Inside the Beltway: Miss Mitt yet?

This will be the week when a cross section of Americans will re-evaluate and possibly even rediscover Mitt Romney. They’ll get some Mitt nostalgia. In 24 hours, the much ballyhooed documentary “Mitt” publicly premieres on Netflix, produced and directed by one Greg Whitely, who spent much time with Mr. Romney during the best and the worst moments of the 2012 presidential race.

Pundits and critics who have seen either the whole production or mere snippets are already predicting that voters will finally get to see the “human” Mitt Romney; they have obsessed over the fact that the candidate ironed his shirt sleeve while wearing it. Yeah, well. Had the oft mocking mainstream media coverage been broader and more fair to the Republican hopeful during the election, perhaps a more authentic portrait would have emerged.

But no matter. Others are still puzzling over Mr. Romney’s loss to President Obama.

“He had that first debate and it was looking great. After that, either through advice or, maybe you get a little nervous, or maybe you do a little choking — which happens — something happened that was not good,” Donald Trump told a political audience at a New Hampshire college earlier this week. “That was a race that should have been won. It was a race that could have very easily been won.”

And while voters may have some pangs of Romney remembrance, the man in question — who still managed to accrue 11 million followers on his Facebook page — has repeatedly advised the persistent press that he won’t run again. As has his wife Ann. But what about an inevitable Trump run for the White House?

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“I would certainly look at it. You know why? I’m unhappy with the way things are going in America,” the billionaire explained to Reuters following his speech.

THE MCDONNELL PRESS

The travails of Bob McDonnell and wife Maureen have brought out the melodrama in the press as his case unfolds. A few headlines since news of public corruption charges against the former Virginia governor went public late Tuesday:

“The tragedy of Bob McDonnell” (Politico), “Virginia was ripe for a scandal” (The Washington Post), “Christie and McDonnell: From stardom to scandal” (MSNBC), “The chef who brought down Bob McDonnell tells all” (Washingtonian), “Bob McDonnell defense: I’m an awful friend” (New York Daily News), “Why Bob McDonnell’s fall Is so damaging to the Republican brand” (New Republic), “Indicted McDonnell: I only did what Obama did” (NewsMax), “Bob McDonnell and the perils of being famous but not rich” (The Week), “A reminder from Bob McDonnell: Never make long bets on future presidents” (The Wire).

ZONING OUT IN VIRGINIA

The U.S. Constitution lingers on the mind of one Virginia state lawmaker.

“Local officials who abuse zoning authority powers to cower citizens into submission and deprive land owners of constitutional rights in the enjoyment of their land must be subject to fines and actual damages they cause, including attorney fees,” says Delegate Bob Marshall, who has introduced a bill before the Virginia General Assembly that asks local governments who violate “constitutional rights through zoning” to pay fines and attorney fees of the citizens involved, and possibly be held liable themselves.

Mr. Marshall introduced HB 1219 after Fauquier County officials threatened “Virginia citizen farmer” Martha Boneta, who was cited and threatened with $5,000 per-day fines for hosting “menacing activities” without obtaining a permit; those activities included a child’s birthday party and operating a farm produce stand. Her fellow Virginians rallied at two “pitchfork protests” in her support in December.

“I am convinced this harassment will continue until local officials realize they can be held liable in the form of fines and other costs,” Mr. Marshall notes.

“I would not have been bullied by my county government had this bill been in place earlier, and I ask all Virginians to contact their delegates and senators to support HB 1219, which protects all of us,” says Mrs. Boneta.

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