- The Washington Times - Monday, July 7, 2014

There was a recent Republican rodeo not 5 miles from the Mexico border: The most stalwart members of the House Homeland Security Committee and Texas Gov. Rick Perry staged a field hearing in McAllen, Texas, with the immigration crisis and the fates of thousands of hopeful but illegal young immigrants at the top of their agenda. They pined for a presidential visit — and still do.

President Obama is departing for the region Tuesday. But there’s no listening tour or fact-finding mission. He’ll be in fundraising mode, bound for Denver, then on to Dallas and Austin for a quartet of private moneymaker events for the Democratic Party that feature things like upscale barbecue and movie stars. No, really. Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez will serve as host in the Texas capital, with Hollywood beauties Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson and Demi Lovato among the guests. The White House essentially says senior officials have already visited the border region, and that Mr. Obama is aware of all the border complexities already. The fundraising will go on. Period.

“We’re not worried about those optics,” press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.

“It’s easy in one sense to see why President Obama might prefer to stay away rather than to come and learn and listen for himself, particularly in light of the sad stories that he’s going to hear — or he would hear if he decided to come,” says Sen. John Cornyn.

“I think the problem speaks for itself when the president, who would prefer to hang out with campaign donors and other political supporters, would decide not to have any interaction with those that are directly affected by his failed policies — in this case the failed immigration policies that led to a full-blown humanitarian crisis,” the Texas Republican adds.

“The next time the president wants to lecture Republicans on immigration, he should instead reflect on his habit of politicizing the humanitarian and border crisis occurring on the U.S.-Mexico border while prioritizing money and politics when he has a chance to do his job,” says Republican National Committee spokeswoman Izzy Santa. “But honestly, the president’s action is fitting. After all, he did promise immigration reform within his first year in office and didn’t do anything.”

TAKING AIM

“Some in Congress have proposed ‘national concealed carry reciprocity’ legislation, which would create a new federal mandate forcing every state to recognize concealed carry permits from every other state, no matter how lax a state’s laws are. Do you oppose national concealed carry reciprocity, which would overturn state public safety laws and replace them with a lowest-common denominator standard.”

“In fact, the current penalty for gun trafficking is the same as for trafficking chickens across state lines. Do you support legislation that would create a strong federal gun trafficking statute with serious penalties?”

“Do you support limits on the capacity of ammunition magazines?”

— Three of the 10 questions to be posed to all federal candidates for office this year, by Everytown for Gun Safety, the activist group funded by Michael R. Bloomberg. The organization intends to get all candidates “on the record” in time for the midterm elections.

TAKING AIM, PART 2

“Yes, if only Chicago had more gun control laws. That must be what’s missing there.”

— National Rifle Association radio host and columnist Cam Edwards, reacting to news of 82 shootings in Chicago during the July Fourth holiday weekend; the number included 14 fatalities.

‘NEEDS A PUNCH OF REALITY’

“Any interest in doing a political talk show, either on TV, radio or the Internet?” a very straightforward Hollywood Reporter asked Sarah Palin recently.

“Maybe. But the politics would have to be interspersed with a whole lot of fun and real life and inspiration showcasing American work ethic, because those topics are all pretty much the antithesis of today’s politics, which I find incorrigibly disastrous,” Mrs. Palin replied.

But wait, there’s something interesting coming.

“It’d be so much fun to shake it up taking on issues that make audiences objectively consider all sides, and I’d do it with my own real-life groundedness, candor and common sense that I’m known for. Media needs that today, versus the condescension that oozes from TV and radio. I hear everyone recently got canned from ‘The View,’ maybe a show like that needs a punch of reality and a voice of reason from America’s heartland to knock some humble sense into their scripts. You know, someone willing to go rogue,” the former Alaskan governor concluded.

“Amazing America,” Mrs. Palin’s current reality series on the Sportsman Channel, was renewed for another year Monday.

A CIA MOMENT

The CIA joined Twitter a month ago with this initial message: “We can neither confirm nor deny this is out first tweet.” Since then, the federal clandestine agency has maintained both its official bearing and a certain jaunty candor as it seeks to find, well, a happy medium of engaging the public without compromising mission. So three cheers. And to mark its one-month anniversary, the CIA answered five “top questions” submitted by a few of its 639,000 followers who appear eager for the agency’s take on the whereabouts of Elvis and other deceased celebrities, official aircraft, daytime talk hosts, employment and computer issues.

And here are their answers: “No, we don’t know where Tupac is”; “We flew an A-12 OXCART, not a SR-71 BLACKBIRD. Ours flew higher & faster. But, more on that later”; “Sorry for not following you back @TheEllenShow. But if you visit us maybe we can take a selfie?”; “YES, we are hiring,”; No, we don’t know your password, so we can’t send it to you.”

LIFE WITHOUT POLITICS

From the august Pew Research Center comes this headline: “One-in-10 Americans don’t give a hoot about politics.” So says analyst George Gao. He says these folks are simply bystanders, disengaged from the din of politicians, and the political marketplace. Judging by census statistics, the politicsless could number 35 million people.

“None of this cohort say they’re registered to vote, and none say they follow government and public affairs most of the time. This compares with 48 percent of Americans overall. Virtually all of this group (96 percent) say they’ve never contributed money to a candidate running for public office,” Mr. Gao says.

These bystanders are younger, a third are Hispanic, a third are foreign-born. They slightly favor the Democratic Party over the GOP and mix liberal and conservative attitudes. “They are sympathetic to the plight of the poor, but as many say that government aid to the poor does more harm than good as vice versa. They express fairly liberal views on homosexuality and same-sex marriage, but 54 percent say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases,” Mr. Gao says.

POLL DU JOUR

34 percent of Americans trust Democrats to handle the nation’s health care; 26 percent trust Republicans, 11 percent trust both, 27 percent trust neither.

32 percent of Americans overall trust Republicans to protect the U.S.; 16 percent trust Democrats, 29 percent trust both, 21 percent trust neither.

29 percent overall trust Democrats to handle immigration; 23 percent trust Democrats, 15 percent trust both, 30 percent trust neither.

27 percent overall trust Republicans to handle the economy; 25 percent trust Democrats, 14 percent trust both, 31 percent trust neither.

26 percent overall trust Republicans to handle the federal budget; 22 percent trust Democrats, 14 percent trust both, 35 percent trust neither.

24 percent overall trust Republicans to manage the federal government; 23 percent trust Democrats, 16 percent trust both, 34 percent trust neither.

Source: An Associated Press/GFK poll of 1,354 U.S. adults conducted May 16-19 and released Monday.

Squawks, squeaks, squabbles to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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