- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 5, 2014

“The culture in Washington must change. And if we do the right things in the coming months, conservatives have a real opportunity to start calling the shots. It’s time to go on offense. That is why we created a road map called the Conservative Policy Agenda,” declares Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action for America, the feisty grass-roots offshoot of the Heritage Foundation.

The strategically minded Mr. Needham made sure that all 535 members of Congress received a “boarding pass” for the new agenda — a terse summation of workable policy boiled down to a “cheat sheet.” Nine major points emphasize backbone: “a strong economy, a strong society and a strong America.”

Mr. Needham and company hope the motto will resonate in the heartland, and beyond.

“Free markets and limited government are a natural disinfectant to cronyism and corruption. These principles align us naturally with popular sentiment that government does too much to tip the scales in favor of the powerful and not nearly enough to respond to most people’s everyday concerns,” the boarding pass advises. “Conservative leaders should make clear the principles they hold true and the policies they support. Those who articulate those ideas in clear terms might upset some special interests, but their message would resonate with the American people.”

Mr. Needham wants the public in on it, of course. Read and download the whole 20-page opus here: HeritageAction.com/agenda


Step aside, RickPAC is upon us. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has officially founded a new political action committee, meant to contribute to fellow Republicans and create goodwill along the way. Yes, of course RickPAC is a great presidential accessory, like sporting studious new glasses, displaying business acumen and wielding maps of Iowa and New Hampshire. But Mr. Perry is not a man to dither, in an age of dithering.

He’s a man of action, and part of his appeal is plain old-fashioned vigor. To wrest control of the border crisis, for example, the governor plans to call out the Texas Rangers along with the National Guard, among other law enforcement entities. He’s freeing up $38 million to fund it.

RickPAC has some vigor going for it as well. According to Federal Election Committee documents filed July 31, the new RickPAC treasurer is Stefan Passantino, a looming figure in the political law section of McKenna Long & Aldridge, a law firm in the nation’s capital. As a legal adviser, Mr. Passantino has some cordial ties with Newt Gingrich. Assistant treasurer Corry Bliss is a veteran of several state political campaigns.

“His aggressive, bare-knuckled political style has been compared to Karl Rove,” says Christy Hoppe, a political columnist with the Dallas Morning News.

The brand equation here? Bare knuckles plus studious glasses could equal a compelling candidate for disaffected voters by the time 2016 rolls around.


And now we bring you a communication of note from the U.S. Army Band, a magnificent and talented organization — just like all the military service bands that faithfully serenade America. “Pershing’s Own” plans to conclude its summer concert season with the “1812 Overture” at historic Fort Myer, bordering Arlington National Cemetery.

“The Presidential Salute Battery of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) lends their special talents to the performance with four 5,775-pound WWII-era anti-tank guns,” the band advises. For detail-minded folk, the 3-inch guns are mounted on 105 mm Howitzer chassis; they fire 75 mm blank shells with 1.5 pounds of powder. Visit the band here: USArmyBand.com


Sharp analysis of immigration numbers reveals that some of the unaccompanied minors crossing the border have tried it a half-dozen times — or more. Because of their closer proximity, Mexican children are more likely to just keep trying.

“With the surge in unaccompanied children apprehended at the Southwest border, much has been written about the unusually high numbers of kids arriving from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The number of apprehensions of Mexican child migrants rivals those of the other three countries, but many of those caught are ones who tried to cross multiple times — meaning that the total number of child migrants from Mexico is lower compared with the Central American nations,” says a Pew Research Center team led by Mark Hugo Lopez. They pored over records from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“Out of the more than 11,000 apprehensions of unaccompanied Mexican minors during this fiscal year (Oct. 1 through May 31), only 2,700 children (24 percent of all the apprehensions) reported being apprehended for the first time in their lives,” the team says in a new report. “The other three-quarters of the apprehensions were of children who reported that they had been apprehended multiple times before — 15 percent were of children who had been apprehended at least six times.”


A broadcast note: Fox News host Sean Hannity has journeyed to Israel and turned up with the big “get,” as the media bookers like to say. Broadcasting a few miles from Tel Aviv, Mr. Hannity will interview Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his program on Wednesday, which begins at 10 p.m. ET. The pair will focus on the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict, the network says.

Mr. Hannity, meanwhile, is indeed on Israeli soil, and within earshot of any incoming missiles. He told his audience that he’s been trying to put himself in the shoes of the average Israeli.

“Imagine an American city having sirens blaring, having 15 seconds to get to a bomb shelter to protect yourself and your family,” Mr. Hannity said. “Imagine if you had an elderly grandparent that was living with you, or you had two or three young children that you had to get into a bomb shelter, and you had 15 seconds to do it.”

“I’ve got to imagine that the American response would be — liberal, conservative, Republican, Democrat — [that] you’d want to find the people who are putting you in that position, you’d want to deal with them in a pretty significant way and put an end to that threat,” he added.


“The social media paradox: Is your online popularity making you lonely?”

— Posed by Shane Paul Neil, a social media strategist and blogger with Technorati.com


60 percent of Americans have an unfavorable impression of the Republican Party; 21 percent of Republicans, 85 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of independents agree.

35 percent overall have a favorable impression of the GOP; 79 percent of Republicans, 14 percent of Democrats and 31 percent of independents agree.

51 percent overall disapprove of the way their own representatives in Congress handle their jobs; 44 percent of Republicans, 46 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of independents agree.

41 percent overall approve of the job their lawmakers do; 49 percent of Republicans, 47 percent of Democrats and 35 percent of independents agree.

49 percent overall have a favorable impression of the Democratic Party; 15 percent of Republicans, 85 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of independents agree.

46 percent overall have an unfavorable impression of the Democratic Party; 85 percent of Republicans, 14 percent of Democrats and 50 percent of independents agree.

Source: A Washington Post/ABC News poll of 1,026 U.S. adults conducted July 23-27 and released Tuesday.

Murmurs and asides to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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