- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Run, Ben, run? The question is a staple whenever Ben Carson makes one of his calm broadcast appearances, thoughtfully answering queries about his potential White House intent, his new One Nation political action committee and the intense grass-roots support that has produced a separate unofficial super PAC with $8 million in donations and 17,000 volunteers. Now the simple are-you-running question has gone to the next level. It’s got legs.

“What would be the driving force of the campaign?” That is what Fox Business Network asked Dr. Carson himself Tuesday. And here is how he replied:

“If I was running, I would run on the message that we are one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. And what that means, we need to have values and principles. We need to know who we are, and we need to work together. And we need to stop allowing those factions to drive wedges into every crack, to create a war on everything — a war on women, age wars, income wars, race wars, religious wars — all of this designed for nefarious objectives,” Dr. Carson observed.

THE ‘NATIONAL SECURITY’ CANDIDATES INCREASE

He is a former clandestine officer who’s gone into Lone Star politics. That would be conservative Will Hurd, who has joined the list of “national security” candidates who’ve caught the notice of John Bolton. Indeed, Mr. Hurd is challenging Democrat Rep. Pete Gallego in the 23rd District of Texas, which includes much of the Mexican-American border, in a pivotal area where voter support is much coveted by the GOP. He would bring much insight. Mr. Hurd returned to his home state in 2010 after 10 years with the CIA, serving primarily in South Asia and the Middle East where his primary mission was “the recruitment of foreign assets, collection and dissemination of intelligence,” this according to his biography. The Republican National Committee has also named him a “rising star” in the party.

“Will Hurd’s national security experience and credentials are unmatched. As an operations officer for the CIA, Will supported America’s interests abroad for over a decade,” says Mr. Bolton, who has endorsed the hopeful, and contributed to his cause. “Will understands the failure of five years of President Obama’s foreign policy, and the need to re-evaluate America’s standing on the world stage. I have no doubt Texans will be well-served with Will in Congress.”

This is the former U.N. ambassador’s 13th endorsement; his other choices in assorted 2014 races include U.S. Senate hopefuls Scott Brown in New Hampshire, Ed Gillespie in Virginia and Joni Ernst in Iowa. The John Bolton PAC, incidentally, has raised $4 million for candidates Mr. Bolton says are committed to restoring strong American economic and national security.

“We believe that it is not American strength that is provocative, but American weakness,” he observes.

THE VINEYARD REPORT FOR TODAY

Well thank goodness there will be no acrimony over the artisanal cheeses and oysters Rockefeller. Though there has been strife between them this week, President Obama and Hillary Clinton will meet and make nice on Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday evening; she’s there for a local book signing, he’s there for, well, vacation. The White House confirms the pair will attend the 80th birthday party for Ann Dibble Jordan, wife of Vernon Jordan, former CEO of the National Urban League and a longtime and ebullient adviser of former President Bill Clinton.A friend-of-Bill, as the press once said. The birthday honoree is also a cousin of White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.

The event will be staged at a local golf and tennis club situated on its own picturesque peninsula where Mr. Obama recently enjoyed a round of golf; it’s an elegant and rustic place where poached whole salmon and grilled lamb chops with mint pesto appear on the menu — along with an entire traditional New England clambake, complete with chowder, steamed lobster, steamed littleneck clams and strawberry shortcake.

Mr. Obama and first lady Michelle are “looking forward to the occasion,” the White House said in a statement Tuesday.

THE INEVITABLE HEADLINE

“Congressional job approval stays near historical low” announced a Gallup poll released Tuesday. Yes, we’ve seen this headline before.

“Americans’ dismal evaluations of Congress continue, with 13 percent approving and 83 percent disapproving of the job it is doing. That approval rating is just 4 percentage points above the all-time low of 9 percent measured last November,” says Gallup analyst Jeffrey M. Jones.

“Gallup has found a strong relationship between congressional approval and seat change in Congress, with much more membership turnover when Congress’ approval rating is below 40 percent at the time of the midterm elections. Voters typically take out their wrath more on the president’s party than on the majority party in Congress (if the two differ) when Congress is unpopular, as was the case in the 1974 and 1982 elections,” Mr. Jones notes.

“As a result, Democrats are probably more vulnerable than Republicans to losing seats this year. On average, the president’s party has lost 34 seats in the House of Representatives when Congress’ approval rating is below 40 percent, with a range of eight to 63 seats.”

HEADLINE FROM ELSEWHERE

“Stinky gases emanating from landfills could transform into clean energy”

— From the American Chemical Society, describing a new technique that extracts hydrogen from garbage-generated methane via a carbon dioxide catalyst. Or something like that. A fuel cell to generate electricity from the process is planned.

THE HEAVY THINKERS

“Mutually assured stability vs. mutually assured destruction — transforming geopolitical relationships in a regional context.”

“Balancing ‘freedom of action’ and ‘denying capabilities’ in deterrence.”

“How might nuclear deterrence fail in a limited way and what should we do about it if it does?”

“The influence of emerging domains and capabilities on deterrence.”

— Four topics at the two-day United States Strategic Command Deterrence Symposium, which begins Wednesday at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. The keynote speaker: M. Zudhi Jasser, M.D., a former U.S. Navy officer and founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, which advocates the “preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state.”

POLL DU JOUR

57 percent of registered New Jersey voters expect Gov. Chris Christie to run for president in 2016; 55 percent of Republicans, 56 percent of independents and 62 percent of Democrats agree.

29 percent say he will not run; 29 percent of Republicans, 30 percent of independents and 27 percent of Democrats agree.

52 percent approve of the job Mr. Christie is doing as governor; 78 percent of Republicans, 57 percent of independents and 31 percent of Democrats agree.

48 percent say his decisions on state issues are about “his potential candidacy”; 25 percent of Republicans, 47 percent of independents and 61 percent of Democrats agree.

38 percent say Mr. Christie is only doing “what is best for New Jersey”; 62 percent of Republicans, 40 percent of independents and 23 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Rutgers University/Eagleton Poll of 750 registered New Jersey voters conducted July 28-Aug. 5, and released Tuesday.

Justifiable complaints, polite applause to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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