- The Washington Times - Monday, February 3, 2014

Tea party organizers are intent on repeating the 2010 midterm elections, when heartland candidates swept through a number of important races, proof that grassroots folks were alive, kicking and politically engaged. Evidence of such this year: here comes the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund SuperPAC, launched Monday to focus on key Senate races in the 2014 midterms, plus the care and training of those voters who could make the difference.

“Unlike other Super PACs that drop in negative ads from their perches in Washington to trash opponents, we will empower the people to have the most impact in targeted districts and states,” says Jenny Beth Martin, president of the new outreach, and a co-founder of the parent group, which represents some 3,000 local tea party groups.

They are definitely unhappy with some lawmakers.

“We are currently huddling with activists on the ground in South Carolina looking for an alternative to Sen. Lindsey Graham, and in Kentucky, where many have lost faith in the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell,” Mrs. Martin says, noting the organization soon intends to expand its mission into Mississippi, Nebraska, Louisiana, Arkansas and North Carolina races.

“Think of the Citizens Fund really as community organizing for conservatives,” she adds. “What makes us different is simple: We’re the only super PAC with tens of thousands of grassroots activists across the country, and we will make sure they get what they need to elect conservatives and hold elected officials accountable.”

They have also seen fit to crank up an early-bird presidential straw poll, the candidates reflecting the interests of the membership. “We need to show the D.C. establishment politicians that we, the people, will rally behind only the most pro-Constitution, pro-free market, fiscally responsible candidates in America, and all others need not apply,” the organization advises its following.

The choices: Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and — yes — Sarah Palin.

GRASSROOTS GROWING

There are some interesting dynamics afoot in the aforementioned Bluegrass State, meanwhile.

“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell runs dead even with Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes in a first look at the 2014 U.S. Senate race in Kentucky. But McConnell’s GOP primary rival Matt Bevin leads Grimes by six points,” reports pollster Scott Rasmussen, referring to a survey of 500 likely Kentucky voters conducted Jan. 29-30 and released Monday.

Mr. Bevin leads Ms. Grimes 48 percent to 42 percent.

“The results of this poll are clear. Matt Bevin has a stronger chance at defeating the Democrat in the general election. Anybody interested in protecting this Republican Senate seat needs to revisit the premise that a do-nothing incumbent is a safe bet. To beat Grimes in November, we have to ditch Mitch,” declares Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks for America — a liberty-minded, low-tax group where the motto is “support grassroots candidates”

THE SHIFTING CHRISTIE TRADEWINDS

The decision by American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas to invite New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference in a mere 30 days is a whoosh of balmy fresh air for a public official beleaguered by a traffic controversy.

Already, some stale coverage is getting reinvigorated with a few newly cast headlines. Translation: the mainstream media has noticed that the public condemnation of Mr. Christie is not necessarily an instant process. A few samples:

“Bridgegate: Why conservatives are now embracing Chris Christie” (Christian Science Monitor), “Are controversies helping Christie with conservatives?” (CNN), “After ‘all-star’ snub, Christie to speak at CPAC” (USA Today)

ONE FOR THE OSS

There’s some extra muscle for an effort to honor clandestine warriors whose heroism dates back seven decades. Former Defense Secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta have contacted lawmakers requesting they pass the “Office of Strategic Services Congressional Gold Medal Act,” which would indeed grant the esteemed civilian award to members of the OSS — the World War II-era predecessor of the CIA founded by one Gen. William “Wild Bill” Donovan, the sole American to receive the nation’s four highest military decorations, including the Medal of Honor.

The legislation was introduced by Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois and Rep. Robert E. Latta of Ohio, both Republicans.

The 13,000 members of the OSS once included chef Julia Child, actor Sterling Hayden, Nobel Prize winner Ralph Bunche, U.S. Special Forces founder Aaron Bank, Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, and a quartet of CIA directors.

“We hope that by awarding a Congressional Gold Medal to the OSS, as it has to other World War II units, Congress will remind Americans that our intelligence and special operations communities were created by the ‘greatest generation,’” Mr. Gates and Mr. Panetta wrote in their letter, drawing poignant attention to the precious few original OSS veterans who survive.

“We are very grateful to Secretary Gates and Secretary Panetta for offering their support to this legislation to honor the OSS. Their bipartisan backing is reminiscent of the relationship formed during World War II between Franklin D. Roosevelt and General Donovan who, despite strong political differences, formed a close alliance to protect the United States at its moment of greatest peril by creating the OSS,” notes Charles Pinck, president of the OSS Society, a spirited nonprofit group that celebrates the historic accomplishments of the OSS with emphasis on the true mission of intelligence and special operations to preserve freedom.

IN GOD WE STILL TRUST

“The U.S. remains a religious nation with seven in 10 Americans classified as very or moderately religious,” reports a Gallup analysis released Monday that finds those number have remained steady for the past eight years,

“The religiousness of the nation’s residents, however, does vary substantially by state and region. The most religious areas continue to be the South, the state of Utah, and the Midwestern Plains states, while the least religious areas are mostly in New England, the Pacific Northwest, and other Western states,” Gallup says.

The five most religious states? That would be Mississippi followed by Utah, Alabama, Louisiana and South Carolina. And the least religious: Vermont is in last place, and working up from there — New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon and Nevada.

POLL DU JOUR

57 percent of Americans say they “can handle” and prefer to hear the straight truth; 56 percent of Americans say you should always tell the truth under every circumstance; 42 percent disagree.

42 percent say they have sometimes wished someone had lied to them.

43 percent say they would not be tempted to lie about their past, their age, their job or their salary.

43 percent say Bill Clinton is the “liar” they could most easily forgive. Another 22 percent cited Lance Armstrong, 12 percent Richard M. Nixon and 3 percent Bernie Madoff.

42 percent say they would not lie to their mother, significant other, doctor or boss.

31 percent have given out a fake phone number at some point.

Source: A CBS News/Vanity Fair poll that surveyed 1,016 U.S. adults between Dec. 4-8 and was released Monday.

Crabby admonitions, press releases to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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