- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 10, 2014

Americans must have considerable interest in supporting “national security candidates” as the planet grows more dangerous and the midterm elections approach. John R. Bolton reports that between his political action committee and super PAC, he’s raised a cool $2.3 million in the second quarter of the year, with a record $4 million to date and $3 million cash on hand. Among the candidates who have received funds: U.S. Senate hopefuls Rep. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Joni Ernst of Iowa, plus U.S. House candidates Martha McSally of Arizona, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas. The former U.N. ambassador is a man on a mission.

“Given the Obama administration’s recent national security missteps regarding Israel, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Ukraine and elsewhere, the American people need to know that our national interests are facing grave threats with inadequate leadership in Washington,” Mr. Bolton says “Clearly, it is now critical to identify and support candidates for office who have the courage, leadership and commitment to secure America’s interests overseas.”

PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS GET SKITTISH ABOUT WEED

Political observers are predicting that presidential hopefuls in both parties have been reluctant to weigh in on the legalization of marijuana, either for medicinal or recreational use. It’s complicated.

“The law enforcement backgrounds of many elected officials creates some hesitation around the pot issue,” says Business Insider analyst Colin Campbell, who notes that among potential Democratic candidates, Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York is a former state attorney general, and Martin O’Malley of Maryland is a former assistant state attorney.

Among Republicans, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was a U.S. attorney, and claimed in June that medical marijuana is “a front for legalization” efforts in his state. Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, meanwhile, have come out in favor of “less restrictive” penalties for marijuana use.

“It’s a very polarizing issue when it comes down to it. Because when you’re a politician you don’t want to be seen as legalizing marijuana,” a Republican pollster told Mr. Campbell. “They have to do the tightrope on this thing because they don’t want to be seen as someone who’s too liberal on the legalization.”

If he runs for the White House again as a Libertarian, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson is already outspoken in favor of weed legalization, calling for “common sense reform of the nation’s drug laws”. He was recently named CEO of Cannabis Sativa, a Nevada-based manufacturer of marijuana-infused lozenges and other products.

IT’S NOT BILL’S PARTY ANYMORE

Will Hillary Clinton recognize her own party in this day and age? Well, maybe not.

“The Democratic Party is more populist and more liberal than it was when she ran last time, and yet she’s more mainstream,” Sen. Rob Portman declared Thursday at a Bloomberg Government breakfast. “It is no longer the party of Bill Clinton.”

The Ohio Republican, whose name has surfaced from time to time as a potential White House hopeful, may be looking to put his own imprint on the GOP, just in case. He’s a believer in the proverbial “big tent,” and perhaps would prefer the Grand Old Party a little grander, and possibly less old.

“We need a broader party. If we’re not doing better with millennials and women and Hispanics, African Americans, Asian Americans and others, we will have a tough time being a majority party at the national level.”

AND IN SUMMATION

“Deport! Secure Border! Cut $ From Foreign GOVTS!”

— Talk radio host Mark Levin’s strategy for solving the border crisis, scribbled on a white board during an appearance Thursday on Fox News.

AND IN SUMMATION, PART TWO

“Americans still overwhelmingly believe in the importance of closing the border to future illegal immigration, despite the federal government’s failure to do so,” reports pollster Scott Rasmussen, who offers numbers from a poll released Thursday.

“Eight out of 10 — 82 percent — of Americans think it is important to secure the border to prevent future illegal immigration,” he says, adding that only 16 percent consider a sealed border unimportant.

YOUNG AND FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE

The young and restless are not fond of big government, and now exhibit signs of leaning toward genuine fiscal conservatism — of interest, perhaps, to the Republican Party. Over half of this 46-million-member voting bloc report they’re independents, 16 percent are Republicans, while 32 percent say they’re Democrats — down from 64 percent in 2012.

Though this demographic tends to be socially liberal, these numbers from a new Reason-Rupe survey of 2,000 Americans under 30 reveal some flux. The poll finds 66 percent say government is “inefficient and wasteful,” up from 42 percent five years ago. They are also wary. Nearly two-thirds say government regulators favor special interests, while 58 percent say the young demographic is convinced government agencies abuse their powers. Only a fourth trust the agencies.

Such sentiments could prompt the youthful respondents to take a second look at the evolving GOP. The millennial set appears to prefer less spending and regulations in the long run. Some numbers: 59 percent say cutting taxes would help the economy. Fifty-seven percent prefer a smaller government providing fewer services with low taxes, while an 57 percent also want a society where wealth is “distributed according to achievement.” More than half also agree that reducing both regulations and the size of government would help the economy.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For sale: Cherry Cottage, built in 1819, located in Washington, Georgia; five bedrooms, two full baths, 3,408 square feet of living space on 1.1 acres. Classic Colonial style in good condition, exterior rehabilitated, listed on National Register of Historic Places; includes living room, dining room, kitchen, utility room and library. Six-over-six windows, extensive woodworking and wood floors, several out buildings, mature trees, expansive front and side porches. Price: $130,000 through GeorgiaTrust.org, listed under “endangered properties for sale.”

POLL DU JOUR

42 percent of Americans are not sure which part of the government they trust the most to “do what’s right”; 49 percent of Republicans, 44 percent of independents and 32 percent of Democrats agree.

24 percent overall say they trust “The President” to do what’s right; 3 percent of Republicans, 13 percent of independents and 48 percent of Democrats agree.

21 percent overall say they trust the Supreme Court to do what’s right; 30 percent of Republicans, 32 percent of independents and 9 percent of Democrats agree.

10 percent trust Congress to do what’s right; 15 percent of Republicans, 8 percent of independents and 8 percent of Democrats agree.

3 percent overall trust the major political parties to do what’s right; 4 percent of Republicans, 3 percent of independents and 3 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: The Economist/YouGov poll of 997 U.S. adults conducted July 5-7 and released Thursday.

Terse observations, snappy dialogue to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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