- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 13, 2014

Let’s talk about voter sentiment as the nation dwells on romance for a few hours on Friday. Conservatives: Would you want to cozy up to a liberal this weekend? And Democrats, would you have a Republican sweetheart? Well, maybe not.

Among all American voters, 53 percent say it’s important that their romantic partners share their political views. So says a new Fox News poll of registered voters released just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Some have more of that sentiment than others.

Among tea partyers, the number is 73 percent who will court only those of their own political persuasion. And among Republicans, 60 percent say politics matters in the matter of amour — compared to 51 percent of Democrats. Among conservatives, 57 percent say it’s important, along with 49 percent of liberals.

Incidentally, a majority still don’t mind being lovey-dovey on schedule: 53 percent of voters overall look forward to Valentine’s Day, compared to 46 percent who don’t.

THE NATURE OF THE BEAST

There are similarities between the chair-throwing environs of reality TV and the hallowed halls of the U.S. Capitol says one who should know.

“The only difference between the people in Congress and the people on my show is the people in Congress have more teeth. But other than that I can’t tell the difference.”

— Talk show host Jerry Springer to Larry King, host of “Politicking” on the RT news cable network.

LAND OF THE FREE

A phenomenon of note: In its annual “World Press Freedom Index,” Reporters Without Borders examined, well, press freedom around the planet. America was not first in line, or even 10th, or 20th.

“The U.S. during the fifth year of President Obama’s reign plummeted 13 spots to 46th in the world, right between — are you ready? — Romania and Haiti. The group based that embarrassing ranking largely on the Obama administration’s unusually determined efforts to curb dissent and plug and track down leaks,” says Investor’s Business Daily columnist Andrew Malcolm.

“Trying to gain dominance over each 24-hour news cycle, the Obama administration leaks like a sieve with the advantageous info it wants out — a new Cabinet member, EPA policy shift, some nickel-and-dime small ball gimmick Obama intends to announce,” Mr. Malcolm writes.

He goes on to point out that while “none of this is unique” to Mr. Obama, “no other administration in recent memory has gone to the lengths of this one to plug leaks, catch leakers and intimidate would-be news sources.”

Mr. Malcolm also cites another event on the horizon.

“The Federal Communications Commission this spring will launch a nationwide ‘study’ of newsroom values, priorities and processes to see if they meet a list of government ‘critical information needs.’ This will also involve print media over which the FCC has heretofore had no authority under the Constitution,” he says.

PUT THE MONEY WHERE THE MOUTH IS

Why should school kids have to eat a Melmac plate full of low-salt veggies and a tofu burger when guests at the White House get stuff like aged beef, caviar, gourmet potatoes and fabulous chocolate cake? That is what one Illinois Republican wanted to know: Rep. Rodney Davis recently filed a bill to require the White House and other federal facilities to comply with their own public-school nutrition regulations when they put on a big feed.

Naturally, it’s nice to revisit the bill in the wake of a State Dinner this week that weighed in at 2,500 calories. American children, according to the U.S, Department of Agriculture, should get 1,200 calories — for the whole day.

Mr. Davis’ proposed legislation requires “official White House meals and meals served at White House or Department of Agriculture cafeterias to be in compliance with the nutrition requirements for the school breakfast program and the school lunch program. This Act may be cited as the ‘School Nutrition Fairness Act’ For purposes of this Act, the phrase ‘official meal’ means a lunch or dinner served at an official White House function and funded by annual appropriation Acts.”

Introduced in mid-December, the bill has eight co-sponsors, all Republicans.

“I believe if the President and his administration want to force our kids to eat by these guidelines, the White House should do the same,” Mr. Davis declares in a Facebook post, after he became aware of the State Dinner menu. “The goal of my bill (H.R. 3686, the School Nutrition Fairness Act) is to make sure this Administration is aware of the real-life impact their regulations are having on kids who are going hungry and our smaller school districts who are struggling to keep up with the increased costs.”

SEND IN THOSE BOX TOPS

House Democrats are off to Maryland’s Eastern Shore this weekend, despite all the bad weather. They’re cozy together in a swank hotel on the Chesapeake Bay, readying for speeches by both President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden. There are media workshops, wine tastings, strategy sessions. Ah, but the really big meeting is yet to come.

The grander shindig, again featuring a presidential appearance, is on Feb. 28 in the nation’s capital — and it’s never too late to honor the august occasion with a raffle and some fundraising.

“Win a free trip to D.C. to meet President Obama,” reads the latest enthusiastic message from Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, to all good Democrats.

“Chip in $10 or whatever you can today, and you and a guest will be automatically entered to meet President Obama and me at the Winter Meeting of the Democratic Party later this month.”

Yes, well. The aforementioned jackpot includes airfare and hotel.

POLL DU JOUR

74 percent of U.S. voters disapprove President Obama’s vow to take policy action “with or without Congress.”

93 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of Democrats agree.

60 percent overall disapprove of Mr. Obama idea to go around Congress and issue executive orders.

90 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of Democrats agree.

60 percent overall say the federal government policies are increasing the “gap between the rich and everyone else.”

64 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats agree.

55 percent overall say it is a “bad idea” for federal government policies to “spread the wealth.”

63 percent of Republicans and 30 percent of Democrats agree.

54 percent overall say the federal government is now providing too many services for people.

81 percent of Republicans and 25 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Fox News poll of 1,006 registered U.S. voters conducted Feb. 9-11.

Have a happy weekend; follow Jennifer Harper at Twitter.com/harperbulletin

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