- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 23, 2014

A cultural moment of note: Mike Love, the longtime iconic lead singer for the Beach Boys, has gotten some love from former president George H.W. Bush and wife Barbara, plus Nancy Reagan. Mr. Love recently won the Society of Singers “Ella Award” — which recognizes performers for their dedication to community and worldwide causes. Indeed, the glittering Beverly Hills event was fabulous, and drew the likes of Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, Tom Hanks, David Lee Roth and John Stamos. Then there were the accolades.

“For more than 50 years, Mike has brought ‘good vibrations’ to the world. What many of his legions of fans might not know is that Mike has also been a tireless supporter of Points of Light from the very beginning,” Mr. Bush wrote, referring to his charitable foundation which emphasizes volunteer service. “Mike himself is a point of light, and Barbara and I salute him,” he added.

“I think my husband and I were your No. 1 fans. I have such wonderful memories of the Beach Boys performing at the White House, and on the National Mall. We always looked forward to hearing your upbeat, all-American tunes; in fact, just thinking about the music still puts a smile on my face,” said Mrs. Reagan in her tribute, which recalled her date for those events, one Ronald Reagan.

“Just a few years ago you helped us celebrate my husband’s centennial birthday. I was so grateful to you and the Beach Boys for performing so beautifully that night. Your music is timeless; it entertains us, uplifts us and gives us levity from the distractions of everyday life I know Ronnie would join me in congratulating you,” the first lady said.

Mr. Love, 72, has sung his way into the hearts of many politicians and has appeared in the nation’s capital for multiple monumental events. And what works with a grass-roots audience tends to resonate with the big shots as well.

“Our music and the effect it has on people transcends any kind of kind of political and even racial concerns,” Mr. Love tells Inside the Beltway. “It is a celebration of love and happiness and positivity.”

There is a patriot’s heart with all those good vibrations, though. Mr. Love admits his favorite spot in Washington is the Mall, site of many a Beach Boys concert back in the day.

“I remember once when we stepped out on the stage. It was July 4th, and a truly a remarkable moment. I was appreciating that we were Americans, appreciating the day and our independence,” Mr. Love says. “The monument grounds, a sea of several hundred thousand people, the White House, the American flags. There was history right in front of us.”

EYES ON BENGHAZI

Though a wide spectrum of Democrats, Obama administration officials and certain members of the press pine for the Benghazi matter to fade away, voters will have none of it. “Should Congress continue to investigate the Obama administration’s handling of the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the deaths of four Americans?” asks a new Fox News poll of registered U.S. voters.

Overall, 66 percent want the investigation to continue. And more specifically, 83 percent of Republicans, 50 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents agree — along with 92 percent of tea partyers, 78 percent of conservatives, 47 percent of liberals, 58 percent of blacks, 67 percent of whites, 68 percent of women and 63 percent of men.

The numbers may not resonate with NBC “Meet the Press” host David Gregory, who questioned national security adviser Susan Rice about Benghazi in what Newsbusters.com analyst Jeffrey Meyer deemed a “softball interview,” rife with White House talking points.

“It would have been nice if the NBC host actually pressured the Obama official on the administration’s mishandling of the terrorist attack, let alone use the word terrorism when talking to Ms. Rice,” Mr. Meyers says. “Unfortunately, Gregory continued the liberal line that Benghazi is merely a politically intense story and happily gave Hillary Clinton and President Obama a pass.”

AN INJURY, NOT A DISORDER

Former President George W. Bush is on a new mission. He seeks to retool the term “post traumatic stress disorder” — PTSD — that is bandied about by press, public, health and military officials.

“We’re getting rid of the D. PTS is an injury; it’s not a disorder. The problem is when you call it a disorder, veterans don’t think they can be treated,” Mr. Bush told ABC News during a symposium at the George W. Bush Institute, which has launched a large scale study to address the myriad challenges vets face following deployment.

“An employer says, ‘I don’t want to hire somebody with a disorder.’ And so our mission is to begin to change the dialogue in the United States. And we’ve got a lot of good support.” Mr. Bush said.

He calls vets the nation’s greatest resource, down to the individual.

“We have a unique person, who is willing to take a risk, make that sacrifice. Those are characteristics that are hard to teach,” Mr. Bush said.

The president’s efforts to recast the language could have far-reaching effect; the Department of Veterans Affairs, which still uses the term “PTSD, reports that some 30 percent of post 9/11 veterans must deal with the condition.

CHRISTIE-FIED

“I am totally obsessed with the Christie story, unapologetically.”

— MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, to HBO host Bill Maher.

“It’s not Watergate. He’s not the president.”

— Mr. Maher to Ms. Maddow, regarding Gov. Chris Christie, New Jersey Republican, and the seemingly ever-present Bridgegate matter.

MITT-TOPIA

The aforementioned Mr. Christie, currently in caution mode, has already returned to the Garden State following the National Governors Association. The governor skipped out of dinner at the White House on Sunday evening, along with the organization’s grand finale press conference the following morning. But wait. Reinforcements are arriving.

Mitt Romney has decided to shore up Republican Party confidence and accompany Mr. Christie to a fundraiser for the Republican Governors Association in Boston on Thursday. Their intent to move the narrative forward is obvious. Mr. Christie himself began that process last week when he announced he would no longer “wallow” in the questions about traffic bridge closures and former staff members.

Mr. Romney, who battled his own “47 percent” scandal on the 2012 campaign trail, knows how it is. And he’ll be there. Mr. Christie, meanwhile, is all business. He delivers a budget address to the state of New Jersey Tuesday, conducts a town-hall meeting Wednesday, heads to Boston Thursday and is midway through a fundraising journey for the Republican governors that covers Texas, Florida, Illinois, Georgia, Connecticut and Utah.

POLL DU JOUR

54 percent of Americans think foreign trade is an opportunity for economic growth through increased U.S. experts.

54 percent of Republicans, 55 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents agree.

63 percent of college graduates and 47 percent of those with a high school education also agree.

53 percent said foreign trade was an opportunity for growth in 1994; 44 percent felt that way in 2005, 41 percent in 2008, and 57 percent in 2013.

38 percent overall say foreign trade is an economic threat due to foreign imports.

40 percent said foreign trade was a threat in 1994; 45 percent felt that way in 2005, 41 percent in 2008, and 35 percent in 2013.

Source: A Gallup World Affairs survey of 1,023 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 6-9 and released Friday.

Bombastic complaints, harmonious observations to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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