- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 31, 2014

Midterm Election Day dawns in 64 days; that is a clear, simple given, even in these complicated times when President Obama attends three out-of-town fundraisers, a private wedding and plays a four-hour round of golf during a weekend when the world is in crisis. Yeah, well. The pollsters, however, have started their engines and are eager to get rolling. From one preliminary dispatch, here are the Rasmussen Reports predictions for the U.S. Senate “Balance of Power” rankings:

“Twenty of the 36 seats are out of play entirely, with 14 safe Republican and six safe Democrat. If these numbers hold through Election Day, the GOP is guaranteed to pick up three of the six it needs in Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia. Three states — Georgia, Kentucky and North Carolina — are leaning the Republicans’ way, but only North Carolina is now held by a Democratic senator. Two — Michigan and Minnesota — are leaning toward re-electing their Democratic incumbents,” the pollster says.

“Six states are toss-ups: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas and Louisiana. All but Kansas are now held by Democrats. New Hampshire is a wild card: We’re waiting for its September 9 GOP primary before measuring where that race stands. In short, if the Republicans hold onto all their existing Senate seats and pick up the three states that appear to be safe, they need three more wins to control the entire Congress,” Rasmussen notes.

CONFRONTING THE ISLAMIC STATE

Everyone has a solution to threats posed by the Islamic State, also called ISIL.

“They want to go back and reject modernity? Well, I think we should help them. We ought to bomb them back to the Stone Age,” Sen. Ted Cruz told an appreciative crowd of 3,000 at the Americans for Prosperity’s two-day “Defending the American Dream Summit” in Dallas this weekend.

Meanwhile, there are some unexpected nods to the role the American public should play. The citizenry is not quite as passive about the safety of their homeland as the mainstream press may think and as the Islamic State threat is amped up in oft-alarming news coverage. Should the U.S. reach into its treasure chest and prepare for more asymmetric warfare here and abroad?

That is what Martha Raddatz, a substitute host of ABC News’ “This Week,” asked a pair of guests Sunday.

“I don’t even think it’s about unlimited budget. To begin with, in the United States the public is an asset, not an obstacle, to joining together for problems like this. If you see something, say something. Sure,” replied Jane Holl Lute, former deputy secretary of Homeland Security, who added that the militants have “money and a message” and recommended that multiple nations share their terrorist watch lists and databases.

Following President Obama’s recent public assurances that “things are much less dangerous now than they were 20 years ago,” Richard Clarke, counterterrorism adviser for former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, disagreed with the president’s assessment but pointed out, “We’re much more capable of defending ourselves now. We have a lot of resources going into counterterrorism — but the threat has also increased. And I think the threat has probably increased more than the defenses.”

Mindful of the impending 9/11 anniversary, Mr. Clark added, “Our best defenses are our own American Muslims, who have been very cooperative. They don’t want anything to happen like this again in this country.”

AND IN SUMMATION

“You’ve chosen action over passivity.”

— Americans for Prosperity chairman David Koch, to the audience at the aforementioned “Dream” summit, which showcased — among many — Dr. Ben Carson. Govs. Mike Pence of Indiana and Rick Perry of Texas, Republican Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee Republican, plus American Enterprise Institute President Arthur C. Brooks.

And about Mr. Pence: His public profile as a reliable but aggressive conservative with a legislative background and business acumen is about to get more emphatic — though not as noisy as, say, Messrs. Cruz or Perry.

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