- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The nation’s capital gets a big dose of faith, freedom and determination when the three-day Road to Majority Conference gets underway. Organized by the Faith & Freedom Coalition, it opens with much ado Thursday, drawing some 2,000 conservative activists. The first event: a legislative luncheon featuring the likes of Republican Sens. Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, along with Allen West and John Bolton. Yes, C-SPAN will be there for live coverage of significant and robust remarks from these gents, beginning at 12:30 Eastern time.

A Capitol Hill reception later in the afternoon has attracted Sens. Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn, plus House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Reps. David W. Jolly, Steve King, Dave Camp and J. Randy Forbes. Potential presidential hopefuls Sen. Rand Paul, Gov. Chris Christie, Rep. Paul Ryan, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum are among the 50-plus speakers who will be on the podium Friday. Meanwhile, the mission-minded organization itself is prepared for some serious work in the months preceding the midterms election.

“The biggest challenge is executing a nationwide voter registration and voter-education program that will take place simultaneously in 13 key Senate races, 48 congressional districts and numerous governors’ races across a total of 28 states,” coalition founder Ralph Reed tells Inside the Beltway.

“The most important takeaway is that neither the pro-family movement nor the issues that drive religious conservatives are going away. They are vital to our politics because they are about the character of our people and the soul of our nation,” Mr. Reed says.

READY WITH A COMEBACK

Expect some corresponding noise and fireworks from Democrats on Thursday. Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri will hold a press conference prior to upcoming Republican leadership elections and the start of the aforementioned conference.

They say they’ll challenge Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus on his claims that his party has been “re-branded” and are poised to point out that the “GOP’s 2016 A-team will attend and address this extreme conference hosted by the Faith & Freedom Coalition, and will no doubt show that today’s GOP is the same divisive and offensive party we saw in 2012.”

IT’S ISIL, NOT ISIS

For the news media, tracking terrorism demands accuracy and consistency lest the public get confused. From The Associated Press, which rules on journalistic grammar — or the lack thereof — comes news that “ISIL” rather than “ISIS” is the best term for the al Qaeda splinter group leading Sunni militants in Iraq. New organizations currently use both; the United Nation opts for ISIL.

“In Arabic, the group is known as Al-Dawla Al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham, or the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. The term ‘al-Sham’ refers to a region stretching from southern Turkey through Syria to Egypt, also including Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan. The group’s stated goal is to restore an Islamic state, or caliphate, in this entire area. The standard English term for this broad territory is ‘the Levant.’ Therefore, AP’s translation of the group’s name is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL,” says Tom Kent, AP standards editor.

“The term ISIL also avoids the common misunderstanding, stemming from the initials ISIS, that the group’s name is the ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.’” Mr. Kent says, noting that “Iraq and Greater Syria” is acceptable. “But saying just ‘Iraq and Syria’ suggests incorrectly that the group’s aspirations are limited to these two present-day countries.”

“We believe this is the most accurate translation of the group’s name and reflects its aspirations to rule over a broad swath of the Middle East,” says AP vice president John Daniszewski.

TOO LATE FOR A CLINTON PRESIDENCY

Yes, she has a mammoth marketing machine, a carefully crafted resume and sparkling approval ratings. But is Hillary Rodham Clinton really going to run for president? One school of thought says she’s simply holding a place in line for a Democratic dream team to come, thereby engaging the public with some good political theater. The party still has about 18 months before they have to trot out a pair of official White House contenders. And there is certainly room for more: A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll of Democrats recently revealed that only a quarter of them felt that Mrs. Clinton should run for the White House “unopposed.” The majority want to see a mix of candidates, while 13 percent said she should not run at all.

The list of potential Democratic presidential hopefuls now includes Maryland Govs. Martin O’Malley of Maryland, Andrew Cuomo of New York, Deval L. Patrick of Massachusetts, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and quite possibly Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Kirstin E. Gillibrand of New York.

Meanwhile, some cite specific reasons why Mrs. Clinton should bow out of the race. Tom Bevan, executive editor of Real Clear Politics, says she is “just not that good at campaigning” and wonders if the former secretary of state, who turns 67 in October, really wants to get into White House pandemonium at her age. Mr. Bevin also notes that “it ain’t gonna be a coronation” now that unexpected Clinton critics have surfaced, adding that President Obama ultimately will leave much unfinished business for whoever follows.

“America was mesmerized by Obama’s call for change in 2008. It was one of the narratives that propelled him over Hillary in the first place. Eight years later, Obama has failed to deliver much of what he promised on uniting the country and changing business as usual in Washington,” Mr. Bevan says. “As a result, an even stronger populist, anti-establishment, anti-incumbent fervor is coursing through the electorate. That does not bode well for Hillary Clinton, who embodies the elite establishment — and the past.”

PROTECTING THE YOUNGEST AMERICANS

Some are monitoring those lawmakers who dismiss the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in the U.S. House of Representatives, passed exactly a year ago. Specifically, Sens. Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark L. Pryor of Arkansas and Kay R. Hagan of North Carolina have been cited for their refusal to support the bill by Women Speak Out PAC, a partner of the national pro-life Susan B. Anthony List.

“Scientific research shows that at 5 months, the unborn child can feel the excruciating pain of death by abortion,” says Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the organization. “A year ago, the House took action to protect these children. Harry Reid’s pro-abortion Senate, on the other hand, has refused to move, despite the fact that the majority of Americans oppose this barbaric practice. This is especially true of voters in pro-life states like Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina.”

Mrs. Dannenfelser says her group plans to draw attention to lawmakers with “extreme abortion positions” and urge voters not to support them as the midterm elections approach.

POLL DU JOUR

57 percent of Americans say that “a new person” should have a chance to be elected in their district.

54 percent worry that for the rest of his term, President Obama “cannot lead and get the job done.”

50 percent say the Obama administration is competent in its role in managing the federal government.

45 percent favor a Democrat-controlled Congress and 42 percent favor a Republican-controlled Congress.

42 percent say Mr. Obama is a productive leader.

32 percent say their current representative deserves to be re-elected.

Source: An NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted June 11-15.

Hasty conclusions, insistent chatter to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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