel rose to his feet, and walked around his office before issuing his reply.

“That goes down as one of the more intriguing questions I have ever had. Did I wish I was in Washington to fix a website? Let me answer that. I have a single-word answer: No. Please do not edit out the sarcasm of that answer,” he observed.

THE GOP RAMPS IT UP

Republicans have vowed to venture into big-tent thinking to expand their voter base for the upcoming midterm elections and beyond. Well, how about it? Is the GOP getting out there? Rep. Cathie McMorris Rogers says that there have been “significant public meetings” between Republican folk and voters of several persuasions — including Vietnamese-American, Hispanics, Indian-Americans, those under 30 and women. She points out that some appealing factors are beginning to emerge.

Why, voters are beginning to discover that none other than Gandhi’s grandson is now a Republican state representative in Kansas, and that four out of five women governors are actually Republican. There are 27 GOP House members are under 40; the Democrats have 13.

Who knew?

“We cannot allow ourselves to be defined as stubborn, or out of touch, or only for the rich. Tone matters. We need to be aware of that as we are thinking through our communications, and keep in mind the old adage that people don’t care what you know until they know that you care. Showing up also matters,” the Washington Republican recently told the Ripon Society, a public policy group in the nation’s capital.

‘BEST LOOKING ATTORNEY GENERAL’

It’s a passing moment, but one of interest. California Attorney General Kamala Harris has revealed she will marry a Los Angeles attorney Douglas Emhoff after a year’s courtship. It’s her first marriage, his second; they met on a blind date. Aww. That’s nice news, and good luck.

But wait. Miss Harris made a significant ripple on the public’s radar just over a year ago after she drew some eyebrow-raising admiration from President Obama himself.

“She’s brilliant and she’s dedicated. She’s tough. She also happens to be, by far, the best-looking attorney general. It’s true. C’mon,” the president told a cheerful crowd when the pair appeared at the podium during a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in California.

The press clamored for an explanation. Media handlers jumped.

“The attorney general and the president have been friends for many years. They had a great conversation yesterday and she strongly supports him,” Miss Harris’ spokesman said in the immediate aftermath.

It was just one of those things.

White House press secretary Jay Carney also joined in, informing reporters that Mr. Obama called Miss Harris “to apologize for the distraction created by his comments,” later adding, “He fully recognizes the challenges women continue to face in the workplace and that they should not be judged based on appearance.”

RUN SCOTT RUN

Or maybe it should be, “Scoot, Scott, scoot.” Former Massachusetts GOP Sen. Scott Brown has at long last revealed he’s running for the a Senate seat in New Hampshire after many months of flirtatious behavior, a cozy “Main Street-and-living rooms” listening tour and photo ops throughout the Granite State. The big announcement is Thursday; Mr. Brown has issued a cordial public invitation to anyone who wants to journey to the Harborside Hotel in scenic Portsmouth and bear witness.

“Portsmouth is going to be the start of the next chapter in my life,” he says.

Well, maybe. He faces former U.S. Senator Bob Smith, former state Sen. Jim Rubens and traditional-values advocate and talk radio host Karen Testerman in the state primary in September. And his ultimate foe — that would be incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

“Scott Brown will have his hands full,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren told the Boston Globe. The Massachusetts Democrat who ousted Mr. Brown is predicting a Shaheen victory.

POLL DU JOUR

59 percent of Americans say they will spend less “eating out” in the next six months.

54 percent say they will reduce their spending on entertainment.

52 percent plan to save or invest more money in the next six months.

39 percent say they will take a vacation lasting more than a week in the future.

34 percent anticipate having some extra money to spend.

23 percent will buy a new computer in the next six months; 15 percent will purchase or lease a new vehicle.

8 percent will buy a new home, 8 percent will start a new business, 4 percent will buy a boat or RV.

Source: A Harris Poll of 2,234 U.S. adults conducted March 12-17 and released Thursday.

Machinations, complaints to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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