- The Washington Times - Monday, June 30, 2014

Republicans and Democrats, who pine to woo the all-important young, restless and disengaged demographic, have some serious competition for this sizable voting bloc, which now numbers about 45 million.

In what onlookers described as a “stunning” upset during their recent national convention, the Libertarian Party elected Nicholas Sarwark as their chairman. He is 34, hails from Denver, serves as a deputy public defender, is a prolific blogger and is intent on positioning the Libertarian Party as “the only choice for pro-freedom young people.”

The party itself is getting feisty. The 43-year-old organization also intends to be recognized as the official “real deal” libertarians, which may not sit well with a spate of assorted Republicans, tea partyers and independents who also claim influence with the growing “less government, lower taxes, more freedom” crowd. The articulate Mr. Sarwark himself may be a serious draw for undecided or disengaged folk out there.

“The Libertarian Party is the future of America,” he declares. “We’re adding registered voters while the ranks of the two old parties are shrinking. Our vote totals among 18to29-year-olds have risen sharply in the last two years, and our candidates are ready to give voters the real choice for cutting government and advancing liberty they crave.”

HOBBY LOBBY SOB STORIES

Oh, the pain, the pain. The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling provided an instant dramatic tableau for Democrats, progressives, feminists and others who were poised to either deliver their soliloquies or raise money once the decision went public. A tiny sampling of the hue and cry:

“This is going to turn the dial back. This is a stifling decision for American women” (Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz); “The Court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield,” Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; “It’s a shameful day for our country. But we CAN’T let the GOP use this to steal the momentum, erase our lead and take over the Senate,” (Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraising email); “The science is clear: emergency contraception pills and IUDs prevent pregnancy, not disrupt pregnancy,” Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation; “Since the Supreme Court decided it will not protect women’s access to health care, I will,” Sen. Patty Murray, Washington Democrat; “Working families, especially working women, have lost here.” (American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten).

AND IN SUMMATION

“The left loses their minds over the Hobby Lobby decision… We’ve seen liberal journalists and commentators rending garments over the implications of this ruling.”

— observation from Hot Air media analyst Noah Rothman.

HOBBY LOBBY HAPPY TALK

The ruling also brought jubilation to the right side of the aisle from myriad lawyers and activists. Again, a tiny sampling of what instantly erupted following the big reveal on Monday morning:

“Thank you, Jesus,” (RedState.com founder Erick Erickson); “The Supreme Court has reminded the Obama administration that the Constitution is not a mere inconvenience,” (Brent Bozell, chairman of ForAmerica); “We are at a watershed moment — religious people will no longer be ordered to take action that our religion says we must not take,” Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser); “The fact that Americans had to bring this case in the first place reveals once again just how intrusive Obamacare is,” (Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus); “While we celebrate this triumph for religious freedom today, our work is not finished,” (Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington); “Genuine religious conviction does not begin and end at the church, temple or parish door,” (Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina).

EMAIL SUSPICIONS STILL ENTRENCHED

While Rep. Louie Gohmert seeks out the hacker who can ferret out the lost IRS emails and thereby win a cool $1 million reward, the pollsters continue to plumb public opinion on the matter: 71 percent of likely voters think it’s likely the IRS deliberately destroyed emails about its investigations of tea party and other conservative groups “to hide its criminal behavior,” proclaims a Rasmussen Reports poll released Monday.

“Two out of three now believe IRS employees involved in these investigations should be jailed or fired, and most suspect the agency of targeting other political opponents of the Obama administration,” the survey said.

The survey also found that 53 percent of likely voters believe that the IRS broke the law when it targeted the specific organizations; 22 percent say the federal agency did not break the law, while a quarter remains undecided.

FOX NEWS WINS — FOR 150 MONTHS

A noteworthy benchmark for Fox News. The network has reached its 50th consecutive quarter — and 150th consecutive month — as the most-watched cable news network in both prime time and daytime programming. And, uh oh, a little dethroning has gone on: Megyn Kelly, whose direct and often fearless stylings are showcased at 9 p.m., has garnered better ratings than veteran host Bill O’Reilly.

She has “out-rated her lead-in, reigning cable news champ Bill O’Reilly, on several occasions,” points out The Hollywood Reporter.

“I think it shows who Megyn is. She’s a great broadcaster, and she’s a great journalist,” Bill Shine, executive vice president for programming, told the West Coast publication.

THE AGE OF RAGE

“Americans’ confidence in all three branches of the U.S. government has fallen, reaching record lows for the Supreme Court (30 percent) and Congress (7 percent) and a six-year low for the presidency (29 percent). The presidency had the largest drop of the three branches this year, down seven percentage points from its previous rating of 36 percent,” reports Justin McCarthy, a Gallup poll analyst.

“Americans place much greater faith in the military and the police than in any of the three branches of government,” he continues.

“Members of Congress are likely resigned to the fact that they are the most distrusted institution of government, but there should be concern that now fewer than one in 10 Americans have confidence in their legislative body,” Mr. McCarthy adds. “And President Obama, like George W. Bush before him, is surely aware that the presidency’s low confidence rating is not auspicious for his ability to govern and rally the public behind his favored policies.”

POLL DU JOUR

28 percent of Americans are “very” closely following news coverage about problems at the nation’s VA hospitals; 32 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of Democrats and 31 percent of independents agree.

25 percent overall are closely following news about violence in Iraq; 33 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of Democrats and 26 percent of independents agree.

21 percent are closely following news of the IRS loss of emails; 33 percent of Republicans, 16 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of independents agree.

17 percent are following news of the World Cup; 19 percent of Republicans, 19 percent of Democrats and 14 percent of independents agree.

16 percent are following news of the 2014 midterms; 21 percent of Republicans, 19 percent of Democrats and 11 percent of independents agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center survey of 1,002 U.S. adults conducted June 26-29.

Curt complaints, fine whines to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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